If you’ve looked through my Nature gallery, you may have noticed the one photograph of wildlife – a humpback whale - among all the landscapes. This is not for lack of trying, but mainly because, until recently, I lacked the reach of a large telephoto lens to photograph animals in the wild. And without the equipment, the opportunity and experience were lacking too.
I made this whale photo - Humpback Whale, Queen Charlotte Strait, British Columbia – in British Columbia in the summer of 2016. It was my first outing with a Nikkor 200-500mm F5.6 telephoto zooms lens. My wife and I took the whale watch cruise out of Alder Bay on Vancouver Island. As bad luck would have it, the morning was quite foggy. The pea soup lasted the entire trip, and made photography quite challenging, as we sighted both a pod of resident orcas and the feeding humpback. Even in continuous auto focus mode, I had difficulty tracking the moving subjects through the dense fog - from a moving camera platform, no less. Few of the photos satisfied me. Something of a disappointment, but also motivation to try again.
Well, that time has come. We are headed back to Vancouver Island in September for a whale watch cruise out of Nanaimo Harbor. We expect to see resident orcas and, with any good luck, maybe more humpbacks. We’ll also take a day-long tour to the Orford River estuary on the BC mainland to observe grizzly bears feeding on the fall salmon run. So, fingers crossed and clear weather permitting, I’ll have some new images of whales and grizzly bears to share with you soon. Watch this space!