Tag Archives: breach

“Splash!”

“Splash!”

“The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.”
― Christopher Paolini

I’m noticing that all my titles have become single words. That’s partially because I’m struggling to find suitable words to describe this experience fully, so it’s coming in snippets.

This image is of a female Humpback Whale as it crashes to the surface after a breach. She has propelled her massive body from the water and twisted in the air, to return to the sea on her side. The other thing this photo shows is the ocean conditions when the image was made. If you’ll notice the fishing boat to the far right, you will see only part of it behind one of the large swells we were experiencing on this excursion.

The Pacific Ocean is not for the faint of heart. Even on this relatively calm day, the swells were over two meters high, so our small Zodiac disappeared into the troughs, obscuring our view of anything but water. Interestingly, I hardly noticed it at the time, being so focussed on the marvel playing out before my eyes, though I do distinctly recall my legs cramping up from bracing myself against the continuous rolling movement of the boat.

Of the numerous images I made of the breaching ritual, this one, I think, best shows the shear force of the whale’s bulk slamming onto the water surface as well as giving a glimpse of the rugged shoreline of the Baja Peninsula.

It’s also been recently discovered, in theory, why the whales expend so much energy in these breathtaking surface activities: they are communicating, and surface activity (breaching and fin/tail slapping) increases on windy days, when the oceans are more turbulent, and thus, noisier.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 300 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

Advertisements

“Behemoth”

“Behemoth”

“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.”
― Werner Herzog

This massive Humpback Whale is the cow in the pair I have been sharing over the past several days.

As I’ve stated earlier, the sheer size of these creatures is incredible. Then, to see them surging from the ocean like this and smashing down in a burst of spray and foam simply leaves you in awe.

The photos and  words hardly do them justice, but try to imagine sitting in a relatively small, open boat, about a kilometer from the coast, rolling on the Pacific Ocean swells, watching  the dark waves rolling around you. A massive back rises from the waves, just a few meters away, followed by a tail, both disappear into the depths. You sit in silence scanning the waters for some sign as to where the whale, now diving deep in preparation for a breach, may have gone. Then, without warning, a few hundred meters away from your tiny vessel, a black mass erupts from the water, towering ever higher. You wonder how this is even possible and recognise the energy required to do this. The whale twists slightly to one side and slams into the water, leaving just a trace of bubbles as evidence of this act of grace and power.

I’ll soon be closing off my series of whale images but will always hold the memories of this spectacle of nature for the rest of my life. It will be hard to top, but life always has new adventures in store.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 300 mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

High Resolution image on 500px

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Playtime”

“Playtime”

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything, than when we are at play.”
― Charles E. Schaefer

Above is another image of the Humpback whales off the coast of Baja, Mexico. This is a bit wider image and compliments yesterday’s image of the calf breaching. Since the cow is also in this frame, you can go back to my previous post to get a sense of the enormity of these animals. The cow is about five times the length and mass of the calf. In the order of about forty thousand kilograms!

I love how the calf essentially ‘erupts’ from the water and is almost completely airborne. The sheer mass of the cow prevents a full breach, in this image, yet I have other photos where, even she, is mostly in the air. But, that will have to wait till tomorrow.

The image also shows what is, apparently, typical behaviour, whereby the cow is exhaling through her blowhole as she emerges from the sea. As I witnessed it live, there was so much going on, and I was so awestruck, that detail was missed by me.

I’m honestly still in awe of these beautiful animals as they ‘played’ around us for nearly half an hour, the cow teaching the calf the ritual behaviour, with the calf being a seemingly willing pupil, as it leapt and splashed, imitating the cow. It’s an experience that will be permanently etched in my memory as a special moment.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com