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South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #1 Dolphins

Dunsborough photographer Ian Wiese captures marine images in the Cape to Cape region in the South West of Western Australia (from Busselton to Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin). He specialises in images of dolphins, whales, sharks, seals and seabirds depending on the seasons.

Ian provides specific whale, dolphin and seal images to Curtin University for research purposes.

This is the first in a series of Ian’s SW Marine life images.

Series #1 Dolphins

These are Ian’s comments and images.

I originally started out doing landscape photography in the Southwest – beachscapes, vineyards, the Cape to Cape Track and so on. Being in the Margaret River region it was also hard to escape surf photography as well.

A few years ago I thought it would be good to get some photos of dolphins surfing. Initially they were elusive, and whenever I was at Yallingup I was told they just left! At Yallingup the dolphins usually catch one wave and go. I soon discovered that they frequent Sandpatches (the bay just north of Sugarloaf rocks) almost daily and while they are there they stay for lengthy periods. So I began visiting Sandpatches and as I came to understand their behaviour better I had more success.

At the time I was working with Curtin University on whale photo-id and they heard of my dolphin photos. Individual dolphins can be identified by the nicks and cuts in their dorsal fins, and over time the rate at which you discover new individuals can be used statistically to estimate the population visiting the bay. The WA universities vie with each other for dolphin populations to study. Fremantle is Curtin territory, Mandurah and Bunbury dolphins are being studied by Murdoch. This was a good opportunity for Curtin.

All we need to do now is to process around 10,000 photos of fins. It seems the photography was the easiest part! When we have done this we will have gained a lot of information about the dolphin population who visit Sandpatches, their behaviour and health, the number of groups who use the bay, and hopefully why Sandpatches is so popular with them. We may be able to  assess whether the population is increasing or decreasing and if necessary recommend management strategies for their long term viability.  

Ian Wiese

Image #1. Dolphins surfing at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #2. Dolphins surfing at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #3. Dolphin playing with salmon at Bunker Bay. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #4. Dolphin turbo charged aerial at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #5. Dolphin re-entry at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #6. Dolphins playing at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #7. Abstract – Dolphins surfing at Sandpatches. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #8. Dolphins surfing at Yallingup. Image Ian Wiese.

Image #9. This collage shows the extent of damage to the dorsal fins of some dolphins. Image Ian Wiese.

Click on this link to view or purchase Ian’s prints Ian Wiese’s Photography blog.

Click on this link to view Ian’s short video of dolphins surfing. At the end of the video the dolphins gang up on a small shark that had been annoying them.

Coming soon South West Marine life images by Ian Wiese – Series #2 Sharks

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