Different Perspectives: Through the Humpback’s Eyes

Editors note: Here’s another wonderful post from our roving correspondent MaryKate. This one features photos from her trip to Hawaii in February – enjoy!


Being on Maui in February during peak whale watching season is like nothing else!  Each year between November and May, humpback whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds in Alaska down to Maui to mate and give birth, with January to March being the best months for abundant whale watching.

While there are so many whales you can see them from shore (sometimes causing traffic jams as people watch a whale breach!), I highly recommend going out with Pacific Whale Foundation for a more intimate experience.  My favorite cruise is their Sunday Whale Photo Safari out of Lahaina on Ocean Spirit, a luxury sailing catamaran**.

Humpback Whale Fluke
 Fluke of a Shot

I’ve been ‘whaley’ obsessed with working on my whale photography skills between trips to Alaska and Hawaii.  As I make more photos, I’ve tried to find different perspectives and refine my skills.  This trip, I was happy to catch some behaviors and situations I haven’t seen before – so I’ll focus on those photos in the rest of today’s blog.

Humpback Whale and Kayak

Keeping My Eye On You

This image above is the first time where I  can see the humpback whale’s eye (the round bump at the right)!  This humpback was slapping its pectoral fin on the water, perhaps to communicate with other whales nearby.  While we watched this whale, (s)he was watching nearby kayakers the entire time to make sure that they didn’t get too close.

Another new situation for me was this next photo of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins.  I’ve seen one or two at a time before.  This pod started out as three or four dolphins surfacing by our boat and then erupted into a large pod of 30-40!  This many dolphins together is a breathtaking experience!

Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins

Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin Pod

We also had some very active humpback calves, and they treated us to a few baby breaches (also known as “flying pickles” because of the way they look when flying through the air).  This calf below was just coming out of the water to breach – look how tiny he is compared to his mother nearby.

Humpback Whale Calf Breaching

Humpback Whale Calf Breaching

I’m also working to improve my compositions (although the captain of the boat sure controls a lot of that!).  I really like this image of a mother and calf double blow.  Including  the Maui shoreline in Lahaina adds interest and context to the photo.

Humpback Whale Mother & Calf Blow Maui

Humpback Whale Mother & Calf Double Blow

I had great luck on this trip with weather and whales – too much to fit into one post!  Check out the rest of my photos in the album here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Now – go see things through a different set of eyes and make some photos!

**DISCLAIMER: I’m biased – I love PWF and their mission to protect the ocean through science and advocacy and to inspire environmental stewardship so much, that I recently joined their board of directors.

©2019, MK Rosack and Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

I'd love to hear from you, please leave a reply!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.