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Fun Photo Friday — Whale Watching Tour Favorites

The Flag “Waves”

As I noted earlier this week, the whales on this tour were not very cooperative, but there was much to photograph anyway.  It should be no surprise, then, that my favorite photos from this tour had nothing to do with whales.


One of the tricks to capturing fun images is mentally cropping what you see and determining if the composition is interesting.  Sometimes monochromatic subjects can actually work in your favor, and without the need to converting to Black & White:

Blue on Blue

Silky reflections on glassy waters don’t hurt, either:

Red Bench

Here are a couple of more photographs that made my “favorites” list:

Ready to Roll



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San Diego for Whale Watching — Part 2

Flagship Marietta

For the next couple of hours we chased whales . . . at a distance.  If one of the tour boats in the area observed a whale, the whole fleet would reposition close, but not too close, to that area.  Regulations require whale watching boats to approach no closer than 100 yards/90 meters.

Gray Whale

Fortunately, I had with me a Panasonic FZ1000, which has a 35mm equivalent focal range of 400mm, or about 8x telephoto magnification.

Gray Whale

The FZ1000 is a very versatile travel camera with a fairly large 1-inch sensor in a relatively compact form.  The drawback is that at its finest JPEG compression, the photos tend to show blotchiness in uniform areas, such as blue sky.  Also, vignetting at the corners is a bit of a problem, especially at the longest focal lengths.  Both problems can be solved if you store images in both JPEG and Raw, allowing you to replace the occasional defective JPEG through Raw post-processing with the Silkypix software that comes packaged with the camera.  That’s a pain, but fortunately most JPEGs from the FZ1000 aren’t bad enough to require fixing.

Gray Whale


Gray Whale

As you can see from today’s photos we were far from the only whale watchers out this day:


And whales were not the only animals to be seen.  Here is a dolphin:


This particular cruise is 3.5 hours long.  Heading back into port we passed these chaps ignoring a “No Trespassing” sign:

No Trespassing!

By the time we got back the sun was in a perfect position for this colorful shot:

San Diego

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San Diego for Whale Watching — Part 1

Ruby Princess in San Diego

Last week you saw our Ensenada wine tour, but before we got there our ship, Ruby Princess, made port in San Diego.  Here Ursula had reserved a tour of a very different sort — whale watching aboard Hornblower Cruises’ ship Adventure Hornblower.  The picture above was taken at the boarding point for the tour, so you can see how short a walk it is from where Ruby Princess docked.

Adventure Hornblower approaches port

Adventure Hornblower is the second largest of Hornblower Cruises’ seven-vessel San Diego fleet.  She can accommodate 550 passengers, including 300 on the upper sun deck.

Ruby Princess

This particular tour took place this past January. That put us into gray whale season, which runs from mid-December into April. The much larger blue whale reside here from mid-June through September. Unfortunately for us this day, while we did spot some gray whales they were in a lazy, non-breaching mood.  The ones we spotted were taking it easy and leisurely just breaking the surface of the waters.

Adventure Hornblower

But our time was not wasted.  I managed to snag some really fun landscapes, the best of which you’ll of course see on this coming Fun Photo Friday.  Here is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, located in the Cabrillo National Monument:

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

Well, if there’s an Old Point Loma Lighthouse, then it stands to reason that there must be a New Point Loma Lighthouse, and here it is at the end of Point Loma:

New Point Loma Lighthouse

That “new” lighthouse was built in 1891. The old lighthouse, which was built only 36 years prior, was too often shrouded in fog atop it’s 400-foot/120-meter perch to be useful when most often needed.

Now for a look back to the San Diego skyline:

San Diego

Then we head out to sea, accompanied by other whale watching tour boats:

Flagship whale watching

Soon after rounding North Island Naval Air Station, passing Point Loma, and clearing San Diego Harbor we finally arrived in whale country:

Thar She Blows!

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