Heading to Tonga

After a brief, chaotic few days on the ground, I'm on my way out the door again, heading south for the summer to visit my friends in Tonga.

It's kind of shocking to contemplate, but this will be my 11th season photographing humpback whales in Tonga. To put this in context...by the end of this season, I will have devoted around a year and a half on the water to this endeavour.

Crazy talk!

While I'm there, I will, of course, work hard to make interesting observations, capture nice photographs, and share via regular updates as I've done in the past:

Tony Wu in Tonga
Me, hard "at work"
(Note: This photo is from several years ago, when I was younger and less mature.)

It'll certainly be interesting to see how things pan out this year, given the banner crop of humpback whale babies in the 2011 season.

One thing I'm looking forward to from a photographic standpoint is using my 5D Mark III cameras underwater. This will be the first time in four humpback whale seasons that I have new hardware to deploy.

I'm the first to underscore that hardware is not the most important aspect of photography, but the vastly improved autofocus and frame rate of the 5D Mark III over the 5D Mark II certainly won't hurt!

And better ISO performance will hopefully mean I can crank it up a stop or two when necessary, without worrying too much about degrading image quality.

Zillion housing for Canon 5D Mark III camera
The first Zillion Canon 5D Mark III camera housing

I'll be using the Zillion 5DMkIII housing pictured above (picked up fresh off the assembly line a few days ago), plus a modified 5DMkII housing that I used while I was Down Under photographing minkes in early July.

For all the lucky(?) people travelling with me this season...have a safe, uneventful journey, and see you soon!