Posted by: photographytuition | June 30, 2012

Chanonry Point dolphins – how to photograph them.

Chanonry Point is in the north east of Scotland just above Inverness. It’s the best place for photographing dolphins in Britain.

(Click on photos to enlarge).

Waiting for the dolphins to appear, Chanonry Point, 6th June 2012. About 80 people, many from abroad were hoping to see the dolphins. Nikon D7000 with 300mm f4. ISO 200, 1/1000sec f5.6.

There’s lots of information online about location, car parking, boat trips etc but the essentials for photography are as follows:

Best time to see the bottlenose dolphins – 2 hours or so after low tide. Stand at the tip of Chanonry Point and wait for the incoming tide to start ripping across in front of you. Suddenly out of nowhere the dolphins will appear – hopefully!

Best lens to use – on a normal digital slr camera I reckon a 70-300mm is your best choice. I was using a 300mm but found it difficult focussing on the dolphins as they appear so quickly and are gone in a flash. You’d have a greater success rate using a lens of around 200-250mm.

This guy, and his dog, were watching the dolphins from their kayak. Nikon D7000 with 300mm f4. ISO 400, 1/1500 sec f8. The shadow areas were lightened a little.

Do I need anything else?  Warm clothes as it’s exposed and often windy.

Wellies are also useful as you’ll be doing the Chanonry Shuffle. The what?! 80 people crammed onto a spit of shingle with the tide coming in means you’ll be constantly shuffling backwards to avoid getting wet feet – problem is you can lose your place at the front of the pack. With wellies on you can be right at the front with the clearest and nearest views.

Bottlenose dolphins, mum and calf,  Chanonry Point. Nikon D7000 with 300mm f4. ISO 400, 1/1000sec f6.7. Cropped.

Overall – a great experience and one Ill do again as it was all over quite quickly – about an hour.

Finally – there was one bit of advice online about only being able to photograph the dolphins in the morning or evening – I couldn’t see any reason for this – just go when you can and when the tide is right.

A fast shutter speed is essential so you’ll need a bright or sunny day.

I run photography courses featuring wildlife and landscapes for beginners to professional level. If you would like to find out more see

Or email me

Or ring 01497 847183


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