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Whale Watching Alaska

edited May 2013 Posted in » Canon T3i Forum
I'm going on a whale watching cruise this weekend. Forecast says sunny and no clouds. I only have the stock 18-55mm lens. I'm working on getting a 55-250mm lens, but might not happen. I'd like to shoot manual for optimal pictures, but I'm unsure what to set it on. Any suggestions?


  • edited May 2013
    Hi rachelrae,
    Obviously a 55-250mm or a Tamron 18-270mm pzd will get you closer to the action. The 18-55mm would require you to get up really close.
    Use an aperture around f/5.6-11 and shutter 1/125. Leave ISO set to auto. If you are shooting on water, a polarizing filter is useful for cutting out unwanted reflections especially as you say it will be sunny.
    Is your 18-55mm the mark II with IS? I ask because you will have to take into account the motion of the boat to avoid blurry shots. You may have to up your shutter speed if you don't have IS.
    Personally, I would use aperture priority [Av] mode set to f/8, auto ISO and let the camera determine shutter speed.
    Enjoy your weekend and I hope the whales play ball and put in an appearance for you.
    Best regards, PBked
  • edited May 2013
    Yes, the 18-55mm does have IS. Are the settings you mentioned assuming I am using the 18-55mm lens?
  • edited May 2013
    Hi again,
    The shutter speed I mentioned was not taking in IS. You can reasonably shoot at about 3 stops slower with IS enabled, but as I mentioned later, you need to take into account the movement of the boat so I wouldn't go below 1/125 even with IS. Whales are not incredibly fast moving even when they are breaching. You could up your shutter speed, but then you would have to compensate with aperture.
    You have got a good piece of technology there, so I still advocate Av mode and let the camera do the rest. There are times when manual shooting is the best option, but there is a certain snobbishness attached to it. For old timers like me, manual shooting was all we had so it comes easy. I wish I had a pound for every young whippersnapper who I have heard say "Oh I always shoot in manual of course". Not that he has to, but it is oneupmanship. I expect the same chap also thinks he has complete control when driving his car or using a mobile phone; poor sap!
    Best of luck for your weekend and 'whale' be looking forward to a report back.
    Regards, PBked
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