A drone pilot managed to capture stunning footage of a humpback whale off the California coast last weekend, as the animal came up for air and inadvertently created a perfect rainbow in the air above itself.
Photographer Mark Girardeau set out with his friends, Royce Hutain and Jason Anderson, last weekend, searching out the whales off the coast of Newport Beach, California. On June 5, the group encountered a whale pod roughly two miles from the shoreline, and as Hutain drove the boat, Girardeau and Anderson sent their respective drones into the air.
Girardeau, who is also a wildlife naturalist and is based in Orange County, according to the Huffington Post, pointed out that the group observed several whales breaking the surface to breathe, creating similar displays.
“It’s really not that rare to see but the way it appears to come out of the blowhole and the angle of the shot make it extra special,” he noted. “Also this is clearly a magic whale with special powers.”
— Brandon Wall (@Walldo) July 11, 2015
The footage that the group captured depicts the whale rising from the depths, breaching the surface to take a breath. As the whale does so, a spout of water shoots into the air above its head, catching the light and refracting a rainbow. As the Daily Mail reports, the colorful display hangs in the air above the whale for just a moment, before the mist dissipates.
Hutain pointed out that the rainbow was hardly the only one that the photographers observed over a whale that day. While stunning, the image depended greatly on the correct alignment of their cameras in relation to the sun.
“We saw many rainbows that day from the whales,” he recalled. “It all depends on what side we were viewing the whales from and where the sun was.”
— Kate Redman Ⓥ (@DolphinSeeker30) July 5, 2015
While the whales are welcome visitors along the California coastline, they are hardly the only animals to become the target of drone photographers. A group of juvenile white sharks made headlines earlier in the year after settling in off Huntington Beach, moving closer to the shoreline than usual. As the Inquisitr previously reported, authorities in Seal Beach have utilized drones to view the sharks from the air, monitoring their proximity to swimmers.
The footage of the whale has spread online since Girardeau posted it to his Instagram account, pointing out that it was completely unedited.
“Humpback whale producing a rainbow. I’d say that’s better than a pot of gold.”
[Image: Mark Girardeau via the Daily Mail]