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Free Willy

Free Willy
Photo Information
Copyright: Pieter van der Horst (sAner) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-05-19
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Canon EF 28-135 IS USM, RAW @ ISO 100, Hama UV 72mm
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/160 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: sAner & sAndra in AlAskA
Theme(s): Whales, Orca's, Sharks and Dolphins!, Movietitles [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-06-18 7:10
Viewed: 9853
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
That day we went on a glacier and wildlife cruise and left from the beautiful little town called Seward, which is located on the Kenai Peninsula, south of Anchorage. We had seen a lot of wildlife (porpoises, puffins, whales, orcas, sealions, etc.) and the impressive Portage glacier. When the day almost came to an end and we were already close to Seward, the captain spotted a pod of orcas hunting for salmon. We were able to take some fine pictures. This specific orca was extremely wild and was chasing an enormous salmon. He catched it right in front of our noses. On the picture the orca is moving very wild and his behaviour was very aggressive. The captain said he was just showing off. ;)

The Orca (Orcinus orca), also known as the Killer Whale, is the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family. It is the second-most widely distributed mammal on Earth (after humans) and is found in all the world's oceans. It is also a versatile predator, eating fish, turtles, birds, seals, sharks and even other juvenile and small cetaceans. This puts the Orca at the pinnacle of the marine food chain. The orca also attacks whales, in particular Gray Whales.

The name "killer whale" is widely used in common English. However since the 1960s "orca" has steadily grown in popularity as the common name to identify the species and is now more popular than the traditional name amongst those in the field.

There are several reasons for the change. First, having the word whale in the name of a species that is really a dolphin causes confusion. Second, the species is called orca in most other European languages and, as there has been a steady increase in the amount of international research on the species, there has been a convergence in naming.

Furthermore, the killer in "killer whale" is often wrongly assumed to imply that the creature is a killer of humans, an attitude amplified by an unfortunate movie seeking to capitalize from the buzz from Jaws (1975). Orca: The Killer Whale (1977) starred Richard Harris and Bo Derek. It is thought this long standing and often fearful reputation can be put to rest by using the more neutral name of orca.

A pod of Orcas is capable of taking down a large whale. It is commonly thought that 18th-century Spanish sailors dubbed these creatures asesina-ballenas, or "whale killer" for this reason. However, this title was improperly translated into English as "killer whale". The term became so prevalent that Spanish speakers commonly used its retranslation of ballena asesina.

All information from: Wikipedia.org
Exif data-

Shutter Speed: 1/160
F-stop: f/7.1
Focal length: 60mm
ISO Speed: 100
White Balance Mode: Daylight
Exposure Compensation: 0
AF Mode: AI Focus AF
Weather Condition: Sunny
Time: 16:30:28
Tripod: no
Flash: no
Filters: B&W UV Filter
Image Quality: RAW
PP software: PS CS2

PDP, aido, ellis49, extramundi, liquidsunshine, coasties, thistle, red45, manyee, Signal-Womb, marhowie, Janice, scottevers7, pablominto, Silke, nakkie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To flagman: Didn't pp that picture yet!sAner 1 06-19 16:00
To JoeyNO: Yes, it was a wild orcasAner 1 06-18 14:34
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2006-06-18 7:16]

Hi Pieter, good shot. Shame you couldn't get one eating seals ;-)

It's a classic view of a killer whale /orca/dolphin, good image, well done.

  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2006-06-18 7:30]

Hi Pieter,
Excellent, it sounds like you had a great time on that trip. A good clear shot, beautiful clear blue water (looks cold!). Great capture!

Hi Pieter,
it's a very good shot wiht good details and nice compostion.
I like the colours, specially the water.
Very well done, my friend.

I dont think this is Willy ;) This is a wild orca!?. Ive always wanted to see orcas :)

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-06-18 8:23]

Hello Pieter,
Excellent capture.Colors,POV,sharpness,framing,clear details and composition are wonderful.

