Underwater Photography

I wanted to challenge myself this year and tried to come up with a new take on whale photography.

Im sure most of you would have seen some amazing underwater images usually taken in places like Fiji, Tonga or other places where you can go swimming with Humpback whales.

In Sydney you can not go swimming with them, so taking underwater images would require a different approach.

The difficulty lies within the rules of whale watching: You generally have to stay at least 100m away from them, which would rule out any shot at underwater photography. 

Luckily there is a very specific time during the season in which humpbacks tend to be very curious and come right up to the boat, swimming circles around you for hours. In that case, we stop our propellers from spinning and let the whales do what they want to do.

It is some of the best whale watching you could ever have, and the most stressful time for me as the photographer as i am usually sprinting continuously from one end of the boat to the other while holding two cameras as the whales circle the boat.

And if that wasn’t hard enough, i thought ill also start carrying a GoPro on a very long stick around with me.

Ocean Dreaming 2, the boat i am on most times, only has a low enough access point at the back of the boat to get the camera far enough underwater for some good images, so you have to be lucky that the whales hang around there for a while.

Once they do, i would lie flat on my stomach to get the camera as far underwater as possible. The Gopro is set to either film or take pictures once every second, but you can’t see exactly what you are filming / taking pictures of as there is no live feed from the camera.

I managed to get a few half decent shots and had to laugh when all of our regular whale watchers turned up with GoPro’s on sticks the next day!

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