Share this photo on Twitter Share this photo on Facebook

Lazy Day at Point Lobos State Reserve

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 22 September 2009 in Landscape & Rural.


Arches/Canyonlands Photo Workshop November 4-8, 2009 (Sold Out - Waiting List Only)
Spring Big Sur Photo Workshop - March 29 - April 1, 2010 (5 spots available)
Northern Arizona: Grand Canyon, Upper Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Sedona Photo Workshop - May 3-7, 2010 (space available)
Redwoods and Mendocino Coast Photo Workshop - June 15-18, 2010 (space available)
Kauai, Hawaii Photo Workshop - July 12-16, 2010 (8 spots available)
Big Sur Photo Workshop Summer August, 2010 (Exciting details TBA soon)!

Harbor seals are always an attraction along the central California coast. It doesn't take much for one of these guys to capture the attention of us curious humans. I photographed this playful fellow on a recent excursion to Point Lobos State Reserve near Carmel, California, with fellow photographer Uwe Steinmueller. Had this little guy been charging a fee to be photographed, he would be retired - then again, perhaps he already was!

While his friends were content to sleep the afternoon away, this mammal decided to twist and contort and "keep a watchful eye" on all the people passing by. Trying to make some sort of meaningful image besides the standard grab shot was the challenge.

First and foremost, I made sure I did not "bulls-eye" him into the center of the frame. By moving his position slightly off-center, I was able to create some visual tension and allow room at the bottom of the frame for the swirling water. Next I decided to play with the motion of the water. Thanks to my Singh-Ray variable neutral density filter, I was able to bracket my shutter speeds which allowed me to experiment with different movement patterns with the small swells.

I settled on this image as my favorite although I had better water motion images, but unfortunately, a blurred seal. What grabbed my attention most about this particular frame was how the shape of the seal's body perfectly mimicked the swirling shape of the water - just a lucky happenstance that I could only see once these images were up on my 24" iMac monitor. The shutter speed for this image was 1/6 of a second at f/16. My lens was a Canon 300 mm f/4 set at f/16. I could have shot at f/8 or f/11. but again, I was trying for a slower shutter speed.

By the way, we do also see sea lions at Point Lobos and the best way to tell the two apart is by the ears (or lack thereof). Harbor seals do not have external ears (just ear holes) whereas sea lions do.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/6 second F/16.0 ISO 100 300 mm

My Website: "how to" articles, 2018 WORKSHOP LISTINGS, galleries, stock photos, and more...