When photographing deep-feeding whales, look for the sea lions, which surface first. With lunge-feeding whales, keep your eye on the birds, and know where the last whales came up. They tend to stay in the same general area.
Not all whales in a feeding group do surface lunges. A breaching whale may do multiple breaches. If you see the whale dive with its fluke above the water, stay on the lookout, as it may breach again. Listen to the naturalists on your boat, as they can give pointers on what to look for and where.
While some whales approach boats close enough for good photos to be taken from a cell phone, a telephoto lens gives a photographer much more latitude to catch the action.
All these photos were taken during September 2014 with Monterey Bay Whale Watch on Old Fisherman’s Wharf, which runs daily morning and afternoon trips. Feeding humpback whales and sea lions have been plentiful in the bay for the past year, and now is a good time to see from Lovers Point or along the Carmel shoreline.