Okay, so I’m a bit obsessed with whales. Get over it! In this case I honestly was not out to photograph the beasties. I was doing some landscapes in the cove you see in the image above, when my wife yelled to come over to the cliff edge. In the cove below us was a mom and her two calves.
Now I did not have the proper equipment with me, but I figured what the heck! I grabbed my 70-200 zoom tele lens, stuck on a 1.4 teleconverter and shot away with my D800. I set the crop at DX format, so as to gain some additional throw. Still not stellar, but the point is that it was great fun to watch this cavorting family.
First the babies starting out with fin slaps and tail slaps. Not to be anthropomorphic about it, but we couldn’t help thinking they were trying to get their mom’s attention. Then they tried their hand at breaching. As you can see the attempts were not all that successful… at first.
Mom kept a close eye on the youngsters, as they were fairly close to shore and dangerous rocks. We noted that she kept her body between the calves and the shoreline, at one point bumping them back out to sea.
As the calves climbed the learning curve, one finally made it into a full-scale breach. Yeah! We had to laugh.
But the final act was nothing short of hysterical. After babysitting the calves all this time, mom figured it was time to show them how it really is done. As I peeked through my viewfinder, suddenly the ocean exploded and mom breached gracefully through the air, executing a half-turn and landing with a resounding crash. Now, That’s how it’s done, kids! Got it?
As a postscript, by now the calves were tired and the action abruptly stopped. We noticed mom roll to her side, probably nursing her hungry offspring.