Thursday, 24 August 2017

New Zealand scenery

Before leaving  New Zealand to live abroad and explore other parts of the world, I was lucky to fit in a bit of travelling around the South Island of New Zealand. I especially love the southwestern part, including Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Mount Aspiring National Park. I hope to return one day to explore this region much better. Kaikoura is also a very special place, and it is here that I have witnessed the most impressive sunrises that light up the whole sky.

Doubtful Sound on a perfect day (the calmest they had recorded in four years)

Lake Wakatipu, with Mount Aspiring National Park in the background

Mount Aspiring National Park

Kaikoura Peninsula 

One of my favourite things about Kaikoura is the impressive sunrises

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Some of the marine life in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Kaikoura is a  great place to see male sperm whales that seek out the deep waters of the Kaikoura canyon to feed. It was these sperm whales that captivated me and led me to work in this area for a few years. However, there is a lot more than just sperm whales to see in this region. During one year I was incredibly lucky to see a rare and endangered southern right whale. I also encountered humpback whales that migrate through the region in the winter, one blue whale, plenty of dusky dolphins, some rare Hector's dolphins and even orcas on a few occasions. Kaikoura is also one of the best places in the world to see oceanic birds, such as albatross and petrels, off the mainland. In 2010 I left this beautiful area to see more of the world and explore the marine life that other places also have to offer. However, Kaikoura will always have a special place in my heart. 

Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis)

Juvenile humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) upside down lobtailing

Hector's dolphin (Cephalorynchus hectori)

A big male New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) drying in the sun 

A sperm whale diving close to one of the Whale Watch Kaikoura boats

Little pied cormorant (Microcarbo melanol)

The Kaikoura peninsula

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Winter whales in Kaikoura

Winter is a great time to see whales in Kaikoura. Not only can you see the resident sperm whales, but humpback whales also pass through the area during their north bound migration to their warm water breeding grounds. During the winter of 2007 I was thrilled to encounter humpback whales for the first time in my life. This time of the year is also great because the winter light is very soft and the backdrop of the seaward Kaikoura mountain range covered in snow makes for the perfect photo opportunities.

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) fluking at sunset

Sperm whales (Physeter marcocephalus) are present year-round in Kaikoura, often very close to shore

Dusky dolphins (Lagenorynchus obscurus) are also always present in Kaikoura and are a lot of fun to watch as they are very acrobatic

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Autumn on the water in Kaikoura

In 2007 I spent a lot of time out on the water in Kaikoura, collecting data and taking photographs of the male sperm whales that can be seen year not far from South Bay. Upon starting a deep feeding dive sperm whales usually lift their tail flukes out of the water, especially the males, who are bigger than the females and are known for lifting their flukes up particularly high. 

A rare close-up moment. This sperm whale approached our boat before lifting his tail high out of the water, very close to our boat!

Misty sperm whale blow on a cold autumn morning

Seeing a sperm whale fluke is always a magical moment!

Kaikoura isn't just about whales. It's also one of the best places to observe seabirds, such as this Southern Royal Albatross (Diomedea epomophora)

Buller's albatross (Thalassarche bulleri). These birds are beautifully marked, despite having a cross look.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my photography blog. My wildlife photography story begins in a small seaside town called Kaikoura in New Zealand. Throughout 2006 and 2007 I had the privelege of taking a small research boat out on the ocean to collect data for my masters project on the sperm whales that feed in the deep waters of the Kaikoura canyon. I became addicted to the marine life of Kaikoura, so after my research I stayed another 2 years to work as a whale watching guide. This is just a small selection of the first photographs I took as a budding wildlife photographer in Kaikoura. The following photos are all from 2006, my first field season and the year in which I encountered my first whales (starting with the sperm whale), orcas, dusky dolphins and a huge variety of oceanic birds. More photos from 2007 will follow shortly.

Wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans)

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) diving into the depths

Sperm whale replenishing its oxygen stores at the surface

Orca (Orcinus orca) passing close to the rocks where a New Zealand fur seal colony can be found

Two male sperm whales diving in synchrony - a rare an magical moment

Dusky dolphin (Lagenorynchus obscurus) - a very acrobatic species

Southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus)