So you want to know how to take photos of whales? You’re in luck! I’ve received a few questions recently about tips for whale photography, particularly while out whale watching on boats. So I’ve pulled it all together into a blog post!
Note: I’m not a professional wildlife photographer but I AM a passionate whale watcher who’s been going whale watching (and taking photos of whales) for a good 10 years or so. These are all tips that I’ve picked up along the way.
We are now at the end of this series of posts. My top/favourite whale encounters. Some of you may have guessed this one was coming but coming in at No. 1 we have…
# 1 Mum and newborn calf! (July 2018)
Like the previous post, this encounter also happened on my actual birthday (though two years later).
TBH, this probably would have made top of my list even if it HADN’T been on my birthday but that certainly made it even more special. I specifically took the day off work so I could go whale watching on my birthday. I am so so so so glad I did.
We’d only been out on the water maybe 30 mins or so when we saw some blows on the water’s surface a bit further out. At first we thought it was a dolphin because the blow was so small, but as we got closer we realised…
…It was a BABY WHALE!! 😍
HAPPY HUMP(BACK) DAY, FOLKS! We’re almost there! (Both with the week and this list. 😂)
Today is the penultimate in my list of top/favourite whale encounters. This encounter took place ON my actual birthday so it was special for that reason but also because it was…
#2 My FIRST encounter with Migaloo! (July 2016)
We’d been tracking Migs since before he went past Byron Bay so we knew he was on his way… it was just a question of would he arrive on THAT day or slip past us during the night? (Please no, please no, please no… 🙏)
I went out on a morning tour with another operator but we didn’t see a peep. The whales were, bizarrely, pretty quiet. I think I may have taken 20 photos in TOTAL?? And I usually average HUNDREDS (on occasion, over a thousand 😅) when I’m on a whale watching tour. So it was just WEIRD. I don’t think I’m reading into it too much when I say there was an air of anticipation around and the humans weren’t the only ones feeling it!
When the morning tour got back in, I went straight over to Sea World Whale Watch (now Whale Watch Australia) and got booked into the afternoon tour. It was a grey, extremely overcast and occasionally drizzly afternoon… but we had high hopes and our fingers (and toes) crossed, so we set off down the coast.
So here we are now with my TOP 3 whale encounters. Hilariously, these have all happened either ON or around my birthday. I’m not saying that has anything to do with anything but… 🤷🏻♀️😜
#3 Held hostage by P!nk-loving whales!
I realise most of you are probably going “What the hell is she sniffing?” 😂 Allow me to explain.
Late last July, a couple of days after my birthday, I went out whale watching with Tweed Gold Coast Dive Charters (owner Dave, his wife Tammie plus there were a few Instagram friends also on board!). We left from Tweed, hit the open ocean at the Tweed Bar (basically right beside the NSW/QLD border), and headed further offshore in search of humpies.
And then we proceeded to have our MINDS BLOWN for over 3 hours.
Here we go – bucket list time!
#4 My first time swimming with the whales! (August 2019)
Did you know you can swim the whales right here in Australia? There are a few operators on both the east and west coasts that run whale swim tours, so you don’t even need to leave the country (or, in my case, state)! There are rules about how/when to enter the water or how many people are in the water at once, but if you follow the rules you can have one of the most breathtaking experiences. EVER.