Photographer in awe of wild orcas

Jessica CuthbertAlbany Advertiser
Patience and a great eye have helped Michael Haluwana capture incredible orca shots.
Camera IconPatience and a great eye have helped Michael Haluwana capture incredible orca shots. Credit: Michael Haluwana

There have been times wildlife photographer Michael Haluwana has felt like crying after missing a special moment on the water with orcas.

This moment off Bremer Bay was not one of them.

Mr Haluwana started his company, Aeroture, 13 years ago.

Since then, he has received several accolades from organisations such as National Geographic, the BBC, Sony and Canon.

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Passionate about photography, videography and cinematography, Mr Haluwana has had the opportunity to work on iconic projects such as BBC Planet Earth II with Sir David Attenborough. He was recently on Naturaliste Charters’ Bremer Canyon Killer Whale and Pelagic Expeditions vessel.

He said taking photos on the boat was an amazing experience.

“Each time you experience something different, the ocean and its marine wildlife are delightfully unpredictable,” he said.

“The excitement generated on-board aids my inspiration in capturing the best the marine wildlife in this region have on offer and the crew are amazing, their service, knowledge and joyful and excitable personalities make working with them such a great pleasure.

“Having the opportunity to work with the researchers and capture the orcas, pilot whales, beak whales, sharks, sunfish, sperm whales and more as they hunt and play in their natural environment is simply something else,” he said.

An orca jumping
Camera IconAn orca jumping Credit: Michael Haluwana

Mr Haluwana said taking the photos could be challenging due to the swells and heavy winds creating jolts in the boat.

“Capturing the perfect angle and shots is challenging but it all comes with experience and good sea legs, once you are in the moment I forget everything and all my focus is what I see through my camera and the excitement I get when capturing these amazing creatures.

“Orcas are amazing, they always make me excited to see them and their movements and intelligent hunting patterns, and each day with different weather conditions the orca’s behaviour is very different, so it’s a challenge to capture the moments,” he said.

“It’s hard to predict their movements but you have to be at the right time and the right place to capture it, there have been few moments that I have missed and feel like crying.”

A close encounter with an orca has been a particular highlight.

“I was using the underwater camera to film the orcas and one just took a turn and came right at me and looked right in to my camera, I could have seen its eye staring at me through the camera vision,” he said. “I can’t believe how interactive they are and how amazing to capture these moments.”

His best tip for capturing the perfect orca photo is to keep your eyes peeled in all directions.

When asked why he loves his job, the answer was simple. “I have always been a wildlife fan and self-thought photographer and a cinematographer, to have a passion and to work hard with all the elements have pushed me to go further and learn more about nature and how all comes together.”

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