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Photographer's Note

I took a short road trip through Northern Baja California in January. The highlight of the trip was a whale-watching tour off the coast of Ensenada, where we saw 3 adult and 1 baby humpback whales. To our surprise, we also encountered this armada of dolphins that swam and lept around the ship as we sailed by.

At the time, I had my 200mm+1.4xTC on my camera for maximum reach (approx 360mm on 1D) to photograph distant whales. The dolphins were so close and moving so fast that it was almost impossible to get a shot of any of them, much less the group. I would have had better luck with a wider lens, but there was no way I was changing lenses under the circumstances (rocking boat + salt spray + fleeting subjects).

The dolphins appeared and disappeared in a fraction of a second. Although I blasted away with my motor drive, many shots show no dolphins at all, since the cadence of their leaps was not regular and their movements were not linear (actually they often turned 90 degrees on a dime going 25-35mph).

Given all of the aforementioned difficulties, this was my best shot. This image is slightly cropped from full frame, and levels have been tweaked to correct color.

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Additional Photos by Sam Willard (sam) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 419 W: 0 N: 64] (897)
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