Friday, August 27, 2010

Minke Whales

Minke whales have been in the news a lot in Newfoundland and Labrador over the past couple of weeks. Orca whales have been attacking and killing minke whales in a couple of locations around the province. It may be the same group of orcas, but no one is certain of that. While it is natural for orcas to kill other whales, it is unusual that they have been doing it so close to tour boats where many people on board capture the whole thing on video. Just two days ago, a person from Trinity Bay witnessed two whales being attacked and one of the injured minkes was so close to his boat that he could actually touch it.

In early August I purchased a new Ultrasonic 70-300 mm lens that has a built-in Image Stabilizer (IS) and used it for this series. Some camera manufacturers build the IS into the camera bodies, but Canon technology has the IS in each lens. Most point and shoot cameras on the market these days have IS.

One afternoon, I drove to Holyrood harbour and saw many people watching and photographing a couple of minke whales feeding on the capelin (small fish that spawn on beaches all around the island of Newfoundland) that were waiting for the right time to "roll" on the beach. I stood on a small cliff overlooking the harbour and waited for one to surface. If you have ever photographed minke whales you know that you have quick to capture a decent image because you are not sure where one will surface and when it does, it just takes a quick breath and disappears again. Fortunately, my camera focuses and shoots fairly quickly so I was able to make a few before they moved too far away.

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