I turn 55 in a week but what I am really excited about is going to Tonga in about 10 days for this years annual whale swim adventure.

Cover_070817_RGBI am getting older, there is no denying it. Time is going by far to fast, and the older I get the faster time seems to go.   In my mind, it seems like yesterday when I went to Vavau’ Tonga for the first time to swim with whales.   I chartered a sailboat with three friends and a crew and went from one end of the Tonga island group to the other.  That was so many years and whale swims ago.

Eye to Eye ©DJH DJH_4080

Received Honorable Mention in 2016 Beneath the Sea Photography Competition

This year will be my 12th, season leading groups to observe and swim with Humpback whales.  I have hired my favorite boats and captains and am really looking forward to leading two groups this season for a total of 17 days.

I have had a lot of interest for the 2018 season and have committed to one adventure that  includes 12 nights accommodation and 9 days of whale swimming on a private charter with a maximum of five guests.  Space is limited so if you have wanted to be part of a small group dedicated to having mutual interactions with whales let me know.

whale swim boat

Boat for Aug 10-22, 2015 adventure

I will be upfront and let everyone know it is more important for me to find the right people than it is to fill the boat as fast as possible.  These adventures are all about having an incredible experience with wild animals and I want everyone that participates to share the same mindset.  When everyone acts as a group in the water the whales become comfortable with our presence and thats when the magic happens.

DSC_7468.01web

Doing the head down tail up routine

I am also excited to have a new Lavacore full body suit this season.   Last year I had the hooded vest and while it did keep me warm for most of the days, there were occasions after swims of an hour or more that I felt a bit cold.  I love lava core for whale swimming as it provided wartime without added buoyancy.   When swimming with whales one needs to be as neutral or slightly negative as possible.   The legs need to be underwater as not to make a splash while finning.

douglas and the baby whale

Image of me from several years ago

 

Send me an email at douglas@koholagallery.com

 

 

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Seems like just yesterday when the fleet of Voyaging Canoes gathered in Maui.

 

Tomorrow is the beginning of the Mahalo celebration for the Hawaiian Canoe Hokulea and her crew.   For three years the canoe has been at sea voyaging and now she has returned.  What a special day indeed.

Standing next to me is relief Capt Aunofo Havea from Tonga, whom I have known since 2006.  Not only is Aunofo a great Captain but she has more knowledge of whale behavior than anyone I have ever met.   This image is several years old already and now Aunofo is back in Tonga and has a new whale watch boat. I could not be happier and look forward to chartering her boat every season.

Posted in bucket list adventure, guided dive trips, guided photography tours, hawaii, Island scenic, swim with whales, tonga, Travel, underwater photography workshops, Whale swimming, whales | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clouds can be a powerful tool within the composition of an image

Having a nice foreground is good and helps tell a story but take a moment and look at the clouds in these images.  Can you see how they bring a balance to the portraits.   Movement is a big part of why clouds are so effective as compositional elements. Motion evokes emotion.

 

 

 

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Fiji is the wide angle photographers dream

The first time I went to Fiji was in 1993, when I went to teach an advanced diver and underwater photography course. That was a long time ago.  Since then, I have returned to Fiji more than a dozen times. The reason is color.

I just can’t get enough Color.

The reefs in Fiji are carpeted with stunning soft corals,  incredible hard corals, and more colorful fish than you could ever count.

If considering Fiji for your dive vacation, there are many well known areas.  All are good, after all its Fiji.  Some divers will like Beqa because of the shark dives, others prefer small island resorts of which there are many.   For land based I like VoliVoli in RakiRaki on the main island. For liveabaords I like the Siren and the Naia.

I wanted to send a shoutout to my friends at Lavacore and thank them for the full suit and long sleeve hooded vest.  I love these products as they keep me warm, don’t add a lot weight to my luggage, or add a lot of buoyancy like a traditional suit.

 

 

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One of my favorite fish to photograph is the Frog Fish

 

I photographed this fish a few years back and forgot about as I have been focusing on whales rather macro life.   That said today while organizing some hard drive space I came across this portrait and smiled.   I remember the dive and how exciting it was to see a fish with so much natural camouflage.  The harry tassels and intense green in the eyes are spectacular.   I remember the macro days with good memories and am so grateful to have so many wonderful experiences.   In recent years, I’ve become more wide angle oriented and enjoy spending time with whales, sharks, turtles, and schools of fish.

Turtle Dive

I am so fortunate to have been able to dive and snorkel around the world since 1985.   As my 55th birthday approaches I realize that I am not slowing down, and that the adventure is still going strong. There is so much more to see and experience!

