Humpback Whale breaching in Seward, Alaska

This was one of the lucky shots that we got when we were in Seward, Alaska in July 2012. The day was more or less done and we had been out on the water since 9am that morning. The day started cloudy and foggy and it was cold as we travelled from the harbour our among the glaciers and inlets. We saw a wide range of wildlife as we were travelling for the day and got some nice landscape views at Holgate Glacier also – though it was tough getting into it.

We were heading back to Seward at around 16:30 that evening for a 17:00 disembarking. We were about 10 minutes out from the harbour when I spotted something off in the distance. I thought it was a dolphin breaching first of all as it appeared and disappeared and was too small to be a whale breaching. It was, in fact, the fin on the whale raising out of the water and slapping against the water – something that I had never saw before. I only saw it when we got up close to the whale itself and it was still doing it. It was amazing. The sun was out – as you can see from the blue water in the image – and the light was good. I was standing at the top of the boat handholding my 500mm on my Canon 1D Mark IV – and it was starting to get heavy by the time the whale started to breach. I captured a lot of shots of this whale in different “poses” – from breaching to it tail fin out of the water as they are about to dive, to the fin slapping against the water. I even got some images of the whale close to the top of the water breathing through its blow hole.

The above is one of the best images from the lot showing the whale breaching – it breaching 3 times when we were there and this was the last breach of the day. I think that it was a juvenile whale as it was extremely playful and stayed around the boat for approximately 5 minutes.

Equipment Used:
Camera: Canon 1D Mark IV
Lens : Canon EF 500mm f/4 IS
Tripod: Handheld on a moving boat
EXIF : ISO 400, f4 1/4000 0ev 500mm

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