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Call me Ishmael

"I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world." There's a place in Alaska where whales gather, and where one massive humpback with the name of Gabriel sings. I've now heard those songs, seen those pods, and paddled those waters. Color me impressed.

Photo: Olympus OM-D EM-5, Panasonic 100-300mm
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Nice shot +Thom Hogan the OM-D is quite a fun camera to use. I shoot commercially with my OM-D and Pen Mini. Tons of fun and the quality works well for assignments.
A good reminder for me that only cropping to 4:3 and 3:2 is more limiting than it needs to be.
I have so many questions about this shot- why B&W? Why such a tight crop? Why no horizon or other depth cue? How did you choose the shutter speed, and was it intended to get this effect on the streaming water?
My own whale-watching was only a short day-sail in NZ, many years ago (film days). Black and white was probably the only thing I didn't try, but I appreciate how difficult it is to "get the shot" with these guys. I never got anything remotely as good from the big ones- kudos on your shot.
+Lior Kravitz B&W because it was a gray day and the picture is monotonic in color. Color didn't really add anything so I took it out. Tight crop because we're in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and there isn't really anything else useful. I can show you some more ocean, if you'd like ;~). Horizon is well up from the tail (this is a top and bottom crop: you're seeing the full width). Personally, I would have like more on the left and right, but I have no control over where the whale is relative to me (especially when we were on the kayaks) and there is absolutely no margin of error in timing. You don't have time to zoom (should you be using a zoom). Again, this was the OM-D, so I was on single shot, single focus (I tried continuous: major Fail on that camera for this type of shot).

As for shutter speed: I've said it before, with water you need to either freeze it or flow it. This is an example of freeze, though I would have loved to get another stop faster shutter speed than I did (very low light and I was pushed as far as I wanted to go in ISO).

One thing I learned in watching all these whales for so much time: there are different tail shots because the whale is doing different things. In this case the whale wasn't really diving, it was feeding. The tail action thus was very shallow and never quite hit perpendicular to the water on entry.

Oh, did I mention that it was raining most of the time while I was shooting this and other similar shots? Good thing the OM-D is tolerant of water.
Great post +Thom Hogan Love the water streaming off the tail, great timing. Good to here you were impressed with being out on the water. There are lots of amazing things to see and here there. Thank you for posting Thom.  Hope you have a great week. Allan
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