One Great Shot: Hungry, Hungry Humpback
A photographer captures the frenzy as tiny fish scramble to escape a feeding whale.
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Last September, two friends and I took a boat into the Broughton Archipelago of British Columbia, looking for killer whales, dolphins, and other wildlife. As daylight started to fade to gray, we noticed the telltale spray from a humpback whale’s exhalation on the horizon. From a safe distance, we watched the animal take impressive gulps of forage fish. They’re known to swallow as much as 900 kilograms of small fish and krill each day. With a 400mm lens and a 1.4x teleconverter, I caught the moment that the whale broke the surface as hundreds of finger-length fish (likely herring) rocketed out of the water around it to escape. It was exhilarating to watch. I have many photos of humpbacks feeding, but this was the first time I captured the plight of the prey.