Whale watching is probably the ultimate wildlife experience, and certainly one of the most difficult challenges that I faced as a wildlife photographer.
Whales spend most of their time underwater but of course, being mammals themselves they must surface to breath. This gives us a small window of time to enjoy them and possibly take some fascinating photos.
Sometimes cetacean can breach too! Even a huge humpback whale, a 40-ton animal, can launch itself high in the air becoming one of the most breath-taking natural shows I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
Nevertheless, this rare and spectacular event takes about 1 second, and doesn’t happen very often. Most of the time it happens in just a flash, a blink of an eye and if we are not 100% ready, we will not be able to enjoy it. So, you can imagine how hard it can be to take a good picture of it.
White-beaked dolphins are one of our most active species and have stolen the hearts of most of our guides by riding the bows of our boats and jumping magnificently around us.
For those of you who want more than simply to indulge in the beauty of their leaps and bounds, we thought we would put together a little fact file for you.
Firstly, you will need to know how to tell the difference between a white-beaked dolphin and any of their cousins. The best clue here will always be the waters they are found in. These dolphins are one of the only dolphin species worldwide who truly appreciate the cold. Never found below England or Ireland, these eclectic individuals prefer water temperatures of less than 12 degrees Celsius.
Aside from this, they are known to have a much more robust body than other dolphins and a much ‘snubbier’ snout. Of course, the beautiful grey and white markings all along their bodies make them most identifiable when you can get close enough to really study them- and we often do, as they are frequently seen riding the bows of our boats here in Iceland!
If you’ve been on one of our tours recently, you may have noticed that amongst the accoutrement of radios, speakers and useful spotting equipment the guides keep with them always, they also have a camera at the ready at all times.
Now, there are a couple of reasons for this. One being so that we can opportunistically capture picturesque photos of the wildlife and the landscape to showcase the magnificence of our tours, so that those of you who have a tour to look forward to can get an idea of what to expect, and just how exciting life at sea can be. However, one of the more pivotal reasons that we are often spotted acting as snap-happy as can be is to help extend the scientific database of Icelandic Whales.