Testimonial on recent Tonga adventure from Lauren Greider in San Deigo

When leading groups dedicated to photography, my goal is to share knowledge and enable participants to make the photographs they were envisioning.  This is not always easy as weather and cooperative whales are not within my control.  For that matter, neither are people.

playful baby whale

On the adventure Lauren and Brad were on we had six out of ten days with sustained winds of 25+ knots and choppy seas with 5 foot waves. For the most part, this did not stop us from whale watching. On the few occasions the winds surged to more than 35 knots elected to do seminars on photography in the main salon.   In all we enjoyed a presentation by Mark Snyder on light, Mark Strickland on marine life behavior, and talked about the rules of composition, rules of thirds, & image design.

On the days we had good weather we also had cooperative whales.  Funny how that worked out.  Everyone had taken the rough weather in stride and maintained a great attitude.  That attitude started to shift a bit because one of the guests was continually swimming away from the group and aggressively toward the whales.  The person that did wrong was spoken to by the cruise director and asked to stay with the group.  Well the man didn’t listen and drop after drop he did the same thing. After a while Lauren, Brad, and pretty much the other 15 people on the ship were annoyed.  After one particular swim when the man swam in front of Lauren and I, and ended the interaction Lauren was venting.  Thats when I leaned in and gave her a smile and said, Its not always about the shot.  Sometimes its about the experience. Then with a straight face I said.  Thats what I say when I am lying.

At that moment she smiled and I knew we would be friends for a long time.  I hope Lauren and Brad join me again in Tonga in 2012 or 2013 as I have been asked to host a few special adventures on a new live-aboard in Tonga.  The boat is a 65 foot sailing catamaran that will take 6-8 guests on 8-10 day adventures in remote regions of  Tonga where there lots of whales and few if any other boats.

Laurens recent testimonial is in blue.  Read it below.

family of whales


We loved meeting you aboard the Nai’a in Tonga this year. You and Mark made the trip. Your advice on behavior in the water to enhance our encounters was greatly appreciated. Your photography class onboard was wonderful. Your photo tips and most importantly the loan of your camera to my husband that flooded his was just incredibly generous. To top everything off, you were funny and just a delight to be on a boat with. I will carry the memory of your quote from one of the days when I was a bit miffed at a photo op ruined by a fellow snorkeler but trying to be grateful for the opportunity to be in the water with the magnificent whales. You said, “It’s not all about the shot. That’s what I say when I’m lying!” Thank you for leading a great trip. We hope to travel with you again soon.

Lauren Greider – San Diego

For info on future whale adventures check out this site.

About Doug Hoffman

Portrait and underwater fine art photographer.
This entry was posted in Gallery, Island scenic, marine, Travel, Uncategorized, whales and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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