June 30, 2014
- as seen by -Howard Rosenbaum
Whale researchers make great photographers. We get plenty of practice in the coastal waters of Gabon, Africa, as we document the humpbacks that come to breed during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter.
Whales can be identified by the markings on their flukes (tails). Each fluke pattern is unique to an individual, like a fingerprint. For research, we take and use these photos to monitor the whales’ migratory movements.
As we sit on the water, waiting for a whale tail, other photo-ops abound. In a rocking, rigid-hulled inflatable boat, I captured this image of a humpback as it broke the sea’s surface in a breach.
Most whales are threatened or endangered due to large-scale commercial exploitation (i.e. whaling). Coupled with coastal and industrial development in the waters where they breed, there is great concern for their future.