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10-03-2013, 05:21 PM   #1
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Whale watching : Tips and suggestion

Hi all,

I have booked for whale watching this weekend and hence would require some advise regarding the same. I own a Pentax K30 with 18-135mm WR lens and I hope that would be suffice. Being a newbie to DLSR, it would really help if I could get some tips. Thanks.....

10-03-2013, 05:32 PM   #2
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We had a fairly lengthy discussion here - see: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/231077-another-sou...-question.html
Some more information here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-technical-troubleshooting/177142-whale-watching.html
10-03-2013, 05:34 PM   #3
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1.) Get some anti nausea medication

2.) Wear a jacket

3.) Get the highest vantage point on the boat that lets you see the most ocean.

4.) Pray for whales

Oh, you meant camera tips?

4.) Search with camera zoomed out and practice quickly zooming in to the target, the critters will not appear in the same spot unless you are really lucky

5.) Use a fast shutter speed, the boat and the whales will both be moving

6.) Use center spot AF-C, with continuous shutter. (The camera will easily be fooled by the surrounding waves and may not focus on the whale all the time.)

7.) Optionally use AF-S but keep hitting the shutter or AF button to let the camera re acquire the target.

8.) Unless you have to shoot RAW, use high quality JPEG to allow more shots to be captured faster

Oh, and pray for whales. Did I say that already?
10-03-2013, 05:39 PM   #4
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Leave the harpoon at home. Some of these people have NO sense of humor.

10-03-2013, 07:00 PM   #5
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Ahaaa - Whale Watching - one of the reasons why I picked up a dSLR and came to Pentax.....

The family and I took an Alaskan Inside Passage cruise and followed up with a whale watching trip on our last day up at the Kenai Fjords. I had a small canon point and shoot that I really liked - perfect size, but very sloooooooow on the shutter. Push the shutter and then wait 2 minutes with the Jeopardy theme song going through you mind and then it takes the picture. The result was that I have a 100 images of water and just one image of the whale breaching in front of the glacier.

Also, on the boat were 2 brothers who were National Geographic photographers, their wifes and their father. They had taken over one of the tables in the cabin with their camera equipment - like 6 bodies and you name a lens and they had it. The brothers were burning through 10 frames a second, the wifes were swapping bodies, batteries and lenses based on what the brothers wanted and the father was siting back and watching the whales. They easily took 5,000 frames that day, between the two of them. We saw a lot of whales too.

After that, I went shopping for a dSLR.

First - what crewl1 said - double....... So, take fully charged batteries (as all the batteries you have). There were folks who burned through their single battery and then were done for the day - left to just watching the sights - which is not really bad, when you think about it. One hand for the camera and one hand for the boat (so as to not go swimming). Hard to really focus with all the bouncing around, even with two hands. Keep the camera strap around your neck - as it can be easy to loose the grip on the camera. Depending on the type of boat and the setup, you might want to take a small towel to use as a lens rest somewhere on the boat to help steady the shots. Continuous shutter, almost as a spray and pray. Get good focus (auto focus is the key here) and start shooting early and catch the entire action if the whale breeches - trying to catch the entire sequence. It is probably going to be bright out there with lots of glare - especially off the water. Take some lens cloths and lens cleaner, since you will get salt spray on the lens. Take several large SD cards. You can burn through 500+ frames very easily. Something like the DA 55-300 autofocus would be the lens to stick with. The 135 end might be a bit short, but it is all based on the boat driver and just how close the whales want to get.

Good luck.....


Last edited by interested_observer; 10-04-2013 at 01:11 AM.
10-03-2013, 10:31 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the tips. Am getting a spare battery today. So I believe the best bet is to use AF-S with Automatic (action mode) and use burst shot to take the pictures. Also would keep the setting in Shutter priority mode rather than focus priority mode. Hope this setting will do since am newbie to use manual settings.... Also since AF-C mode will not accurately focus on whales since even the waves will be moving.
10-03-2013, 10:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jaikumarr18 Quote
Thanks everyone for the tips. Am getting a spare battery today. So I believe the best bet is to use AF-S with Automatic (action mode) and use burst shot to take the pictures. Also would keep the setting in Shutter priority mode rather than focus priority mode. Hope this setting will do since am newbie to use manual settings.... Also since AF-C mode will not accurately focus on whales since even the waves will be moving.
As the boat is leaving port practice on objects that you see going out.
This will let you know what to expect from the camera when you see the whales and let you get comfortable shooting bursts from the moving boat
(You can delete your test shots all at once or a folder at a time to make space for the whale shots.)

Good luck, and show us some results when you get back
10-03-2013, 11:05 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
As the boat is leaving port practice on objects that you see going out.
This will let you know what to expect from the camera when you see the whales and let you get comfortable shooting bursts from the moving boat
(You can delete your test shots all at once or a folder at a time to make space for the whale shots.)

Good luck, and show us some results when you get back
Thank you. Unfortunately Pentax battery DLI109 is out of stock in all the stores in Sydney. I need to order and it would take a week or so it seems Most of the store stopped selling Pentax cameras and hence they do not stock their accessories it seems... Weird though...I think I have to go without spare battery for now and hence need to save it for the whale moments

10-03-2013, 11:15 PM   #9
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Bummer.
Next chance you get you should pick up an AA adapter too for emergencies. AA Battery Holder Adapter Converter Case FOR Pentax K R KR SLR Camera AS D BH109 | eBay
10-04-2013, 12:25 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Bummer.
Next chance you get you should pick up an AA adapter too for emergencies. AA Battery Holder Adapter Converter Case FOR Pentax K R KR SLR Camera AS D BH109 | eBay
Pentax AA adapter costs around 90 AU$. Not sure why that is expensive though. But I would rather go for the genuine one since if anything happens to the camera, they dont blame the third party adapter for warranty claims. I have a 5 year extended warranty with the retailer for camera and lens. Hence just wanted to be careful.
10-04-2013, 01:10 AM   #11
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I think that you should be able to get about 600 shots off a full battery - I do not know exactly since I don't have a 30.

10-04-2013, 01:12 AM   #12
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I use the adapter with my K30 all the time now, with Sony Eneloops. I reserve the original battery as a spare. Being able to go into a 7-11 in an emergency is a plus.
10-04-2013, 06:10 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
I use the adapter with my K30 all the time now, with Sony Eneloops. I reserve the original battery as a spare. Being able to go into a 7-11 in an emergency is a plus.
yeah.....Am confused if I need to order the spare battery or go with adapter with Eneloops. I can see lot of Sanyo Eneloops sold around but not much Sony. How much shots do you get with Sony Eneloops?
10-04-2013, 06:15 AM   #14
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Less than a conventional chemistry cell, but their special trick is retaining charge while not being used.
10-04-2013, 06:28 AM   #15
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I have both the Pentax and a aftermarket adapter. Both work great and I would trust the aftermarket adapter. I got mine for $6.00 US vs $34 for the Pentax. Eneloops, I get more shots with the Eneloops than with the DLI109 batteries, don't know exactly how many more. The adapter has saved me once with a dead battery. You can also keep a spare set of AA lithium batteries, I got about 1700 shots on a set

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