As a wildlife photographer, there's always certain holy grails you're after, or ultimate goals for that perfect photograph. Some common ones for local whale photographers are "double" behaviors, where you get two whales doing the same thing at the same time, like a double spyhop; a resting line of whales, where you get lots of dorsal fins all lined up in one shot; or, that perfect breach shot.
One photo I've always dreamed of getting is an orca breaching in front of Mt. Baker. The circumstances have come close several times, where I have my camera and I'm on the boat in a place where we see the whales between us and Mt. Baker in the distance, but the breach has never happened....until now!
The last time I was on the Western Prince, when we figured out K42 was a boy, I was so excited about the rambunctious youngster that I decided to dedicate my post fully to that. But, the stars also aligned so that we saw a whale breach right in front of Mt. Baker - not once, not twice, but four times in a row! Here's one of my favorite shots from the sequence:
It's exciting to finally have the "Mt. Baker breach" photo checked off my goal list after years of hoping for everything to come together at the right time. It's an awesome image....but the mountain is a little faint from the haze that afternoon. And it would be more dramatic if shot from a closer angle. So, really, the Mt. Baker breach will stay on this photographer's wish list, because I'll still be hoping to refine it and capture an even better shot of the same behavior. But that's kind of what keeps us going back as photographers, isn't it? Always in pursuit of that perfect photo.