Photo Identification

One of the main aims of ​WhaleTrack Ireland​ is to obtain useful images of individual whales, that facilitate their recognition as individuals, by photographing their unique and naturally occurring permanent markings.

When a humpback whale raises its tail (flukes) it provides an opportunity to photograph its underside (ventral surface). The pattern on the underside is unique to that individual whale and by capturing a good image we should be able to identify the individual whale. These images can be used to track the local short range movements of these whales, and by sharing our images with overseas colleagues, in time, such images could reveal their international movements along migration routes and ultimately their breeding ground.

What sort of images do we want and what sort of equipment will I need?

Photo-id by its nature will almost always take place from boats. Capturing an image of a sometimes fast moving and often non-cooperative whale, from a moving platform in a frequently choppy sea and in poor light conditions, isn’t without its challenges.

Please click here to access our ​Guide to Capturing Useful Images.  Any original jpeg or RAW files images of humpback, fin or blue whales can be emailed to at the highest possible resolution. If you’ve taken video, it may be possible to capture a screen grab of a tail fluke or dorsal fin, which can also be emailed to us as a PDF or a GIF file.

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