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Dolphin City - part 2

Having discovered that Aberdeen was basically Dolphin central I wanted to know more and see more. Fortunately work came up with the answer, my recycling stall at the Torry Gala was next to the Seawatch Foundation stall.

Soon I was taking to the seas in a small boat from Stonehaven on a regular basis carrying out transect surveys, a trip exploring the possibility of surveys aboard the Ferrys to the Northern Isles was successful and led to the Norcet surveys that still take place thanks to Northlink Ferries.

To be honest dolphin photography has been, well frustrating. In the early days I used a Minolta bridge camera which was very annoying - Dolphin leaps, press the stutter, Dolphin lands……………..wait……………..wait…………..click, another photo of a wave, oh joy.

After a few years of this I progressed to a Canon 350D, a beast of a machine by standards of the day, a 30D soon followed but bad news as well. The man who owned the boat retired so opportunities to get on the water came to an end. I did however manage one trip with both dslr and the small boat from Stonehaven. I knew this would be my chance so I called Aberdeen Harbour who gave us permission to cross close to the harbour mouth to hopefully take good ID shots for research as well and photos of Dolphins with Aberdeen in the back ground.

The March morning, dawn bright and the sea was calm, the two hours of travelling up the coast proved uneventful but as we rounded Girdleness we spotted a large group of dolphins. Most were north of the harbour travelling away from us but a couple were still at the harbour mouth. Over the next painful hour I managed to get a good range of shots

 

Dolphins in front of the harbour

Dolphins in front of the fun Beech

Dolphin in front of the AECC

Why painful? I hear you ask. To get the background I wanted I had to knell down on the non-slip paint that covered the deck, basically a mix of paint and gravel, not good for the knees.

Over the next few years my photography, and photographic equipment improved greatly. However, the opportunity to get out in small boats had ended, until Clyde Cruises came along.

Over the last 2 years I have managed to get out on the water with them many times. However, the light has always been a problem. The normal Clyde Cruises Aberdeen Dolphin trip start at 10am and end at 4pm, basically the light is either flat and dull or has far too much contrast, This has resulted in some good photos but no great ones.

During 2015 I even spent 8 hours on the water with The One Show. I was very happy with one image I took on this trip showing dolphins travelling past the Girdleness Lighthouse. However I still dream of Dolphins in the golden light which has eluded my, until now

From March this year I will be running 3 trial Dolphin Photography Cruises. These will leave the harbour at 5.30am thus getting us in the ideal position to photograph dolphins in stunning morning light. Each trip will last two and a half hours and I will be on hand to help you make the most of your trip.

Due to the unique situation of Aberdeen Harbour we will be able to get to the ideal distance where dolphin behave naturally getting on with the hunt, we will simply hold station out of the way of the dolphins and the ships and hopefully take some truly stunning images.

Trips are limited to 20 photographers (this is a large boat) so you will have lots of space. Ideally you should have a dslr and a medium telephoto lens – a 70 to 200mm or a 100 to 400mm is ideal.

This year’s trips will cost £60 which is a bargain, that’s less then the price of a squirrel hide, a quarter of the price of an eagle hide and you get to photograph one of the most amazing creatures on the planet and certainly Britain’s most amazing Urban Wildlife. Costs will rise considerably in 2017.

To book please follow this link.