Whale Photo Instructions

CALIFORNIA WHALES PROJECT - Submitting your photos

Supporting data

For a whale identification photograph to be useful it must be accompanied with the date , encounter #, location (GPS coordinates), the photographer name and the vessel name. The data sheet must accompany photographs submitted.

The most important data is the date and the location.

  • Basic Data - At the top of the sheet be sure to fill out: Date, Vessel, port where you left, primary photographer.
  • Time - Use military time, 13:00 not 1:00PM
  • Sighting Data - The line of sighting data should be begun in the code field with an "S", then given a sighting number, which will be sequential throughout the day.
  • Indicate if a calf was present.

  • Indicate how many animals were present at the sighting.
  • "SPP" is for the species, to be filled out with the scientific initials, BM for blue whale, MN for humpback.
  • Indicate the general behavior of the group, you write these into notes.

Photo Data - Assuming that you are successful obtaining photographs, you should fill out photo data.

  • Indicate the photographers initials.
  • Indicate the roll and photo/frame number. Include any notes or comments that will help identify the different animals so that "lefts and rights" of blue whales can be paired, and that an animal identified as "calf" or adult, or "mother" clearly has frame/image numbers associated. (sometimes we will write "frame 1-3 is calf", "5, 8-10 are mom"-this is very helpful for people processing the photos back at the office).
  • Note on fluke photos--It is difficult for the people who are processing the photos to know whether the underside of the fluke was photographed or the top side. We can only use those photos of the underside of the flukes, photos of the top sides are best to either not take, or clearly note in your data that you have taken a "dorsal shot".

The sighting and photo information are the most important part of the data sheet, keeping sighting time, positions and sighting numbers linked to photographs and the photographer are key to taking useful data!


The photographs should be mailed on a CD to the Oceanic Society. Each photo should be renamed to indicate date and sighting number (& photo number). For example: 11April08s1p1 or 11April08s2p2.


1. Download the DATA FORM, put your photos on a CD, and submit by mail.


For more information about Cascadia Research: http://www.cascadiaresearch.org
For more information about the Marine Mammal Protection Act: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/laws/mmpa/

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