Posted in bucket list adventure, dive travel, Dive with a Photo Pro, fine art photography, guided dive trips, guided photo tours, guided photography tours, guided photogrpahy adventures, guided whale swim tours, guided whale swimming adventures, humpback whales, incredible adventure, Island scenic, macro photography, Nature Photography, Nikon, once in a life time, paradise, photo safari, photo tour and workshop, photography competition, photography workshops, scenic photography, scuba diving, scuba diving travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swimming with whales as part of a small group is Epic!

this is one of the boats I charter in Tonga

I have started to assemble my gear for my upcoming trip to Tonga this year.   I am blessed to have 17 days on the water this season, with two groups of people from as far away as Switzerland and as close as Maui.  This will be my 12th season in Tonga and I am so excited and look forward to mutual interactions with whales and observing nature in the wild.

Floating within a few feet of Humback Whales

It is to late to join the adventure for 2017 but there is space for open for like minded people on a trip in 2018. The dates are Sept 8-20th.   Contact me for details.

Whale swimming is the ultimate adventure

Posted in black and white photography, dive travel, Dive with a Photo Pro, Gallery, guided photo tours, guided photography tours, guided photogrpahy adventures, guided whale swim tours, guided whale swimming adventures, humpback whales, incredible adventure, Island scenic, life, love, Nature Photography, Nikon, once in a life time, photo safari, photo tour and workshop, photography workshops, snorkeling adventure, swimming with whales, tonga | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not that long ago that I was in the water with Germany’s Fearless Diver

It was December of 2015, and I was in Dominica on a Govt permit allowing us to swim with Sperm Whales. These whales are so unique.  They dive miles beneath the sea to the darkness to feed on Giant Squid. The adults hold their breath for an hour.   An hour! Now thats impressive.   They have the largest brain in the animal kingdom.   While there are areas that have resident Sperm Whales, the majority of these whales are transient and travel the world.

Thank you Izzy for being a great host and fisheries guide. Thank you Kai Matthes for capturing this special moments for me. You are the fearless Diver from Germany! It was such a pleasure to experience wildlife of Domoinica with you!  I look forward to more adventures around the world!

all images created under Gov’t Permit

 

This is Kai Matthes the fearless Diver!

 

#Phototours #Guidedwhaleswimtrips #Underwaterphotogrpahy

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Humane Society Magazine Cover

What a honor to have the August 2017, cover of the magazine that represents such a wonderful organization.   The Humane Society does so much to help animals above and below the surface of the sea. Please support their endeavors.

The majority of people are aware of how the Humane society helps  dogs and cats but did you know they are a world wide voice in ocean conservation and education and are not afraid to tackle big issues like hunting whales and dolphins, and putting an end to shark shark fin soup.  The people that work and volunteer for this organization are in my mind ocean hero’s.

#Underwaterphotography #Makeadifference #Humanesociety #Guidedphotographytours  #Photographyworkshops #Whales

Posted in education, fine art photography, guided dive trips, guided photo tours, guided photogrpahy adventures, guided whale swim tours, humpback whales, incredible adventure, life, Nature Photography, Nikon, once in a life time, paradise, photo tour and workshop, photography workshops, snorkeling adventure, swim with whales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whale Time

Boat for Sept 2017 adventure

Quality time with mother and calf

 

My favorite time of year is coming and soon enough I will be back in Tonga and swimming with whales.   I feel so fortunate to be able to return this season.  There is something so special about being in the presence of whales.

Incredible show beneath the sea

Female whale enjoying quality time alone

Waving aloha

 

As of now there is space open for 1-2 people for Sept 10-21, 2018. Contact me for details.

 

Posted in black and white photography, bucket list adventure, Dive with a Photo Pro, guided dive trips, guided photography tours, guided whale swimming adventures, humpback whales, incredible adventure, Nature Photography, Nikon, once in a life time, photo safari, photography workshops, swim with whales, swimming with whales, underwater photography workshops, whale art, whale photography workshop, Whale swimming, whales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fiji – One of my favorite destinations

In about 10 weeks, I will be going on a charter with the Fiji Siren live-aboard  based out of VoliVoli resort in Rakiraki Fiji.  I love diving in Fiji because of the spectacular soft corals, hard corals and abundance of fish.

This will be my third time onboard  as a guest photo Pro and I look forward to sharing techniques and talking about image composition with the guests.

I also look forward to seeing the crew again and enjoying their Fiji hospitality.

 

There is a chance I might be joining what would be my fourth cruise in late August early Sept 2018.  Stay tuned for details.

Sea you underwater!

#Divewithaphotopro #Learnfromapro #Guidedphototours #Whaleswimmingtours

 

Posted in art for decor, bucket list adventure, fine art photography, guided photo tours, guided photography tours, guided photogrpahy adventures, incredible adventure, Island scenic, Nikon, once in a life time, paradise, photography workshops, scuba diving, scuba diving travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment