Bubble-Net Feeding Whales with Lione Clare and Neil McDermott (Day Trips)

Imagine the compelling images you will create with the alp-like mountains of the Tongass National Forest or the snow-capped dormant Volcano Mt Edgecumbe in the background as a group of these 40-ton leviathans explode out of the water with mouths agape. Fill your frame with herring by the ton attempting to escape from not only the whale’s mouths but the hundreds of Bald Eagles, Stellar Sea Lions, Harbor Porpoise, Harbor Seals and Gulls as well. We scheduled these tours to coincide with the spring migration of the humpback whales as they return to SE Alaska from their fasting round trip to the calving and mating waters of Hawaii.

On this 7 hour expedition you capture this pristine marine ecosystem burst to life as Humpbacks and other marine mammals come here to gorge on the calorie rich bounty of the herring spawn, locally called Sac Roe. There were 52 whales concentrated in a 2 square mile area here in Sitka last year. It’s no wonder the BBC filmed documentary footage of this spectacle. We limit our tours to just 4 guests so our Sitka native Photography Leader, Lione Clare can give individual attention and mentoring and there is no jockeying for position. While aboard you will also eavesdrop on the whale’s communication on our research grade hydrophone.
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Hawaii Humpback Whales with Tom Mace

When people think of Hawaii; they think of summer vacation, beaches, and relaxation.  What many people overlook are the warm winters, lush tropical landscapes, and spectacular wildlife Maui has to offer. February is one of the best times to visit.  Over 10,000 Humpback whales return to give birth, mate and nurse their young.  Hawaii is the only state in the US where birthing and mating occurs. Why do whales choose Hawaii? Some of the same reasons we do; warm clear water, shallow depths, and lack of predators.  Maui is the premier photography location as the depths in the Maui channel do not exceed 200 ft.  In February, we witnessed over 100 breaches from our hotel Lanai.  You learn quickly there is a big difference between seeing and “experiencing” these majestic mammals when you are on a boat, within 100 yards of a breach, camera in hand.

We round out this itinerary with other incredible photography opportunities. We experience a spiritual Haleakala sunrise, travel and photograph along the historic 64 mi. Hana Highway, and spend time in a unique lava field landscape. Our objectives are to give photographers a chance to scratch items off their bucket list while we work with you to improve your nature photography skills.  Your hosts for this trip have been fortunate enough to visit Maui 5 times and understand the island culture, best locations to stay, and where to put photographers in position to capture all the beauty and mystery this island has to offer.
We leverage our partners on Maui to keep costs down. When you consider what is included; high end resort on the beach with ocean views, experienced guides, photography expertise, meals, excursions, all ground transportation, even a Luau. There are not many companies who can bundle this same trip at these prices.

Included in this Trip:
-4 Boat excursions to get up close and photograph Humpback Whales, including one sunset dinner cruise.
-1 guided trip to the summit of Haleakala Crater to photograph a sunrise, weather permitting.
-1 trip to Hana and Back, capturing Seascapes, Waterfalls, and Rainforest along the way
-1 trip to the Wailea Lava Fields
-1 Luau, VIP seating
-Multiple Sunrise and Sunset opportunities
-All Meals, minus one dinner.  We want you to experience Kaanapali or Lahaina with your partner.
-High end beachfront resort in Kaanapali steeped in Hawaiian culture and tradition
-Built in downtime for exploring, hanging out at the beach.  Also a good time to review post processing with anyone in need of assistance.

Humpback Whales in Southeast Alaska

Story and photography by Neil McDermott

Humpback Whale. © Neil McDermott

     The only place on earth you can observe Humpback whales working as a team bubble net feeding, is here in the pristine, nutrient rich waters of Southeast Alaska. This most impressive act of cooperative feeding was on display from early October to Mid-November in the Eastern Channel and up towards Silver Bay in front of the aptly named whale Park here in Sitka, Alaska.

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