Tag Archives: Humpback

Monochrome Mondays | Week 19, 2017

“Silence”

“Silence”

“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 find myself constantly going back to my time with the whales of the Baja. It was a deeply emotional time. As the associated quote states so well, there are so many things about this experience that defy language. Leaving me in silent reflection.

To see these beautiful creatures, in their natural habitat, rising gently from the depths and gliding next to our boat ,with virtually no sound except a gentle bubbling of the water, was a profound and life changing experience for me. The photos, while making great memories, pale in comparison to the actual experience, the combination of sensory perceptions of sight, sound, and smell are needed; even that is hard to articulate. There is a spiritual sense here, among the giants of the deep that defies expression.

So, I joyfully go back to the images and allow them to rekindle those emotions, once more placing in on the surface of the Sea of Cortez, sharing a brief moment in time with these magnificent animals, and silence prevails.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 220 mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0 ISO 200

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Wordless Wednesday

“Presence”.jpg

“Presence”

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 300mm
1/500 sec, f/11.0, 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

“Tranquility”

“Tranquility”

“We must believe that there are places where tranquility exists and nature is given back her power to speak…”
― Nanette L. Avery

Seriously, I am trying to move away from whales, and the ocean, but the draw is too strong. I’m still going through the many photos I made on my recent vacation and finding images that simply resonate with me.

The image above of one such photo. Made around eight o’clock in the morning, as we were heading out for a day of diving.

The Sea of Cortez was calm, with a slight pinkish haze on the horizon. In the distance, the sparkling spout of a surfacing whale drew our attention from the stillness, yet not a sound was heard, other than the lapping of the water beneath our dive boat. Then the  dark outline of the Humpback Whale’s back broke the surface, with barely a ripple, just the smoothness and shimmer of its inky skin, which slid into the depths, just as it had appeared, soundless and gentle.

Then, as a finale to this act, the massive tail appeared, suspended above the waters like a flag, waving slowly, serenely. Till even it, disappeared, leaving a small pool of bubbles as evidence of its existence.

Just recalling this moment, bring an incredible sense of peace to me. It’s one of those moments I will cherish and will become one of those places I can go in my mind when life gets busy. I also have this photo, which I will hang on my wall, to look at, and remember, tranquility.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 110 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

“Final Bow”

“Final Bow”

“You’ve changed me forever. And I’ll never forget you.”
― Kiera Cass

This is, I believe, my final image for my Humpback Whale series. It’s been enjoyable and educational for me to share these images and my feelings about them.

It seems an appropriate image to close off on, as the whale emerges from the water, she appears to be waving or preparing for a bow. From this point, she twists to one side and reenters the water in an incredible splash. The image also nicely shows the detail of her belly (ventral grooves).

For this image, the whale was also quite close to the boat, so it’s not zoomed in a lot.

I can’t say enough about how spectacular it was to witness these beautiful creatures in their environment, especially amazing when viewed from a small boat rather than the large commercial whale watching vessels.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 112 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

“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

“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