There She Blows: Writer Charles Graeber (left) and Captain Robert Fortes (right) navigate the Coronado to see humpback whales migrating through the Abrolhos archipelago.
"We decided to sail six hours for the chance to see migrating humpback whales giving birth where they pass through the Abrolhos archipelago. As soon as we left the port, there was this Gilligan's Island feel, 'The ship set sail,' on an uncharted course type of thing. We were going headfirst into a storm. The rain was blowing sideways with five to six-foot (1.5 to 1.8-meter) swells tossing around our tiny boat.
"In this picture, the captain is checking his compass and other navigational instruments to be sure that we were on course. Charlie's trying to keep himself apprised of what's going on, when in reality, he's probably more in the guy's way, since Charlie's an awfully big guy on this very small boat."
Photographer Michael Darter
- Camera: Nikon F100
- Film: Kodak E100 VS
- Lens: 17-35 mm
- Shutter: 1/60th
- Aperture: f/4
- Time of day: 10 a.m.
"For this photo, the conditions were the main challenge. The wind was coming from an angle, filling the sail and tipping the boat. I crouched in the shelter of the cabin door so that only a little rain hit the camera. Since the rain isn't actually visible in the photo, a bit of diffusion caused by water on the lens helps show that element.
"This photo really gets across the close proximity of the boat. Charlie has his back against one edge of the boat, and just out of frame to the right is the other side of the boat. I also like the expressions on their faces. There's a definite struggling-against-the-elements feel to it."