Monday, September 9, 2013

Common Dolphin - Delphinus spp.

Short-beaked Common Dolphin

One of the hardest screeches to photograph are the dolphins.  You may ask why?  As opposed to humpback whales that will come up to the surface, blow and swim for a little while, dolphins will swim beneath the surface come up to the surface in dive right away on continue up on the surface, and they will change direction very quickly.  The method I find to work to capture dolphin pictures is to pre-focused on where I think they are coming up and fire away.  In the state of digital, it is not a problem to delete tens or hundreds of pictures that missed capturing a photograph of a dolphin.  In the old days of film, every picture cost $.60 and you could go through a roll of 36 exposures very fast.  Thomas Jefferson, a noted marine mammal biologist, advise me that on taking pictures of Marine Mammals, the best settings to use was shutter priority with the speed set to 1/1/250 of a second and to use auto ISO.  On the water, I also use a polarizing filter on my lens to cut down on glare.

Common Dolphins up to the early-mid-1990s, all were one species.  Now they are broken down into two separate species: Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis and the Long-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus capensis.
Long-beaked Common Dolphin Family

Long-beaked Common Dolphin under water

Long-beak Common Dolphin

When most people think of dolphins, it is not the common dolphin, it is the bottlenosed dolphin which people are used to seeing in marine parks.
Bottlenosed Dolphin

Dolphins are cetaceans and are members of the toothed whales.  They are found in all tropical and warm-temperate waters.  Along the East Coast of the United States.  The short-beaked common dolphin is the variety that is found in on the West Coast of the United State's and Mexico, both varieties are found.

Common Dolphins can be found in up to large birds of hundreds or thousands of animals.  They are extremely active, fast-moving and can engage in spectacular area behavior.  They will ride though Stern waves of boats and even large whales.  Their prey consists of squid, and small schooling fish.

On my trip, Sunday off of Chatham, we we came across a school of short-beaked dolphins.  This was the best photograph that I obtained on that trip, I wish I could've photograph the dolphin more from the side, but due to its position in my position on the boat, I have to be satisfied with this photograph.  The photographs above, were taken along the Baja Peninsula of Mexico aboard the Searcher and because of the sides of the bird made it easier to obtain better portrait pictures

Short-beaked Common Dolphin