Although our most commonly used way of telling dolphin individuals apart is by looking at their dorsal fins, we can also tell them apart by their faces! Like us, individual dolphins have unique faces. Look at the photos above. Each of those photos are different dolphins (read the names below each picture to know the name). Can you pick out any differences in the individual dolphins’ faces?
If you’re having trouble seeing the differences, then look at the pictures of Mangrove and Adzin. Both of these dolphins have a dull white chest with a light gray chin, and a yellowish tan-tipped rostrum. But now look closer. The yellowish tan color at the tip of Adzin’s rostrum is far more prominent than that on Mangrove. Adzin also has a dark gray patch around his eye, and a set of dark gray stripes on his melon, but Mangrove does not have a patch around his eye, and he only has a single, very unnoticeable, lighter gray blur on his melon. Now take Adzin or Mangrove’s face, and compare it to the other dolphins’ faces that are in this post.
Some dolphins have distinct facial features, like Snubfin’s rostrum, which is bubble gum pink around the tip! Snubfin also has a chest that is only slightly lighter than the rest of his/her body and no melon stripes.
The next time you’re out in the field watching dolphins, see if you can recognize any noticeable features on their faces.
Thanks for reading!
I have learned to easily recognize Shurui’s very curved dorsal fin that has a pointed tip. In this photo, Jesse, Swordfin, and Shurui were swimming right alongside me as I paddled my paddleboard, but when the photograph was taken, Jesse and Swordfin were underwater.
The thing that perfectly completes Inkfish Bay sunsets is by far the shapes of dolphins surfacing and leaping through the orange-glowing water as it reflects the sunset’s beautiful array of colors. Sunset is also when dolphins tend to be most active, likely because they have been hunting all day to catch their fill of prey, but now that it is later in the day, they’ve managed to catch their fish for the day, and now have time to play and socialize with each other.
Because dolphins are often very energetic at sunset, isn’t that the time you would want to go photograph them? But, the darkening environment as the sun sets lower and lower can pose a problem for capturing the fast movements of dolphins having fun.
If you are planning to go for a sunset dolphin watching trip, and you want to take photos, I would definitely recommend using a fast shutter speed. Although a slower shutter speed will let in more light, the shutter speed doesn’t have to be very low before a jumping dolphin turns into an ugly blur on your camera’s LCD. Even if your photos turn out dark, you have nothing to fear. There are many free photo editing programs that allow you to brighten up photos.
Because my camera was set to a slightly slower shutter speed to let in more light, this photo came out blurry (but I still like it because it was such an exciting moment to capture)
Maybe you have a simple point-and-shoot camera that auto adjusts its shutter speed, and you can not control what shutter speed it sets itself to. In this case, I would recommend taking a video. If your camera records video at sixty frames per second, I would truly recommend starting out with that, as it can easily be set into spectacular slow-motion clips of active dolphins. Once it gets darker, though, you may want to switch to thirty frames per second video, as this tends to let in more light (but the dolphins are usually not blurred). Just remember to bring extra batteries for your camera, as running video generally takes up more battery power than taking photos.
If you are going to be on a boat photographing dolphins at sunset, there is something that you might want to think about. If you would like to capture the stunning photograph of a dolphin silhouetted against the setting sun, then position your boat so that the sun is behind the dolphins. If you would prefer to capture photos of the dolphins’ natural markings, position you boat to where the sun is shining on and lighting up the dolphins.
If you are wanting to try photographing/videoing dolphins at night, then you will want to purchase a night vision camera, or if you have a camera with a changeable lens, there are night vision camera lenses available for some models. See if one is available for your model. There are some inexpensive night vision camcorders available to buy online.
Thanks for reading, and I hope that this post has helped you to improve your sunset dolphin photos!