Sunset Cannon Battle

The Ocean Institute of Dana Point holds the Toshiba Tall Ships Festival every September. As part of the festival the tall ships conduct a cannon battle at sunset. In previous years I’ve tried to photograph the battle from behind the Ocean Institute. The problem I had was that the ships need to be too far away in order to avoid the rocks. This year I decided to buy a ticket on an escort ship so I could be much closer to the action.

The ships look so good at sunset, it was hard to narrow down the best shots. I’ve selected a few here and the rest I’ve added to my SmugMug gallery.

Exy Johnson

Exy Johnson – Low light towards sunset highlights the color on the sails

Cannon Battle between the Exy Johnson and the Irving Johnson

Cannon Battle between the Exy Johnson and the Irving Johnson

Irving Johnson firing on the unarmed Escort ship Sea Explorer

Irving Johnson firing on the unarmed Escort ship Sea Explorer

American Pride Sails

American Pride Sails

The Spirit of Dana Point

The Spirit of Dana Point

On the Horizon

On the Horizon

American Pride

American Pride, the only ship with colored sails and I convert to black and white to highlight the effect of the sun

Smoke Rings

Smoke Ring – I didn’t even see it at the time

Blue Whale Watching

I went on a Blue Whale Watching cruise from the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. We found a blue whale not far off the coast. The problem was that there were people on jet ski’s and other small boats that were too noisy and were getting too close.

This whale would come up to the surface, blow, glide on the surface, dive and then come up a few minutes later in a different spot. Some times you could predict where it would come up and sometimes you get surprised. Polarized sunglasses helped on occasion as I could see the whale when it was still under the water if it was close enough.

Blue Whales are very big, apparently it’s tongue is heavier than an elephant and it’s heart is the size of a small car. I never felt like we ever saw the whole whale. It was either the blow whole, it’s back or it’s tail.

I used my 70-200mm and most of the photos were taken at 200mm. The slowest shutter speed I used was 1/2000 sec and my aperture was at f6.3.

Blue Whale Blow

Blue Whale Blow

The blue whale didn't lift it's fluke much and when it did it wasn't very straight

The blue whale didn’t lift it’s fluke much and when it did it wasn’t very straight

This whale like to roll as it dived which made it's fluke look like a shark fin

This whale liked to roll as it dived which made it’s fluke look like a shark fin

Whales eat krill so their poop is orange

Whales eat krill so their poop is orange

Tail action

Tail action. Reminds me of the tail of the C-5A 🙂

The boat crew said they hadn't see this behavior before. All that water is from the whale

The boat crew said they hadn’t see this behavior before. All that bubbling water is from the whale blowing

I took a short sequence of photos and turned it into a very short video from the whale coming up for air to it’s dive.