Incredible pictures show humpback whales and orcas feeding and playing off the coast of Norway
Published: 07:35 EST, 13 February 2018 | Updated: 07:44 EST, 13 February 2018
This incredible shot shows a large humpback whale breaching. Photographer Espen Bergersen said he was glad he stuck around on the water to capture this moment as he was considering heading back into port
From leaping out of the water to gorging on giant mouthfuls of herring, these sea mammals look as though they’re truly having a whale of a time!
Award-winning photographer Espen Bergersen, 37, first noticed dozens of orcas and humpbacks gathering close to the shore by his childhood home on the northern Norwegian island of Andøya, eight years ago.
Since then, he has been ardently documenting the magnificent creatures during their migration, with his work helping scientists better understand their mysterious feeding, mating and communication behaviours.
Bergersen told MailOnline Travel that it is unusual to see orcas and humpbacks swimming together but there is one thing uniting the two species: food.
Hundreds of whales flock to northern Norway each year between October and January for the abundant herring stocks, with a mass feeding frenzy taking place.
Scroll down to view a selection of Bergersen’s awe-inspiring photos taken in the fjords outside Vesterålen and Troms, which will have you yearning to hop on a boat to Norway and witness these scenes of natural threatre for yourself…
A humpback whale opens its mouth wide so it can scoop up a mouthful of fresh herring. Bergersen says the whales can extend their mouths wide enough to fit a car between their jaws
Bergersen captured the moment an orca chased down a herring with its large teeth on show. Scientists discovered the killer whales use their tails to slap and stun the fish, before feeding on them
Three humpback whales (seen to the left) round up thousands of herring which look like an inky blot in the water from above. Two orca whales (to the bottom right) can be seen getting in on the action, too, in this stunning drone shot
Four orcas put on a spectacular show that Bergersen said was akin to ‘something you would see at Sea World’ but with the whales swimming free. When viewed from below, the lighter bellies on the whales blend in with the bright sea surface to act as camouflage
Details on a whale’s fluke (the two lobes of the whale tail) can be used to identify different individuals. Bergersen said the whale seen above was also photographed five nautical miles northwest of Reykjavik 22 years, four months and 13 days earlier
A pod of orcas bob up out of the water with the blowholes on the top of their heads visible. The average lifespan of female orcas in the wild is 50 years, while for males it is 29 years
This image shows a close-up of a humpback whale feeding on herring with one having a lucky escape. In this picture it’s possible to see details of the baleen, the filter-feeder system inside the whale’s mouth
Bergersen said he started clicking away with his camera when this humpback suddenly emerged out of the water. A boat full of tourists, seen in the background, were treated to a mesmerising performance, too
Each fluke (the lobes of the whale tail) can measure more than 13 feet while the pectoral fins can top 16 feet -about a third of the total body length
Killer whales have distinct dorsal fins that can be used to identify them. On males they can measure up to five-feet-high, while in females and immature males they appear curved instead of being upright
Although orcas tend to group up in cold water, they can be spotted in all of the world’s oceans, from the Antarctic to the tropics. Like their dolphin cousins, they have a conical-shaped head with a small beak
Since his first whale sighting eight years ago, Bergersen has sold his photos to magazines, newspapers and books and he has won numerous photography awards
Using a drone, Bergersen was able to capture this breathtaking photo of a fin whale from above. They are the second largest living mammal on the planet and their population has been severely impacted by commercial whaling
An orca comes out of the water for air as gulls swoop overhead. It’s likely that there are lots of fish in the water and they are hovering above to pick them off
Bergersen says that it is unusual to see orcas and humpbacks swimming together but there is one thing uniting the two species: food. In this photo an orca can be seen in the foreground with a humpback raising its pectoral fin just behind
When whales slap their tails, the loud noise can be heard for miles around. It’s believed lob-tailing, as it’s officially called, is used as a communication or feeding technique
The light in northern Norway varies wildly between the seasons. During the dark season – from around October through to early January – nights last for more than 20 hours
Fin whales have a distinct ridge along their back behind the dorsal fin, which gives it the nickname ‘razorback’. They are an endangered species with the population believed to be between 50,000 and 90,000
Bergersen says sunset is the perfect time to photograph whales blowing, as the golden light catches the fine spray. The shapes cast have an ethereal feel
The photographer says he isn’t religious, but the blow spray and light (to the right) seen in this photograph appears to form the shape of an angel
In this close-up shot of a humpback whale, the viewer gets a taster of the skin’s texture, which is said to have a sleek, smooth, rubbery feel