FRAMES: Orcas And The Kindness Of StrangersJuly 19th, 2013 by Meegan Reid
Being a photojournalist means one never knows what the work day is going to consist of.
Sure, some days I have photo assignments so my day is sort of planned out. But then sometimes I have a 9am assignment to take photos of a bridge being installed in Belfair and I get back to Bremerton after that shoot and suddenly I find myself on the dock of the Keyport Marina looking slightly pathetic and forlorn (that’s my guess on how I looked at least, no one came up to me and said those exact terms) with a giant 400mm lens with whales just out of my view.
And then I have my iPhone up to your ear as reporter Ed Friedrich is snarkily telling me to “Hurry up and get on a boat!” and I reply, “But I don’t have a boat Ed!” when suddenly the nice lady on her cell phone next to me says, “Hurry Judy there’s newspaper photographer down here who needs a boat!”
Yep, that was my work day on Thursday. Because of the kindness of strangers with a dinghy, I was able to get some nice shots of the pod of transient orcas as they frolicked about Liberty Bay. I’m telling you, being as I have only been a photographer here for 4 years and I didn’t get to shoot orca photos when I lived and worked in Michigan or Utah. And the fact that one is able to capture those images in your own backyard is just awesome!
Some on Facebook questioned my distance and hoped that I wasn’t “whale paparazzi”. While there were a lot of boaters who were crowding the whales, circling about them and speeding away at top speed to follow them and creating huge wakes for the little boats and kayaks keeping their distance, Captain Judy kept us a good distance away so we were safe and the whales were not crowded (by us at least). There was one incident, when we lost sight of the pod and i looked back and saw a splash right behind our dinghy and suddenly they were surfacing right next to us. It happened so fast, and I had the giant 400mm on my camera and they were so close I couldn’t even focus on them. Needless to say our hearts were racing at that point. Those are some big and strong whales that dwarfed the small boat we were sitting in.
So I give a giant thanks to Judy Steverson who took me out on her dinghy and another thanks to her friend Ellen Strong who totally offered up Judy’s dinghy to a total stranger holding a giant camera lens on the dock. Oh and one more thanks to boater Steve Tillery who came to our aid when Judy’s dinghy wouldn’t start and we were sitting in the middle of the bay, surrounded by orcas.
Here are a few of my favorite shots from Thursday’s adventure.