a whale of a tale

Easter Sunday. Near as we can remember we were just north of Humbug Mt. Sorry, but the excitement knocked all sense of location and other technical details of shooting out of my head…..

Eric spotted a head surfacing as we were driving along and there just happened to be a handy turnout where we could stop and watch and shoot…


My first shot turned out to be some kelp… how terribly disappointing!


But I finally spotted a “blow”… this shot caught the remnants of the spray where the gray whale breathed (blowing out a spray of mist). The back of the whale can be seen out in front of the little puff of spray.

Let me tell you, shooting these was not easy. I had to watch for a sign of the whale surfacing and then find it with the camera zoomed out. If I was lucky, I managed to zoom in a bit for the shot. I think I need a whole lot more practice with this sort of shooting.


This one was a bit easier because there was a clear look at the back of the whale. The contrast helped to spot it in this instance, too.


But then the excitement level kicked up a notch when we began to suspect there was a baby along side the mother. It wasn’t until we were home and looking at the shots on the computer screen that we thought she might actually have twins! That’s a rare event and truly thrilling to catch.

The above shot clearly shows a smaller whale in front, but toward the back end of (presumably) mom in the middle. The little one seems to be in the middle of a blow. The one at the top and out in front appears to be another baby.


The above shot, taken a split second later shows the group going underwater. The fact that they would disappear and pop up elsewhere wasn’t helping matters in catching images.

Two more glimpses…


…and then the finale as one of the calves popped its head up at just the perfect moment.

I’m sure these images don’t begin to convey the excitement I felt, but they sure bring back the joy of seeing these marvelous creatures swimming out there.

For anyone interested, here’s a link to someone who caught a mother and twins and managed to film them with a drone. It’s worth a look.

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing. 
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale



32 thoughts on “a whale of a tale

  1. Your pictures took me back vividly to when I was a little girl living in Eureka Ca. We would go out to the sea to watch the gray whales and I have never forgotten the excitement of those glimpses. And twins! Wow!


    • I must have been running on auto-pilot, though we did sit there for quite awhile before I got the hang of spotting them and eventually catching these shots. It was pretty fantastic.


  2. We were on the Straight last year and I noticed people looking into a blank spot in the water – turned out to be our first decent whale sighting – yes, sure is hard to time those shots right! It was fun though, to sit on the rocks and watch, and get a sense of how long the time between blows would be. A guy in a kayak had the best seat! You had a lucky one, with the calf. The drone video is amazing.


    • It was a very lucky catch for sure. I don’t know how Eric manages to spot the birds and critters while driving that twisting coastal road, but I’m sure glad he does. He said what caught his attention was a head popping up like in my last shot. We were getting a sense of how long before blows and they seemed to be circling in a cove, more or less going back and forth, but I never knew where they would pop up and the froth kept throwing me, very much resembling the whales much of the time. A kayak would have been cool out there, but also a bit scary.


  3. Absolutely delightful, Gunta! How very fortunate that you could pull over and start photographing right away. I love all the photos, Gunta, and your enthusiasm shows through perfectly. Then the finale, that adorable calf — I gasped with pleasure. Truly lovely display of whale magic~~


    • It was so very exciting that I wasn’t sure if I was catching any of the shots, or not. I missed quite a few because they don’t surface for very long and then you don’t know where they’ll show up next. It was beyond thrilling to have caught these, especially that last one.


    • Thanks, bet you can imagine how many I missed between these few with glimpses of the whales. Luckily they seemed to be circling in something resembling a cove. It might have been feeding behavior, but it kept them there right in front of us for quite awhile.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can well understand your excitement. You did well to catch that baby sticking it’s head out of the water.

    I wouldn’t have been able to stop shaking holding the camera in the same situation.

    (I’ve been trying to catch the Doves on my balcony flicking water over themselves on a hot day. Even changing the camera to continuous shooting didn’t help. One has to watch for some time work out the ‘routine’ and then, just when you think you’re going to get a good shot, the birds fly away).


    • Them wild critters aren’t always very cooperative. I consider myself extremely lucky to have seen this bunch. I don’t think I would have noticed them if my partner hadn’t spotted them and he was driving!


    • It was utterly amazing to see them. Wouldn’t a drone have been fun, but we also watched someone trying to fly one at one of the Capes and the wind was knocking the thing all over. Last we saw I think it was knocked down off the cliff to the beach below. Pretty expensive toy to lose.

      Liked by 1 person

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