Capturing Nature’s Spectacle: Photographer’s Close Encounter with Breaching Whale Next to Fishing Boat

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Taking Pictures of Nature’s Show: A Photographer Gets Up Close to a Breaching Whale Next to a Fishing Boat

Nature often surprises us with amazing shows. One photographer had the chance of a lifetime when he took a beautiful series of pictures of a huge humpback whale breaching just inches away from a fisherman on his boat who didn’t see it coming.

On a beautiful spring day in 2019, the strange event happened in Monterey Bay, California. Douglas Croft, a keen photographer, was out whale-watching in order to get some stunning pictures of these magnificent animals. He had no idea that he was about to see something amazing that would blow his mind.

“It was really exciting!” When salmon season starts, humpback whales come back to Monterey Bay to eat for the summer. There were hundreds of boats fishing in the bay, Croft remembers the excitement of the moment.

Humpback whales are famous for their amazing breaches, which is when they jump out of the water very quickly. Based on seeing the whale do this behavior before, Croft was ready to record the amazing moment when the whale breached again.

Croft saw the chance for an amazing shot and said, “This whale had breached a couple of times before this, and often they’ll just keep doing it.”

The unique point of view that Croft was able to capture in his pictures is what makes them stand out. Croft chose to take a different method than most whale watchers, who take pictures from the open deck. Under the deck, he set himself up to shoot through a window close to the water. This unique angle gave the viewer a view of the huge humpback whale rising over the fishing boat that couldn’t be found anywhere else.

“The breach was right behind the fishing boat, which shows how big it was.” The boat should look bigger now that it’s closer, but the whale is really big! “I think I’d need new underwear if I were the fisherman,” Croft jokes in a funny way.

Croft was annoyed at first that the fishing boat was in his picture, but he later realized that it gave his pictures a unique quality. The huge size of the whale next to the relatively small fishing boat made for a stunning visual contrast that made the pictures more powerful.

Kate Cummings, another whale lover, also caught the same breach on video, but from a higher angle. Cummings describes the events that led to the perfect synchronization: “The whale had already breached several times, but these times were much farther away from the fisherman.” But when whales breach more than once, they may also be moving in a certain way while they’re underwater, getting ready for the next breach. I thought the next breach would happen around the fisherman since the whale was moving that way, and sure enough, it did! I didn’t expect the whale and the boat to line up so well, though.

When it comes to photography, timing is everything. Douglas Croft’s amazing encounter with the breaching humpback whale is a strong reminder of how beautiful nature is and how it can leave us speechless. Croft’s beautiful pictures capture forever the brief moment when people and nature came together in a stunning dance of life and motion that continues to amaze and inspire us all.

Image credits: Photographs by Douglas Croft/Caters News

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