TONGA

| Olympus 2018 |

Can we all please take a minute to appreciate the fact that I am using a new Steller template today? ๐Ÿ˜ฑ This is the first โ€œnon-Hydeโ€ Story that Iโ€™ve ever done! But I digress, this story is about whales. And whales are infinitely more interesting than templates. This story is about that time I went to Tonga to swim with, and photograph, the humpback whales. August 2018. ๐Ÿ‹

The trip came about through my relationship with @Olympus_AU , last year I officially became an Olympus Visionary! ๐Ÿ“ธ๐Ÿ’™ In fact, I had been dropping hints about taking my Olympus camera (and native housing) to swim with the whales for a couple of years. My hints finally paid off! ๐Ÿ˜‚ The brief? Go to Tonga. Swim with Whales. Take photos. โœˆ๏ธ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ“ธ๐Ÿ’™

Itโ€™s hard to describe the feeling of coming face to face with a whale! Especially a wriggly, inquisitive, adorable calf! ๐Ÿ’™

They might look small in my photos but even the babies are 5 meters long! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Olympus had booked me on a ten day tour with photographer Scott Portelli. After chatting with other photographers and tourists in Tonga I realized how lucky I was! Going out with a professional like Scott meant better encounters, more time on the water and a lot more background info on the whales.

Olympus

So, how did Olympus benefit from this? ๐Ÿ˜‚ Well, you might be surprised to learn that Olympus are the only camera manufacturer to make their own NATIVE underwater camera housings. Effectively I could take my E-M1 Mark II in the water. ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ“ธ

Olympus

So I was working to: ๐Ÿ”น Spread awareness of the gear, ๐Ÿ”น Share how easy it is to shoot underwater with it and, ๐Ÿ”น Put it to the serious test! (Me with a camera underwater. Potential for disaster = ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ˜‚)

So I decided to create this story to share heaps of photos of whales (obviously), but also to share some camera settings from my favourite shots. The beauty of native housing is that Every. Single. Setting. Is adjustable underwater. For an amateur underwater photographer this was priceless!

Here are my top 4, with settings ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป

Gear and Settings: ๐Ÿ”น Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II ๐Ÿ”น M. Zuiko 8mm Fisheye lens ๐Ÿ”น Olympus Underwater Housing ๐Ÿ”น Shutter Priority Mode ๐Ÿ”น ISO 200 ๐Ÿ”น F 4.5 ๐Ÿ”น 1/320

Gear and Settings: ๐Ÿ”น Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II ๐Ÿ”น M. Zuiko 8mm Fisheye lens ๐Ÿ”น Olympus Underwater Housing ๐Ÿ”น Shutter Priority Mode ๐Ÿ”น ISO 320 ๐Ÿ”น F 4 ๐Ÿ”น 1/400

Gear and Settings: ๐Ÿ”น Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II ๐Ÿ”น M. Zuiko 8mm Fisheye lens ๐Ÿ”น Olympus Underwater Housing ๐Ÿ”น Shutter Priority Mode ๐Ÿ”น ISO 250 ๐Ÿ”น F 5.6 ๐Ÿ”น 1/250

Gear and Settings: ๐Ÿ”น Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II ๐Ÿ”น M. Zuiko 7-14 mm PRO lens ๐Ÿ”น Olympus Underwater Housing ๐Ÿ”น Shutter Priority Mode ๐Ÿ”น ISO 320 ๐Ÿ”น F 4 ๐Ÿ”น 1/500

I would highly recommend swimming with the whales in Tonga as a bucket list experience. I visited the island Vavaโ€™u in August and chose a ten day Scott Portelli Tour. The best tours can be booked out a year or two in advance. The day trips are nowhere near as awesome. (I did try one) And camera gear? @Olympus_AU of course! ๐Ÿ˜œ

That one time that a whale breached in front of me. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Iโ€™m going to finish off with a whole bunch of photos from Tonga. Enjoy the eye candy! Thanks to @Olympus_AU for the opportunity. Photos of me by Scott Portelli and @jewelszee. ๐Ÿ’™

THE END

  • stefanieshep

    Amazing!!!!

  • simone_wit

    What an amazing experience and photoโ€™s Lauren! The world is so beautiful. Thanks for showing us!

  • karen_claudia_

    Just a wonderful story. Thank you

  • laurenepbath

    @simone_wit thanks so much for looking Simone, it was an incredible trip โค๏ธ

  • laurenepbath

    @karen_claudia_ thanks Karen, Iโ€™m glad you liked it :)

  • mdiepraam

    Great stuff... ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฝ And using the very same camera, but for entirely different purposes! ๐Ÿ˜โœŒ๐Ÿฝ

  • laurenepbath

    @mdiepraam ooh, what do you shoot? Iโ€™ll come and check out your Stellerโ€™s! :)

  • mdiepraam

    Motorsport, mainly, and I think Iโ€™m the only one in the world using Olympus for that! ๐Ÿ˜‚โœŒ๐Ÿฝ

  • laurenepbath

    @mdiepraam one of our Australian visionaries shot some stuff with cars for the launch of the new E-M1 X. You should be able to find it online, it looked awesome. Arenโ€™t they great cameras?

  • mdiepraam

    I know, Iโ€™m trying to get Oly to lend me one, as itโ€™s virtually made for motorsport! The Mk2 does the job, too, by the way.

  • laurenepbath

    @mdiepraam I donโ€™t know which team youโ€™re talking to but the Aussie team usually ask for a proposal and are great if youโ€™ve got something to offer โ˜บ๏ธ

  • kerrieturcic

    I adore whales and these photos are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your story @laurenepbath!

  • laurenepbath

    @kerrieturcic thanks so much for reading it :)

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