Whale Watching

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


I was trying to get a decent photo of a group of gray whales just 20 to 30 feet off shore. I looked around and saw I wasn’t the only one watching the whales.

Technical Details

D850, 150-600 at 550mm, f11, ISO 800, 1/1000 sec handheld

1 Like

Haha. Great story…one always needs something to do while waiting for the whales to resurface. I think this is a fine classic portrait. Wonderful detail in bird and the perch and catch light in the eye. I thought you were at a beach based on the bleached-out look of the wood. I love the colour of the sky and the surrounding negative space. Personally, I might crop out the wood in the bottom left as it pulls the eye there.

Any whale pictures to post as well?

Thanks Robena! I’ll take a look at removing the wood in the bottom left. Gray whales are difficult to photograph as they rarely lift more then the top of the head or fin, so I got lots of photos but nothing very good. Some were almost fun in that I got spouts in front of Mt. Baker but you can’t really see the whales.

Wow. Spouts in front of Mt Baker would be lovely. I have only ever got flukes off the cost of Tofino as they are diving and feeding right now.

Hi Steve, I like the detail in the black on the bird that is in the sun. Nice catchlight in the eye. The rest of the shadows look fairly blocked but raising them further may just introduce noise. The bird is centered and I’m wondering if the image could be improved by taking some off the right. Agree with taking out the wood on LLC. Whale spouts in front of the mountains sound really interesting.

I like the way you handled the blacks in this one, Steve. It doesn’t really bother me if the shadowed areas are blocked a bit as long as the bright areas are accurate instead of grayed out. My first instinct was to remove the wood in the lower left, but I’m not sure as it adds a bit of balance. You might consider a vertical crop, but that would kind of run counter to your title.

@Allen_Sparks, @Robena.Sirett and @Dennis_Plank thanks for your comments. Sorry for the delay in response. I’ve been traveling (still on the road) and haven’t had much access. I’ll be home in a couple days and will see about the blacks and the branch on this image. I’ll also look for some whale shots with mountains in the background.