Tag Archives: whale

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

“The Breach” – Chileno Beach

Breach at Chileo

“Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.”
― Pablo Picasso

Though this is my photo blog I have, recently, posted a few paintings. Actually, they are photos of paintings, so I’m really not crossing a line, am I?

As those of you who follow this blog regularly would know, I’ve commented in the past about the idea that I can’t paint, and that I have used digital painting as a proxy for this deficit. However, those digital paintings stirred something inside me to give painting a try. It was a big risk on my part. What if I proved myself right? Well, no harm in trying.

I was surprised to find that something that sat dormant for so long could be so easily awakened, simply by listening to my inner voice and a bit of preparation. I went out and bought some good quality paints and an assortment of brushes and really surprised myself. It has been a LONG time since I put brush to canvas and I never really enjoyed it, because I was just not good at mixing colours.

Time, and experience with photo composition and colour balance has taught me why my colours were off and a few online beginner courses in acrylic painting technique made me somewhat ready to try it again.

My recent whale watching trip and subsequent photos inspired me to attempt a painting of the whales breaching. So, here it is. I believe I have a long way to go to get my paintings to the level I desire, but I’m not disappointed in the result. This is my third painting since I started in mid-February.

“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