This year's 2016 Monterey Bay Bird Festival was held September 22-25 and there were many pelagic trips into Monterey Bay. I joined Debi Shearwater on her Shearwater Journeys trip on Sunday. The weather started to warm up with temperatures reaching into the 90s along the coast. This happens during the fall with the fog and heat taking turns controlling the weather. Just after sunrise our boat left the harbor and we cruised through both Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. I was shooting with my Nikon D7200 and a 500mm f/4 lens with some difficulty since it was so close to the boat. In the afternoon the mammals started to appear and I captured this Common Dolphin. Shooting on a boat adds another dimension and with it the difficulty on capturing your subject. I have learned that a high shutter speed is to way to go and I used 1/2000s, with an f/5.6, and that required a little higher ISO400 than what I like to shoot.
My favorite time is early morning because of the warm glow the sun makes. I captured this Pelagic Cormorant and Rhinoceros Auklet before 8am and an added bonus is the colored light reflections.
Always a treat is when the Albatross fly in with them gliding on their over 2m (84") wingspan. This one landed right by the boats and a trick in capturing wildlife when the sun is high is to wait for them to move so the shadow casted by there bill in minimized. I find that the strong shadow is distracting so be patient.
Other seabirds are Shearwaters and Jaeger with the most common Shearwater being the Sooty with the Pink-footed next in line. This Pomarine Jaeger was chasing an Elegant Tern even though it didn't have a fish to steal.
Not so common in the Bay are the Buller's Shearwater. We had quit a few close encounters with over 10 Buller's, which is uncommon with the usual number being 1 or 2.
We also saw Humpback Whales, a few dolphin species, and California Sealions doing a Fur Species flipper wave. We also encountered a rare leucistic juvenile Common Murre that was still begging for food from its Dad. We got back around 3p, which makes for a long day. Shooting all day you really don't know what you have until you see the images on a large screen but I came back with a few good shots. Pelagic trips are a challenging photographic platform but they are very rewarding especially when the mammals show up.
Your comments are welcomed and if you have any questions about the photo or any other leave me a message.