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Humpback whales in Tonga - August 2018

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I was in Tonga last August with Naia liveabord and I'd like to share my experience .


Naia is a well known liveaboard cruising Tonga during July , August and September and Fiji during the other months .

All on board is great : cabin , food , service , professional cruise director , wonderful fijian staff !


The trip was 10 days - 9 nights - 8 full day in water with humpback whales . A lot of time with only one target : .... whales !!

Seeing whales above water and underwater as well ( snorkeling only allowed )

I must confess at the beginning I was afraid to get bored , but day by day I understood that all that time is necessary to " get in touch " with the whales . This means not only take a snapshot but let the whales accept me in water !




As per tecnical details , I ask many friends had done same experience as well as internet research and I finally understood that is useful :

-use fisheye on Dslr ( or mirrorless ) : I used Canon 8-15 on Canon 80D

-use mid dome or minidome : I used ZEN 170 dome : a big dome is not really necessary because not possible many half-half and no worry about soften corner , and the cons is you have sto swimm a lot !

-use manual exposure with center weight metering and -2/3 compensation - F8 - 1/125 to 1/200 ( I used usually 1/160 ) - auto ISO

-use autofocus ( with all points active ) , water was very clear so no really problem with autofocus


I balanced ( neutral buoyancy and perfect trim ) my housing with some close cell foam all around it and it was very useful during the long hours in water .



Last important points :

-try to have the sun behind my back , because the only light is the natural light ( no flash allowed ) .

-go close !! ... or better , let the whales came close to me ... and the first days I made the mistake to use fishyey at 15 mm .. at the end I used only 10 mm ( on crop sensor ) and try to fill the frame to have to less water as possible from whales and my lens .

-be prepared to swimm a lot and a lot , so I trained myself intensive before this trip .




here some shots , hope you like :









































some great moment of interaction ...... :

















Edited by paolobl65
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And we were lucky the baby wanted to play with us :








... but no problem baby .... big mama is always watching at you !!!








and always take care of you !!









finally my favourite image .... just another point of view !!








If you like to see more Tonga photos you can see my Flickr album : https://www.flickr.com/photos/paolobl65/albums/72157701111669905



all my best

Paolo Isgro

Edited by paolobl65
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Lovely pics, Paolo. What a great experience :dancing:

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Great shots. I was in Moorea last year for humpbacks and we didn't have visibility like that! amazing shots!

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Gorgeous images. I’m heading to Moorea soon so hopefully these tips will help!!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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