Santa Cruz: n.d. This is an undated original photograph taken by Bill Richards, a Santa Cruz fisherman and photographer. The mounted photograph captures a blue whale breaching almost its entire length amidst sea birds swimming and fluttering over the water. On the back of the photo is a mimeographed sheet of paper recounting how Richards captured the picture after trying for over fifty years to "jump" his own whale out in the ocean and photograph him. Finally the day came. While out fishing off the coast of Santa Cruz, Richards spied a sooty cloud of "whale birds" through his binoculars and knew they must be following a whale. And so they were - a big "Sulphur Bottom Bull - a blue whale - all of seventy feet long and easily weighing seventy-five tons. Richards was able to get within 200 feet and watch him feed on thousands of sardines. But then a life or death drama ensued. A pair of killer whales, orcas, went by the boat toward the blue whale. Orcas are fast and ferocious and travel in small pods. Although much smaller, a few of them are capable of killing the largest of whales. They attacked this whale, causing him to rise out of the ocean in a mighty effort to escape. It was during this battle that Richards was able to get his prized photograph. The combat was continuing as the boat returned to shore. Richards writes that this was "probably the only photograph ever secured of the largest living creature know, taken in his native element, in a battle for existence." Given the mimeographed text and reference to Plastigmant camera lenses, the photograph probably dates from the 1950s. The photo is mounted on a bedraggled piece of grey cardboard, with the inscription "To my friend Charlie Bosworth from Bill Richards" written in white ink under the photo. The photo is in very good condition save for three marks that might have occurred during processing. They do not affect the image of the whale. It measures 8.5 x 10.5 inches. A unique item in very good condition. PHOTO/062719. Very Good.