Orcas line up perfectly for family portrait in ‘awesome moment’

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A photographer on Tuesday captured an extraordinary orca family portrait in foggy weather in California’s Monterey Bay.

“The awesome moment when all the orcas you encounter line up for a shot,” Eric Austin Yee wrote on Facebook.

The black-and-white image, captured during a Discovery Whale Watch expedition, shows the closely aligned dorsal fins of five transient orcas – a mom, her three kids, and another orca that travels with the family.

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Yee, also a naturalist, said visibility was poor when he received a tip from colleagues about an orca sighting in the middle of the bay.

Yee told FTW Outdoors: “As we approached the area the pod of five orcas popped up near us. We were worried they would have been lost in the fog but they resurfaced near us multiple times and got active.”

©Eric Austin Yee

Behaviors included breaching and spy-hopping, which is when a whale in a vertical position pokes its head out of the water for a look around.

“Even though visibility was poor, the water was glassy,” Yee continued. “I got a lucky moment when all five animals lined up and I snapped the shot.

Yee added: “I had a weird moment when going through my photos: ‘How would black-and-white animals look in black and white?’ Pretty good, I guess.”

Monterey Bay is a frequent hunting area for transient orcas, which prey on marine mammals. The family unit photographed by Yee is well known to scientists.

Alisa Schulman-Janiger, co-founder of the California Killer Whale Project, said the orcas, from nearest to farthest, are cataloged and nicknamed as follows: CA51A3 (Dipper), CA51A2 (Andi), CA51A4 (Eclipse), CA51A (the matriarch, Aurora), and CA50B (Jimmy).

Story originally appeared on For The Win