Whale Watching Photography

The weather becomes notably colder, Christmas trees are put up, and “snowbirds,” or cold-weather vacationers, start coming to Hawaii to dodge the icy winters of other locations. Travelers aren’t the only ones that go to Hawaii in the cold; each year, hundreds of humpback whales migrate to warmer, shallow waters to mate and raise their youngsters.  Anyone visiting Hawaii between the middle of December and the middle of April can enjoy some breathtaking whale watching photography of Hawaii thanks to their peaceful stay.

Whale-watching photography in Hawaii may be a challenging but ultimately rewarding activity. Trying to capture these amazing creatures on camera may give an incredible insight into their lives and communities.

Whale-watching photography is a fantastic, instructive, unique, and simple pastime in which everybody can participate. You can view the whales from the coast or even a hotel terrace if you’re in the correct position.

The west coast of Maui is the finest location to view humpback whales since the region between Maui, Lanai, and Molokai, which resembles a shelf, has been officially declared as a Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Shelter.

The water is shallower and more enclosed by the nearby islands, which is why whales like the location since it makes it simpler for calves to swim in and keeps them safe from potentially dangerous, more giant predators.

Tips for capturing Some excellent photos of Whales:

The following are some tips you should remember when going for whale-watching photography in Hawaii:


Avoid using a point-and-shoot or cellphone camera. You can attempt, but capturing a nice shot will be challenging.

You need an excellent camera to get the ideal whale image. There is no promise you will see whales. Second, it may be challenging to guess where they will appear. You’ll need servo-focus, quick focusing, and long lenses.

Photographing whales is more closely related to sports photography than to wildlife photography. Make sure the buffer on your camera is big. Burst mode simplifies shooting, and you might not want the buffer to fill up too quickly.


Because whale behavior is so unpredictable, having a variety of lenses is preferable. We recommend having at least a 24-70mm and a 100-400mm lens or something similar.

The captain may take you near the whales, mainly if you are on a trip in a small sailboat. Avoid being forced to use a long telephoto lens.

Camera Settings:

Set the shutter speed at 1/400 or faster at all times. You may either utilize shutter speed mode or aperture priority mode to do it.

You must monitor the shutter speed carefully if you select aperture priority mode. To maintain a suitable shutter speed, use ISO 400 or even 800. Maintain an aperture of around f/16.

Because you’ll have to respond instantly, keeping the focal length wide is ideal. Use servo-focus as well to ensure that you keep your focus. You will be taking pictures of a moving subject.

Extra Gears:

You must bring several other items, including a decent camera and the proper lenses.  Because bursting mode will cause your battery to deplete more quickly, get an extra battery. Also, a spare memory card is an excellent idea, especially if you shoot in RAW.

Leave the tripod and ND filters at home. They are pointless since you’re going to shoot with a fast shutter speed.

A monopod could be helpful if you’re using a hefty lens and a polarizing filter on a bright day with a lot of reflection on the water. When traveling in a smaller boat, remember to have a rain cover.


The most crucial advice is to remain calm and attentive. It takes work to capture a whale in a nice photo. It could be more difficult for a beginner.

But try not to become frustrated. Keep your camera nearby, and always listen to the captain.

It takes experience to get images of whales. However, you’ll get that incredible photo of a tail or water spray as they come up for air.

Reasons You should go for Whale-Watching Photography in Hawaii:

The following are the reasons that you must plan your next trip to Hawaii for whale watching experience:

Get to Know Animals

Interacting with a sea creature in its native environment is amazing. You have a perfect chance of spotting a whale, dolphin, sea lion, or one of the roughly 70 species of animals in the Hawaiian region whether you go on a whale-watching photography cruise in the fall, winter, spring, or summer.

Be In Touch With Nature

Another excellent reason to participate in whale watching photography in Hawaii is the chance to get in touch with nature and the spectacular marine creatures out at sea. Being out on the ocean floor, with the fresh air and tranquility that come with it, has a number of health advantages in addition to allowing one to interact with the animals.

According to scientific research, exposure to outdoors has been linked to enhanced mental clarity, reduced A.D.D. symptoms, and quicker recovery. Improving immunological function can reduce the incidence of cancer, headaches, lung diseases, and cardiovascular disease, among other physical advantages.

Learning Possibility

A scientific thrill and educational opportunity are provided by attentive whale watching. Exciting information about whales and their behaviors may be found on whale-watching cruises. Additionally, you learn about their inclinations and interactions with one another in their natural environment. You’ll discover more about the natural ecology and contribute to environmental harmony along the journey.

Benefits for Whales and the ecosystem from the whale-watching visits:

Whales and other marine animals can surely benefit from responsible whale watching. Visitors are frequently instructed on the value of appreciating and safeguarding these animals on whale-watching expeditions. The overall experience can encourage a love of the water and motivate people to take steps to assist marine preservation. Ecological whale watching is the most cost-effective substitute for commercial whaling, and making a move is becoming more straightforward. It expands local employment, strengthens the economy, and encourages tourism to exciting places.

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