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The night before we observed a pod of Orcas in the calm, Antarctic waters. They were swimming calmly. The only signs that allowed us to determine that they were Orca Whales were their breaths and the characteristic dorsal fin. It was a memorable encounter to see a pod of Orcas with the Antarctic icescape behind them. A manifesting comment was said among the boat that myself and other patrons shared in. We wanted to see an Orca alongside the boat. The crew thought that it was a crazy thought as Orca encounters were not as common as one might think, and the encounter that we just shared in was a highlight of the season. It was the early hours in the Antarctic Bay. The sun was just showing twilight colors on the horizon, the waters were glass. The loudspeaker was blaring at a new Orca sighting. I was starting to stir, wondering what all is meant by this Orca sighting. Is it close? Is it a single whale? Is there time for coffee? Due to the chill factor in Antarctica, it takes a moment to get windproofed to go outside. I made a vague attempt to be able to go shoot this encounter, thinking it was like the night before. I stopped for coffee before making my wind-awakening attempt at being outside. Upon the first few sips, a mummer started to spread through the ship. There is one Orca, streamlined to the boat. Ok, now my interest is peaked. I take another sip before my motivation turns solely to the whale. I am pacing the boat to try to find the best spot to shoot this whale that literally is alongside the boat. I am asking the crew if the bow is open, and after a few minutes the captain gave the green light to be out there. The crew, myself, and others scurred to find an optimum viewing spot. Since no one knew this whale was going to be so close, I had a 100-400mm on the camera body I brought with me. This made it technically difficult, as the lense was a telephoto lens and the whale was so close to capture her. I was in traction slippers, a no no on the bow of the boat, and salopettes that were very slippery to stay in one location. With acrobatic patience and creative positioning, I was able to capture a sequence of this whale while trying to not slide off the boat. The image "Contrast" is my favorite chosen from the sequence. I have been in the water with Orca Whales, held witness to predation events both underwater and topside, and have seen Orcas topside. "Contrast" is one of my favorite images because of first-hand experience knowing how rare this encounter was and to witness an Orca from those angles. I hope this image provides an unknown side of a well known wildlife species.




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