Humpback Whale breaching

Over many years, I have presented numerous photographic tours and expeditions onboard boats and ships. It can be quite challenging to get great photos due to various factors, so below are some tried-and-tested photographic techniques that will improve your chances of getting great shots.

  1. When in a zodiac or motor boat, especially travelling and speed and during unpredictable weather, the chances of water splashing over your gear an be quite high. My advice is to purchase a waterproof backpack, such as a Lowepro Dryzone, where you can store your camera and lenses and protect them from the elements This way, even if a rogue wave comes over the zodiac or boat, you aren’t risking ruining your gear.
  2. When travelling at slower speeds or stopping, and the water is calm, I still recommend using some sort camera-lens ‘rain jacket’. The best type to use is one where you can still easily control all of your camera’s functions easily.
  3. ALWAYS use a lens hood when photographing from a boat, ship or zodiac. It’s quite common to get water spray, salt spray or even rain on the front of your lens, so using a lens hood minimises the chance of your photos being ruined.
  4. When a boat is rocking back and forth, especially when lightning conditions are quite dark, using image stabilisation on your lens (if available) is something I strongly suggest.
  5. Photographing subjects such as whales or dolphins, for example, into the water and from a boat, can be quite difficult due to the glare. By using a circular polarising filter, on your lens glare can be reduced quite dramatically.
  6. During photo expeditions I have presented to locations such as Antarctica, the Arctic, the Sub Antarctica and Sub Arctic (Russian Far East), taking photos during the daily zodiac cruises can be quite challenging due to getting cold fingers. This makes it either impossible or at least very difficult to change the camera’s settings. I use a pair of cotton liner gloves, followed by a pair of fingerless gloves (which have mittens which fold over when you aren’t needing to use your fingers). This way I’m able to operate my camera while keeping my hands warm.

If you have a passion for wildlife, nature or travel photography and would love to go on a small-number, professional photography adventure, please get in touch with Michael Snedic at WildNature Photo Expeditions. You can call him on 0408 941 965 or fill in this Contact Form and he will get back to you ASAP.

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