The Splash of Shamu


Rich’s folks visited this weekend, and we took them to Sea World.  While I normally photograph wild animals, often inspired by my favorite cats and turtles, I’ve always had a fascination for dolphins and whales.  My dad and I went to Sea World often when I was growing up, and I used to love the shows with the leaping whales.  Now the trainers aren’t allowed in the water with Shamu, and the One Ocean show is a splash-fest!  The trainers run around in front of the giant tank, getting the whales to swim on their sides and splash the audience with their fins and tails.  No wonder the entire first level of stadium seating is labeled the “Splash Zone!”

I had fun with my 5D Mark III and 70-200mm lens.  It was the perfect focal length for a walk-around lens at the park.  I remember the last time I visited with my dad, when I had a film point-and-shoot camera and no photography experience.  When I got my prints developed, I was ecstatic to have captured a few blurry images with the dolphins in the air.  Now I had a professional camera and great lens, and I got lots of great shots of whales in mid-air.  Instead of complaining that the whales are tiny, I comment that the backgrounds are bad!  I really want to go to someplace like Alaska where I could photograph breaching whales in the wild.

I thought this leap sequence was fun.  Look at all the water thrown up as the whale crashes into the pool!

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