Getting the Best Shot on Your Whale Watching Tour

When you go on a whale watching tour, getting photos of your adventure is likely to be high on your list of things to do. Photography on a whale watching boat can be challenging, as there are many factors influencing the shot. Everything from the sun’s angle to the speed with which a whale appears—and disappears—can impact the quality of your pictures. As you set on your tour, keep these tips in mind so you come home with the best possible pictures of your day on the water.

Get Prepared

Keep in mind that you’ll be photographing while out on the open water, so prepare to protect your gear from water damage. For a camera, you’ll need to bring your bag and strap. If you don’t have a camera bag, bring a plastic bag for storage. If you’re using a smartphone, consider a waterproof case. You should also have a backup battery for your camera or be sure to have your phone fully charged.

Set Your Camera for Speed

Whales move quickly, so capturing them requires fast actions. Point-and-shoot cameras should be set on action mode, if possible. If you have an SLR camera, you may want to use shutter-priority mode and set the speed to at least 1/1000. Make sure your camera is set up for continuous shooting. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to use a tripod or monopod on the boat. Skip multiple lenses and focus on using one zoom lens.

Know When Not to Shoot

Whales aren’t going to resurface in the exact same spot, so try to gauge their motion and anticipate their rhythm to capture your shots. It’s equally important to recognize when it’s time to put the camera down and take in the moment. You’ll miss out if you watch the entire trip through a camera lens.

At Captain John Boats, we take groups out on whale watching tours near Plymouth along Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Bank, where you’re likely to encounter Finback whales, pilot whales, humpback whales, minke whales, and many other varieties. To book your whale watching trip or for more information about our fishing charters or Provincetown ferry, call (508) 927-5575.

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