Ocean Photography: 4 Tips for Photographing Whales

Ocean photography is a beautiful practice that enables you to photograph whales. Photographing whales requires a lot of patience, even for professional photographers. Here are some tips for photographing whales:

Tip 1: Choosing Your Boat Ride

If you want to up your chances for taking a whale photograph, choose your boat ride carefully. Unfortunately, not all whale boat tours are created equal. Because of the popularity of whale watching tours, whale boat tours can sometimes be overcrowded with tourists. They can be loud, full of distracting noises and might get in the way with your camera equipment. The best boat ride to actually shoot photos on is one that is not full. You could even shoot on a small boat or raft with a couple of people. The small boats that hold between 8-12 people are the best, as they have better maneuverability and speed than the larger boats, so they can get you to the whale the quickest.

Tip 2: The Camera Equipment

Before you choose your boat ride, sort out what camera equipment you are going to use. Hopefully you are not going ill-prepared with a cell phone camera, but are using a point and shoot camera or a DSLR. A DSLR is the best to use to take whale-watching photos, as you can attach larger lenses. The best zoom lens is a 70-300, but a 70-200 will also suffice. If you are using a film camera, try using a 400 speed film.

Tip 3: Camera Settings

For those who prefer the automatic functions on their camera, choose the outdoor sports or action mode. For those who prefer using the manual functions, use a shutter speed of 1000-1200 and an ISO of 400. Never use the automatic white balance function. Instead, you should do this manually, as the correct white balance depends on the amount of lighting that appears at the moment that you are shooting. Likewise, the metering should be adjusted accordingly.

Tip 4: Taking the Photo

When taking a photo, have patience and watch for the direction of the sun. You also need to be able to think like a whale. This sounds rather silly, however, you need to anticipate where the whale is going to jump. After all, the whale is a moving, living creature - it does not swim or jump in the same spot all the time. If the whale is approaching, you have the time to switch from an automatic to a manual mode. Manual focusing is better than automatic focus, as you can get more shots per second, and therefore more shots to choose from when it comes to editing.

Once all of this has been mastered, it will be easier to take better whale photographs. Be observant and try to memorize the whale patterns of breathing, blowing and arching before diving into the water. With enough patience and luck, you can get the timing down and take great whale photographs.

Popular Cameras for High Quality Photos: