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Photo Gallery

With the latest technology, photographers get more intimate perspectives on marine life

By Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

An Orange County-based drone photographer is shaping how the public sees whales — literally.

Emily Kaszton (also known as Emily Kasz) uses drones to photograph the large marine mammals as they surface near Dana Point, from a bird’s eye view. Through her collaborative workshops with Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, photographers have been able to learn her techniques as well.

“Droning with Whales & Dolphins” allows for a group of people to venture out on the Dana Point coastline under Kaszton’s expertise to photograph marine life using drones, whether the participants own one or use a drone provided by Kaszton.

With nearly a decade of photography experience and having added drone photography to her resume about three years ago, Kaszton says she was approached by Captain Dave’s over the summer of 2018 to start workshops for other photographers.

“There’s definitely a technique to it. Operating a drone is already tricky, but standing from a boat and ensuring the drone is a safe distance from the whale is an important skill to hone,” Kaszton said. “I feel honored that I’m given the opportunity to share my knowledge.”

Kazton meets with the participants a half hour prior to departure to make sure everyone’s equipment is ready to go. While people are able to reserve tickets to the workshops, Kaszton takes precautions to make sure clients are responsible before going forward with the workshop. She says she and Captain Dave’s operates and adheres to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s strict guidelines in order to appreciate, not disturb, the wildlife.

“To photograph these beautiful creatures in ways that haven’t been done before is a mind-altering, life changing experience,” Kaszton. “I have the upmost respect for them and it’s humbling to be able to share their beauty. It’s important that I’m able to teach whale droning in a constructive and intimate setting.”

Kaszton’s next “Droning with Whales & Dolphins” workshop is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24.

Kaszton’s workshops also offer add-ins like one-on-one photo editing and social media tutorials. To learn more about the workshops, visit or You can follow Kaszton on Intagram: @EmilyKaszton.

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