03 March 2010

Seal, Kawakawa rocks, southern Wairarapa

If you're not using a long telephoto lens, don't try to get this close. Let them enjoy their rest (and they bite).

Kekeno (New Zealand fur seals; Arctocephalus forsteri) can be seen at many sites on Aotearoa's rocky coasts. One of the best is the Kawakawa Rocks near Cape Palliser in the southern Wairarapa — about as far south as it's possible to go in the North Island. This female had draped herself in the cool, deep shade and I eventually dialled the ISO up to 800 to photograph her with the 300mm.

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

7 comments:

Relatively Retiring said...

How wonderful to see the density of that fur - and I'm glad you attached a caption warning. So cuddly-looking, and such very sharp teeth!

the watercats said...

man!.. this is such a fantastic shot!.. all that texture and the big watery eye... I love the shrek ear too :-) I'm sort of lusting after a telephoto lens now.. if only I was a decent enough a photographer to warrant having one!

Barbara said...

Such a graceful image, serene and very feminine ;) For all the wildness (her strength and teeth) and roughness (rocks), she could be a Renaissance beauty on a couch draped in satin.

leonie.wise said...

lovely shot.

i was chased down a beach once by an angry bull as i'd not been paying attention and got between him and the sea. i didn't get bitten, but i don't think i've ever run so fast in my life :)

pohanginapete said...

RR, I've seen people approach seals far too closely — within a metre or so. It's amazing how fast they move when the seal rears up and shows its teeth. :^)

Thanks Watercats. Unfortunately, good telephotos are expensive, but once you know how to use them they're open up all kinds of opportunities. And don't underrate your photographic abilities — even if you feel your results don't live up to your aspirations, who knows how good you could be if you maintain a willingness to learn and experiment?

Barbara, thank you. She really did look beautiful, with a delightful hint of dangerousness: as if saying look at me but know your place :^)

Thanks Leonie. Sounds frightening all right — I'd have been going for my life too. But it's an easy thing to do to come across them unexpectedly. I'm very careful exploring the coast where seals might be around, because they seem to have the knack of finding places where they're almost invisible until you're right on them.

Zhoen said...

What a charmer.

pohanginapete said...

She was indeed, Zhoen.