What a mouthful! Astonishing photos of humpback whale feeding on the Pacific Coast

Humpback whale

Kate Cummings, co-operator of Blue Ocean Whale Watch at Moss Landing in Monterey Bay, California has a real eye for a great photo.

While it may not be clear at first glance, the giant monster rising out of the waters is actually a 40-ton humpback whale, mouth wide open as it sifts anchovies out of the sea. If you look carefully, you’ll see the anchovies flying through the air around the whale, doing their best to flee the scene and escape. We see the whale’s barnacle covered chin, it’s giant pink tongue, and its mass of baleen; the trick to sifting through schools of fish. The foreground of the image shows the whale’s expanded ventral throat grooves and its jaws which almost pop out of joint, maximizing its feeding capabilities.

Photo by Kate Cummings/Blue Ocean Whale Watch

While the series of three photos may be hard to decipher at first, they’re definitely impressive. As one commenter on the BOWW Facebook page says, it’s “one of the best perspectives of a whale I’ve ever seen.”

How did she get such an astonishing shot? Cummings told GrindTV that during a BOWW expedition on High Spirits, the company’s 60 ft. whale-watching boat, she “got down on the lower deck and squatted to get a low angle.” The result were a set of photos that has everyone talking—the original facebook post has been shared more than 1000 times.

Plentiful anchovies are to thank for the third consecutive season of record-setting whale sightings in Monterey Bay.

Cummings’ photography skills and expertise in whale watching are responsible for the beautiful photos, of which there are plenty more.

After the feeding season comes to a close, the whales will migrate south to Mexico for calving and nursing.

Until then, fingers are crossed for another record setting whale-watching season in 2016, and more photos that capture these beasts in all their beauty.

Photo by Kate Cummings/Blue Ocean Whale Watch