Tips for Photographers
To quote Flip Nicklin, be guided by a few simple rules.
Number one: a photo must either show something new or show something familiar in a new way.
Number two: Pictures that look like pictures you’ve seen before don’t count.
Number three: Your photo should tell a story – you should be able to talk for hours about the story behind a photo.
Taking photographs of whales, like taking photographs of wildlife in general, involves a combination of luck, fast reflexes, and basic photographic skills. The following are some general tips for taking quality photographs of marine life:
- Existing anti-harassment laws require that minimum distances of 100 yards be maintained between vessel and whale. Therefore, using reasonably high-powered telephoto or zoom lens of at least 300-mm focal length is highly suggested. Dolphins come in very close to the boat.
- When in sighting distance of whales, expect the unexpected. Have your camera ready at all times, or you might miss a shot of an interesting behavior, such as a breach.
- A reasonably fast film and shutter speed should be used (for example, ASA 200 shot at 1/500 seconds). Also, rather than use an automatic setting, if possible, open up one or two f-stops from what is suggested by your light meter reading. This will compensate for the great amount of background light reflected from the water’s surface, which results in the details of the fluke being darkened if the suggested setting is used.
A great resource from Danny and his cohorts at the New Jersey Boys and Girls Club (and thanks to Ms. Russell!): Capturing Sealife With Underwater Cameras
Resources, Links and Web Sites for Digital Camera Reviews