Killer Whales - Bremer Canyon WA

Killer Whales - Bremer Canyon WA

A life highlight - witnessing 6 tonnes of orca catapulting itself through the air just metres away

A life highlight - witnessing 6 tonnes of orca catapulting itself through the air just metres away

Last year I prepared photos for a blog post after my week out at the Bremer Canyon photographing the orcas (also known as killer whales - the name was likely lost in translation as they’re actually the largest species of dolphin and are killers of whales) with the passionate, professional crew from Naturaliste Charters. I struggled to find the words to justify the awe I felt from the experience and consequently the post is still sitting unshared in my website’s Drafts folder. (I’ll add a few images from last year to this post.)

Anyway, I’ve just got home after spending another exhilarating few days photographing these apex predators, again with Naturaliste Charters. Fortunately the marine biologists who are on board the boat every day do wonderful blog posts each evening detailing the day’s experiences. So I’ll share my photos here, and encourage you to jump over to their blog (link here) to read all about what is going on off our south coast. It is truly awe-inspiring.

A huge thank you to Naturaliste Charters and to all the crew, last year and this year, for sharing their passion and their knowledge. Not only were the days out on the boat so special, I absolutely loved sitting around the dining table in the crew house each night working on that day’s photos, listening to the conversations around the events of the day, and getting sneak peeks at the amazing underwater Go-Pro footage other crew members were capturing as I photographed what was going on above the surface.

It’s definitely a bucket list item – not only do you get to see killer whales up close and personal as these inquisitive creatures often hang around next to the boat, but there’s so much else going on out there. Last week, I also photographed numerous pods of pilot whales (Angry Sausages as skipper Dundee calls them!) creating “Commotion on the Ocean”, I saw a mako shark buzzing a sunfish, wandering albatross with their 3.5m wingspan as they passed overhead, dolphins accompanying our boat back to shore at the end of the day, sea lions sunbathing, great swirls of seabirds signalling the presence of orcas, several surges, a predation, plus the all-time life highlight of witnessing orcas breaching again and again just metres from the boat. That was the moment the excitement levels on the boat amongst passengers and crew alike shot off the scale!

Orcas can be individually identified by the eye and saddle patches, and dorsal fins

Orcas can be individually identified by the eye and saddle patches, and dorsal fins

A pod of long finned pilot whales (the second largest species of dolphin). How cute is the calf!

A pod of long finned pilot whales (the second largest species of dolphin). How cute is the calf!

The Naturaliste Charters vessel, Alison Maree, was specially built for conditions on the Southern Ocean

The Naturaliste Charters vessel, Alison Maree, was specially built for conditions on the Southern Ocean

Orca delighting the passengers at the bow of the Naturaliste Charters vessel

Orca delighting the passengers at the bow of the Naturaliste Charters vessel

When an orca appears midair in front of you all you can do is shoot from the hip and hope for the best!

When an orca appears midair in front of you all you can do is shoot from the hip and hope for the best!

Naturaliste Charters’ skipper, Dundee - his smile says it all

Naturaliste Charters’ skipper, Dundee - his smile says it all

Pia, one very happy marine biologist

Pia, one very happy marine biologist

Bird swirls are usually an indicator of the presence of orcas and a predation

Bird swirls are usually an indicator of the presence of orcas and a predation



Lifestyle family portrait session

Lifestyle family portrait session

Itch - ABC TV stills photography

Itch - ABC TV stills photography