Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

On our way toward Fox Island, a whale breached in the distance. Just a tiny dot, but amazing, I thought. We slowed down and it barrel-rolled closer to our boat, a huge white flipper raised sometimes. It slapped the surface and blew water spouts then raised its tail and disappeared under the surface.

It might be sounding, the captain explained, and if so we probably wouldn't see it again. Pressed against the ferry rail, I held my camera as still as I could and waited. I listened for the sound of surfacing. My shutter finger reacted before I realized the noise was coming from directly in front of me.