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The Encounter

The Encounter
Photo Information
Copyright: Niek Bouwen (SunToucher) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2385 W: 237 N: 3033] (11162)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-07-20
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon EOS 40D, Sigma 18-200 Zoom F3.5-6.3 DC, Tiffen 62mm UV
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Summer vacation 2009: USA
Theme(s): Mammals of the USA [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-10-31 5:24
Viewed: 3496
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
We decided to go for a nice beach walk at the end of day and see the sun dip into the sea. At first I thought not to bring a camera but just before we left the house I changed my mind and grabbed my camera and attached my little travel lens to it.

The whole time during our walk along the surf of the Pacific Ocean we were watched by a few Harbor Seals. The popped up every few minutes and looked at what we were doing. Harbor Seals are well known to watch humans and follow them along the coast.

But then, after more then an hour walk, I looked back and saw something black coming ashore more then 50 meters away from me. At first I thought it was a log or some other form of debris. But then I recognized the vague shape of an animal and possible one of the earlier seen Harbor seals. The first thing I did was to make a few photos but I quickly realized that I was too far away to get a good photo. I decided to walk toward the seal and see how close I could get. At the stage of this photo I became hesitant to go closer because I though the, by now recognized California Sea Lion, would go back into the ocean. I squatted down and this photo straight into the late light, hoping that the seal would not become totally black.

This is the first photo of my encounter. More will follow soon.

ppmiranda, Heaven, Alex99, nglen, PaulH, horia, amanengone, meyerd, lovenature, boreocypriensis, chrisruth has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Dear Niek!

You had a wonderful encounter, and you share it with us in a very pleasant way: your narrative notes are captivating and interesting, and the picture is very beautiful. The low light and the tiny reflections on the animal create a particular effect.

Kind regards


Hi Niek. Ottima silouette in controluce. Afafsicnati i colori caldi e i riflessi sul mare. Bella compo.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-10-31 11:35]

Hi Niek.
Nice story and very attractive meeting. You have met an impressive animal and have pictured it at wonderful pose. I do not know if the colors are natural but scene at whole. Combination of sharpness of the beach and animal and light blurriness of the water surface is fine. I also think composition of the image is spot on. My kind regards and TFS.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-10-31 12:11]

Hi Neik. this what you call luck to have seen this. Not the best time of day with the light but you have done a fine job. Even more interesting with your notes. TFS.

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2009-10-31 12:19]

It is beautiful Niek, a wonderful portrait using the late light to it's full advantage. I think the composition and crisp clarity combined with the wonderful hues and tones help make this a very endearing image, well done!

Hello Niek,

This is a fine composition!
Elegant simplicity, nature at its best...
The animal is so well recorded in a typical pose, and the atmosphere on the beach is captivating!

Pablo -

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2009-11-01 15:06]

Hi Niek

A very nice close-up from you, my friend! I t was definitely worth changing your mind in the last minute and taking your camera :)
You did a really stunning job here - especially in terms of POV and exposure. The POV is excellent since it gives you that brighter sea and foamy waves as the perfect BG for this scene while the exposure is absolutely perfect in my opinion because it retains excellent details from the the darkest shadows and the highlight. I'm guessing this was metered evaluatively?
Further more, the pose of the sea lion is gorgeous and the fact that you have nothing else than fine pristine sand in the FG also helps concentrate all you attention on the subject, without any distractions.
If i were to be nit picking, i'd say that the head of the seal is a bit too centered and it would have probably looked a bit better if it were on the right...but this is a little element and i'm also guessing you left it there for better focus purposes (this lens not being that accurately as your 70-200 most likely).
Anyway, this is a lovely shot and i'm very much looking forward for the ones to come :)

Bravo and have a great week

Hello Niek.

Nice effect of the animal in the sunshine, close from the sea. Lovely colors from the sea, good contrast. Good effect of the light on the skin from the animal.

Thank you for the sharing.

All the best.


  • Great 
  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2009-11-03 13:44]

Hi Niek,
it was a privilege to have your critique on my first landscape shot. Of course you are right, I should leave my safe corner, the macro shots with flash, and seek greener pastures :-) But then I'm aware of the standards here on TN, your portrait of the Harbor seal is a good one to judge. It takes a lot to do this one right. I don't have to enumerate the elements that make the shot a memorable one; you know your stuff indeed. You added this thought on your intro to TN: "Got a particular enthusiasm? Flog it to death". Maybe that's for me. But then there is Markus ....
My best regards

Hi Niek
Good thing you brought your camera on your walk. It's so exciting when an animal just shows up unannounced and your camera is right there. The Sea Lion gave you a nice pose and the waves are a nice textured contrast to his sleek coat. Well done Niek.
TFS Janice

Hi and Good Morning Niek,

This one is utterly amazingly beautiful capture of this cute sea lion in a fine pose. The dynamic BG also stand out it well.
TFS this beauty and have a nice Sunday!


  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2009-11-17 5:48]

Wow! that's a wow photo, Niek! What a pose.

Hello Niek

Well done on the capture of this wonderful sea lion.
As you enjoy sunset photography this one must have been special to capture in these lighting conditions with the sunset colors on the water.

I really like the clarity of the picture in these difficult conditions for photograpy.

Well done and TFS
Kind Regards

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