Sunday, October 11, 2015

Orca Whales in the San Juan Islands, Part One!

San Juan Island is one of my favorite places in the world, and I am fortunate enough to live only 90 minutes away (plus a ferry ride). I was able to spend this past weekend on the island, photographing not only our beloved and endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW's), but also some Transient Killer Whales on a seal hunt. Here in the Salish Sea, which is the name for the geographic area that stretches from the Puget Sound up through the San Juan Islands and into southern British Columbia, we have both "resident" salmon eating orcas and "transient" marine-mammal eating orcas.

On Saturday we found some of our Southern Residents heading north into Canada to feed on the salmon runs off the Fraser river. Below I've collected some of my favorite photos from the day.

(Part two can be found here:


I really like the lighting on the hillside.

An orca spyhopping to get a better view. Their eyesight is comparable to ours. 

The newest member of our SRKW's, L-122, bringing the population up to 82 individuals.

An orca breached on our way back to San Juan Island!

A house with a view...

A wall of cormorants resting for the evening.

I love the sunsets in the San Juan Islands!

This is a composite of 176 photos, hand-blended in photoshop to get the fading star effect.

One of the individual photos from my star trail sequence.

The Southern Resident Killer Whales are endangered, with a population of only 82 individuals. They only feed on salmon, mainly Chinook salmon. If we want to save these whales, we need to save the salmon too. The best way to get involved is to help restore salmon habitat throughout Washington State and British Columbia!

As always, comments are welcome! Enjoy!


  1. I'm just now understanding that aside from the beauty of your photos, they can help communicate the need to protect animals and habitat that need our protection. Thank you, Tyler!