A Whale of a Tail, part 3

We enjoyed a 180 degree view of the ocean from our apartment. We looked for whales and turtles with the naked eye and binoculars. Usually the whales stopped splashing before we could get a camera out.

On our last morning on Maui, a competition pod was active long enough to takes pictures after setting up the tripod and camera.

On the right are the mother and calf. In the center a male is swimming on his side and raising his pectoral fin to slap it. On the left is a second male is breaching next to the other male.

competition pod heating up
competition pod heating up

Here the mother and calf are followed by a lunging male, where less than 40% of the body is out of the water.

mother and calf followed by lunging male
mother and calf followed by lunging male

Below, most of the whale’s body, including both pectoral fins, are out of the water, so this is called a breach. We did not see a whale breach on either of our cruises.

breaching whale with both pectoral fins visible
breaching whale with both pectoral fins visible

On a whale watching cruise you’re a lot closer to the whales than from your balcony, so you see more on a cruise. But watching whales from your balcony sure is comfortable, and the price is right!

After mounting the camera on the tripod, I turned off the lens image stabilization and attached a shutter release, to avoid shaking the camera when pressing the shutter button.

The above photos were taken at 400 mm and cropped to show more detail, since blog photos are limited in size. Here’s an uncropped photo to help illustrate the difference cropping makes.

whales in the Maui-Molokai channel
whales in the Maui-Molokai channel

In this image cropped the the above, we can more easily see three whales and houses on the distant Molokai shore.

crop example
crop example

After taking these photos, we packed up and rushed to the airport to catch our plane.


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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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