Hi Pieter,
this is beautiful, must be very impressive to see such a wonderful whale.
Thanks for this clear and pretty shot, I like it very much, bye
Sabine - wishnugaruda

You are lucky to go to places like that, I am very glad you come back with images like this to share with us.
Very nice tones and composition showing this killer!
Hope you are well, Pieter. Nice to meet you again :)

Nicely captured Pieter,
You must have been close to this one.
Good detail, colours and sharpness. exposure and lighting are good. Good POV and composition.

Thanks for posting, enjoy the rest of the weekend.

I made it to Whipsnade today. The Lion cubs made an appearance which was really good to see. I got quite a few photos. The first one is already posted. Thanks for telling me about them.

Hi Pieter

Excellent quality image. No nits here. :-)

Excellent capture of this orca Pieter, nicely exposed with great colors. Would you trust the textbooks out there enough to jump in with one of those in the wild? I was recently up at the San juan Islands photographing them in a 22ft boat and I have to say it's still a very eerie feeling knowing they are about the same size of the boat plus with all those teeth, makes you stand not to close to the edge. :)

Amazing capture, I can't imagine watching the orca get that big salmon! Beautiful water, well done.

I'm adding this to your theme of Movie titles!


Hello Pieter,
Very nice shot! It's great that it have been taken in wild. You've captured ity in nice moment. The picture has very good details and framing. The colour of water looks interesting. Is it natural?
WELL DONE on the picture!

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2006-06-19 2:15]

Hi Pieter!
Amazing animal! Looks like modern submarine crossed with cow :-) Sorry, just joking! You're lucky to see Alaska and creatures like this one. Excellent post!

You saw the orca catch a fish?! Did you get it on camera? If so, where is the photo?!

This one's excellent, though. Really sharp and I love the colour of the water. Pretty typical for Alaska, I would guess.


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-06-20 3:25]

Hello Pieter,
What an amazing shot of that beautiful Orca.
I would love to see one in the wild,
and I would die to take a picture like that.
A fantastic POV, with lots of action evident by the ripples around the whale. Sharp details, great exposure, and I love the color of the ocean.
TFS. : )

Hello Pieter, good composition and timing on this shot. I like the droplets that are hitting the water, just a little detail I notice there. Well done.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-06-23 20:45]

Great catch Pieter, and of one in the wild too. Good sharpness and colours. I would prefer to see more of the 'wake' from the orca on the right, but the space in the front is good. Did you get a shot of it with the salmon? I'd like to see that one...

Hi Pieter,
Great shot..I agree with Paul on the eating thing :)
Really like the turquoise colored water I see :)
Well done mf.

  • Great 
  • osse Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 955 W: 0 N: 89] (7805)
  • [2006-06-24 16:28]

Hi Pietr
Great sharp shot. Good colours, sharpnes, details and POV.
Also good note.
Well done Pieter


Hi Pieter,
An excellent shot on this Orca! Very sharp detail, and the water color up there is always so beautiful. This looks great!!

Hi Pieter,
Very nice shot! Great composed with good details.
Thanks for sharing!

Hi Pieter,
Very well captured, and I really appreciate the composition! Two elements only but that's all we need here...
Great clarity in colours and fine details!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)
  • [2006-08-08 6:35]

This is simply outstanding! The colours, textures, excellent DOF and superb composition are all highly praiseworthy.

  • Great 
  • Scott Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 225 W: 0 N: 356] (1752)
  • [2006-09-23 9:34]


I have been out in Resurrection Bay 100's of times and have never seen an Orca there. You did very well. Portage was visible from the parking lot 25 years ago. Now I see that a boat is necessary to take you up the lake to the Glacier.

Well seen, glad you liked your trip, after viewing you travel log, it's seems I need another.


  • Great 
  • james (74)
  • [2006-11-24 9:10]

cool shot. nicely caught. great composition

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