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Monterey Bay

Drove up to Monterey, CA this weekend for back to back Debi Shearwater pelagic trips. Debi is also the one we will be going to Antarctica with next winter. All six of the guides from the Antarctica trip happened to be on the boat with us, along with WINGS leader Steve Howell, which gave me ample time to pick their brains on any questions I had.

Saturday’s pelagic out of Monterey was pretty rough with swells exceeding 12′. Many people were sick, sacrificing their breakfast and lunch to the seagulls following the boat. Fortunately I was not one of them! Sunday’s boat trip out of Santa Cruz was much calmer as the winds had died down overnight. The highlight of the weekend were a pod of Humpback Whales that were being harassed by 6 Transient Orcas (Killer Whale). We suspect the group of Orcas were trying to kill one of the Humpback Whale calves. We don’t think they succeeded as we only noticed the remnants of a California Sea Lion floating in the water.

Lots of images follow:

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

Sea Otter
Sea Otter

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale

Transient Orca
Transient Orca

Transient Orca
Transient Orca

Transient Orca
Transient Orca

Risso's Dolphin
Risso’s Dolphin

Risso's Dolphin
Risso’s Dolphin

California Sea Lion
California Sea Lion

Sooty Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater

Buller's Shearwater
Buller’s Shearwater

Buller's Shearwater
Buller’s Shearwater

Pink-footed Shearwater
Pink-footed Shearwater

Black-footed Albatross
Black-footed Albatross

Northern Fulmar
Northern Fulmar

Common Murre
Common Murre

Marbled Murrelet
Marbled Murrelet

South Polar Skua
South Polar Skua

Golden-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow

Northern Harrier
Northern Harrier

 

Posted by on October 13, 2008 in Photography Adventures

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Back from the Galápagos!

As many of you already know, Sara and I were at the Galápagos Islands for the past ten days. We lived on a boat the entire time as we traveled from island to island which is why I was unable to post any updates during that time. We only had cell phone service one day while we were near Santa Cruz island.

Our tour did not include all of the islands but we visited nine (9) of the top islands: San Cristobal (Chatham), Espanola (Hood), Santa Cruz (Indefatigable), Santiago (James), Bartolome, Genovesa (Tower), Fernandina (Narborough), Isabela (Albemarle) and North Seymour.

Some of the highlights included the Galápagos Penguin, the Flightless Cormorant, Land Iguanas, Marine Iguanas, Waved Albatross, Frigatebirds and of course the famous Blue-footed Boobies!

We went with the tour group International Expeditions. It was well organized although we were a bit disappointed by the fact it wasn’t completely geared toward “photographers” like we were led to believe. Despite that fact, our naturalist guides and boat crew did a wonderful job trying to accomodate everyone’s needs however. Would we go on another IE trip? I think that answer depends on how they address the fact they labeled this as a “Photo Tour” so why weren’t we out at each island at sunrise and sunset?

We did have a professional photographer on the boat with us, Wolfgang Kaehler. He was an absolute pleasure to be around. Not only did I learn a lot about photography from him but I learned a bit about all of the places he’s been in the world – over 200 countries! Needless to say that inspired me to already start planning our trip to Antarctica (South Georgia and Falklands) and next on the list is Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Madagascar).

In addition to the photography we also went snorkeling around a few of the islands. Not much in the way of coral but lots of beautiful fish and we even swam with Galápagos Penguins, Galápagos Sea Lions, Galápagos Sea Turtles and White-tipped Reef Sharks!!

Now on to the pictures… I took over 4,500 photos (and probably deleted over a thousand of those). Close to 35 gigs of images left after I filtered out the bad ones. All of my favorite photos from Galápagos can be found here. Here’s a sample of some:

Galápagos Penguin
Galápagos Penguin

Flightless Cormorant
Flightless Cormorant

Land Iguana
Land Iguana

Marine Iguana
Marine Iguana

Lava Lizard
Lava Lizard

Sally Lightfoot Crab
Sally Lightfoot Crab

Red-billed Tropicbird
Red-billed Tropicbird

Waved Albatross
Waved Albatross

Blue-footed Booby
Blue-footed Booby

Great Frigatebird
Great Frigatebird

Nazca Booby
Nazca Booby

Swallow-tailed Gull
Swallow-tailed Gull

Red-footed Booby
Red-footed Booby

 

Posted by on May 27, 2008 in Photography Adventures

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