Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Bandycootz

whale shooting tips

Recommended Posts

hi all,

 

I am heading off to a minke whale trip in June and want to be prepared to take some shots to remember.

Currently using:

Ikelite housing with double focus lights, 8" and 6" dome, and 18-55, 10-22 lens with single ds125 strobe

 

Looking for recommendations on

Light

Good quality lens similar to 18-55 but quicker focus etc

Getting close without getting tail shots (specific whale tricks)

 

Thanks

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would look at a Sigma 17-70 Macro Zoom - a great mid-range lens. Also a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye zoom.

 

Cheers

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

 

Most places with whales you do not use a strobe, for two reasons one is that people believe it can effect the whale and secondly is normally the strobe will not enhance the whale enough. Most of the trips you are on the surface with the whales.

 

One tip with the whales is to learn a little about their behaviors before you go, Minke whales are generally quite curious and the operators will give you good advice on what to do and where to be.

 

One of the things I do, is to keep both eyes open, one through the camera and one looking at the whale to see which way it is turning/moving. A lot of photographers will shoot on aperture priority, where they will select an f-stop of between 4-5.6 and then let the camera pick the shutter speed. Cannon I believe it is the Tv setting but a cannon user may be able to tell you exactly. I shoot fully manual and bracket a lot as the whale passes.

 

A zoom lens is best, my lens of preference is 17-35mm Nikon.

 

Hope you have fun, they are an amazing animal and will take your breath away.

 

Kind regards

 

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd agree with James re lens choice.

 

To answer Karen's question, Aperture Priority is Av on a Canon (stands for Aperture Value). Tv stands for Time Value, which gives you shutter speed.

 

The Minke's are very curious, so be prepared for some really up-close action, so the 10-17 Tokina or your 10-22 will be helpful for full body shots, and pics with more than one whale in them. The 17-70 Sigma will be nice for head shots and eyes.

 

I am assuming you will be at the Ribbons, so to keep within the legal framework there, you will be floating on the surface, holding on to a line from the bow or stern of the vessel. So angles etc are very much dictated by those lines, the whales and serendipity. Of course you may get lucky and have one swim up to you when you are on a dive/deco stop.

 

It's a great experience... which boat will you be on?

Edited by photovan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used the 12-24 nikon last time, trip, I used the 10-17 tokina, depends on how close you think you can get to them. The further away you are the more particles between you an the whale= blur and dust spots.

I have used P, A, S modes, NO FLASH or Focus light I used iso 320.

I shot with an 8" dome the first time and 9" this time. I like the larger dome. better.

Keep checking your camera, I got excited and must have knocked the MSC lever to the manual mode when the whale was coming at me with his mouth open. I used matrix metering, would have tried spot during the swim, but aquatica housings don't allow you to change the focus mode underwater,

hope that helps.

post-8758-1233712291.jpg

Edited by The Octopus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...depends on how close you think you can get to them...

Again, assuming you are on a trip in Australian waters you will have to wait for them to come to you, and you are holding a line attached to the boat.

The minkes come too close sometimes, but no touching please....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw Minke in Qld last year. There were many times when they came up to me while diving, so they werent only seen from a rope, but I did wonder sometimes if the boat was bending the rules about letting us dive when they were known to be about. I found trying to take decent pictures from the rope almost impossible, so Im glad this was the case.

 

They generally didnt come closer than about 5m or so with any of the ones we saw, so I would not recommend the 10-17 for them, as they arent particularly big for whales. A zoom like a 17-70mm or a wide angle 10-20mm would work far better in my view for what we saw, unless you get much luckier than we did.

 

Ditto on dont use flash and check your settings.

 

Otara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's some Minke whale images shot off Undersea Explorer in 2005.

Would love to get back up there with my current digital kit...especially not being limited to 36 exposures on a roll of film "do I shoot this pass or will the next one be better?"

It's hard to remember the exposures, but some of those were very late in the day and we had lot's of cloudy weather... so I expect that those without sun were @ 2.8 and 4 in order to get some reasonable shutter speed. The sunny ones at 5.6.

 

Every trip will be different, and from what I hear different boats approach these "trial" whale swimming regulations differently. Hopefully none of them are doing the wrong thing as it may spoil it for everyone in the future.

 

These were all shot while bobbing along on the lines, or the floats hanging off them. Yes it was hard work, especially in the 20-30knot tradewinds common that time of year, but not impossible.

 

And that's not a typo, the 17-35f2.8L pre-dated the original 16-35.

 

Canon EOS50 | EF17-35f2.8L w/+4 dioptre behind a tiny dome | Subal CE50 housing | 36exp rolls of Fuji Astia 100ISO sometimes pushed to 400ISO |

 

0002294_darrenjew.jpg

0002301_darrenjew.jpg

0002302_darrenjew.jpg

0002306_darrenjew.jpg

0002307_darrenjew.jpg

0002315_darrenjew.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really nice Darren, particularly given its film.

 

This is nothing like that but perhaps gives some idea of what you risk with a 10-17 fisheye if you dont get luckier than we did distance wise, this was at 17mm. Forgive the lens reflection etc, Im too lazy to try and get rid of it.

 

post-4670-1233750107.jpg

Edited by Otara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Really nice Darren, particularly given its film.

This is nothing like that but perhaps gives some idea of what you risk with a 10-17 fisheye if you dont get luckier than we did distance wise, this was at 17mm.

 

Love the light rays in your image. And also nice to see 'em from lower in the water column.

Just shows for a trip like this you need to be ready for anything the whales dish up!

Edited by photovan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...