October 3rd, 2012

south african baitball team #2

Common dolphin charging baitball, Wild Coast, South Africa

Nikon D300 + Nikkor 12-24mm, strobes Sea&Sea YS-250 x 2

this image is not cropped, slight contrast enhancement in Adobe Lightroom

Location on Google maps

Wikipedia article

Most important baitball team members - common dolphins. They are responsible for corralling sardines into tight formation, enabling efficient feeding. Pods use advanced group tactics relying on the system of sounds to synchronize attacks and echolocation to identify position of fish and each other. Unlike photographers they don't require good visibility for successful experience - they can do well even in 1m viz ! ^_^

But interestingly enough - when shooting dolphins in the baitball it is difficult to rely only on the basic visual indications - dolphins attack at high speed and when you notice them in frame you plan it it is likely too late to push camera trigger. It is good to know where pod of dolphins is before they start to charge, and rely on long low frequency scream they make while accelerating for estimation of timing of trigger release. It also helps to set strobes to the configuration which will allow multiple shots per second which will give better chance of capturing good scene.