Matt Thornton was guiding a fishing trip recently off British Columbia when he noticed another boat had stopped alongside a large humpback whale slapping its fins on the water. Thornton cruised over and aimed his camera, but ended up capturing an extraordinary image of a smaller humpback that shot out of the water next to his boat.
This occurred late last month and the image has since been splashed on just about every Facebook page that features marine mammals, and is even entered in a National Geographic photography contest.
But beyond a brief caption there was little information about the photo, in part because Thornton had been busy fishing long hours and difficult to reach.
But in a telephone interview Thursday he explained that he captured the image with one lucky shot, without motor drive. He added that the whale calf breached so close to the boat “that we could have touched it with our fishing rods.”
Thornton, who works for Tofino B.C. Fishing Charters, said he had witnessed plenty of whale breaches, but never anything like this. “It was literally 10 feet from the boat–so close that it splashed us,” he said.
Thornton wasn’t the only one fast on the trigger. One of the clients used an iPhone to capture the event on video, which has not been widely shared. Below is the video and pay close attention at the 30-second mark (warning: language may be offensive to some viewers):
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