Each Whale Photography Workshop with Craig Parry is designed to deliver the perfect balance of practical photographic and editing tuition alongside an unforgettable life experience. Don’t just take it from us – read on below for a first hand wrap up from a recent guest on one of our Tonga Humpback Whale Photography Workshops.
Swimming with the majestic Humpback Whales of Tonga is a bucket list experience. It’s a trip that changes the way you look at the world. Collective moments of awe, that leave you with memories (and photos) to treasure forever.
Craig Parry’s Tonga Humpback Whale Photography Workshop is honestly, one of the most amazing things I have ever done. Aside from being in the most photogenic part of the world and getting up close and personal with these gentle giants, we learnt valuable photography tips and tricks, made wonderful new friends and spent time disconnected from our daily lives, reconnecting with nature.
The Kingdom of Tonga
Tonga as a destination is stunningly unique; raw, authentic and teeming with wildlife and culture. It’s a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the South Pacific. Palm laced beaches, crystal blue waters and big local smiles are just the start of your adventures in Tonga.
The island of Vava’u is where the workshop begins and is just a short scenic flight from the mainland. You can even start spotting Whales from the window seat! The accommodation is clean and centrally based, the food is delicious and the Tongan people are some of the funniest, friendliest locals I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with.
The magical Humpback Whale experience
Nothing can quite beat the thrill of sitting on the side of the boat in full snorkelling gear, ready to jump in when the skipper says “now!” With your head under the waves, a sense of peace rushes over you… and then you see them.
It feels surreal as you watch the Humpback Whales emerging from the deeper water, or a curious calf playing around you. Even writing this brings those moments back, as clear as the day they happened. I promise, you will never forget how you felt when that forty tonne mumma Whale looked you in the eye as she gracefully glided past.
Other encounters are super quick and exciting! Trying to to swim, soak in what you are seeing and taking photos all at the same time is tougher than you may think! The diversity of each swim was pure magic; they all emphasised how different the environment can be when immersing yourself in the forces of nature.
Our group were fun and so supportive of one another, which made the experience even more spectacular. After each day at sea, we would stop off at Swallows Cave for some free driving and photo taking.
Craig Parry’s photography workshop is a very responsible travel experience. Tongan laws enforce the protection of their Whales and there are strict rules about timings and numbers of people and boats around the area. The staff on the boats are very conscious of the Whale behaviour and will only drop you if it is safe for both yourselves and the wildlife.
I think we can all agree that Craig’s passion is showcased in each one of his amazing images, and this can also apply to his tuition. Throughout the workshop, Craig openly shares his secrets for capturing and editing the most epic shots. He assists in camera settings, composition, photoshop and anything else you might want to know. Craig is professional and personable, making his workshops perfect for beginners, advanced and all photographers in between. I was absolutely blown away with the images that I took on our Tonga trip! I had no idea I was capable of such art and I can’t wait to hang them on my walls!
(image credit – all images above are the copyright of Samantha Smith)
This Whale Photography Workshop is a must for anybody looking to expand their photography skills while experiencing a wildlife encounter like no other.
– Samantha Smith –