Photographer's Note

This is so large that people I show photos to automatically assume that it's a dinosaur! This is Chad (yes, he has a name!), who once was a juvenile Blue Whale which washed up on the California Coast at Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1980. Since they're so rare, hundreds of volunteers assisted in the removal of the bones, which took six weeks, and then cleaning and assemblage of the skeleton, which took three years. His skeleton now resides at the Natural History Museum in Santa Barbara. A fairly longtime resident, Chad is much beloved, and I've seen many photos of children standing in front of this display over the years. Blue Whales are the largest animals ever to exist on the Earth, actually, and are considered an endangered species. This is only one of five complete Blue Whale skeletons in the US, and it's great that you can actually get up close and personal with this one, even touching it. It's 73 feet long, so it's interesting to consider what Chad as an adult would have been like! The skeleton itself weighs 7.700 pounds. Chad actually isn't all Chad these days: the display is located outside and was exposed to the elements for decades, so it needed a great deal of restoration. It was dismantled in 2010 and sent to a design company for renovation, which took about nine months. The original skull was too damaged to repair, so it was replaced with a newer one from a Blue Whale stranding in 2007. It is almost complete, however, with 98% of the bones being real, but it is now a composite of four different specimens, and some of the tail vertebrae are cast replicas from a specimen housed at the LA County Museum of Natural History. It is heralded as the most anatomically correct display in the world after the renovations. If you want to see a live one, Santa Barbara is a good place, as they migrate down the California Coast, especially in the Santa Barbara Channel each year from July to October. Whale watching is a popular activity here. If you want to learn more about Chad, you can visit the website below.

I really liked the lighting and the colors in this photo. Not a traditional photo of this display but it was such a nice day that I wanted to see what I could do with the contrasting colors and the light and shadow in this photo.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1196] (2114)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2015-10-00
  • Categories: Nature
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2016-01-21 16:33
Viewed: 833
Points: 0
  • None
Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1196] (2114)
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