Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My First Humpback Whale Mother & Calf

I still found it hard to believe it was possible to swim with a mother humpback whale and her new calf, even while on day three of a trip to do just that....but when it finally happened, it became even harder to believe!  The first calf I saw was a bit older, the Captain estimated 4 weeks old.  Again, my photo taking consisted of pointing the camera (not able to see the screen underwater, due to lighting, water depth, etc.) and clicking.  I did this so as not to miss the whale experience by getting focused on the camera.  This results in less than ideal framing, but captures enough for a memory.  (To me, it's so much more important when wildlife viewing to stay in the moment than to get the perfect shot.)

In this first swim I had with a mother and calf, I was shocked at how the calf swam close to the small group of snorkelers - and though I only got part of the calf's body, I was thrilled to capture that much as well as I did as the calf swam close to me and near the surface.  Note that I post both the raw, unedited image and the same image using Adobe Photoshop Smartfix, which adjusts the colors a bit for contrast.  I'm happy with either version!

 
 

Same calf, turning to go back down:

I tried to get a photo of the mother whale as well, and the baby and mother in the same shot - but the water was so murky, and at times they were a bit deep to get focus, and I didn't want to focus on photos so I only took a few - and the result is that this really bad photo is the best of the bad ones I have that shows this particular mom and calf together:

Yes, a bit disappointing in quality - but the experience was incredible!  And, over the next few days, I managed to become a better camera operator, and was lucky enough to have some long swims pretty close up, so I have far, far, FAR better mom and calf pics to come as I have time to post them!

These are a few shots of the calf swimming deeper down - again, less than ideal framing, and I actually had to crop out the cameras of some of my trip mates who were also trying to take pictures, but still, I managed to capture the calf well enough to remember him or her!

 

I was convinced after this that swimming with a mother and calf was in fact really possible - and also thrilling in a way I've yet to find adequate words to describe.  The remaining days of the trip offered several other chances, and each swim/drop is different.  More to come!




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