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Common Seals Lounging

Common Seals Lounging
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-06-17
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 1D Mark II, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-06-18 10:17
Viewed: 3939
Points: 28
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I spent most of Saturday and Sunday on the north Norfolk coast - about an hour and a halfs drive from where I live in Cambridgeshire. At Blakeney Point it is possible to take a boat trip to see the seals (both Common and Grey) and seabird colonies. This is another in the series ‘how not to take photographs’ – hand held, standing up in a rocking boat.

Also known as the harbour seal, the common seal is the smaller of the two breeding seals in Great Britain. When hauled out it often adopts a characteristic 'head-up, tail-up' posture. The colour is variable, ranging from black-grey to sandy brown with many small spots. The top of the small head is round and the nostrils form a V. Males are often darker in colour than females and have a heavier appearance. The white natal coat of the young is shed inside the uterus; pups are therefore born with their first adult coat.

The common seal is found from the subtropics to the Arctic around coasts of the North Atlantic and the North Pacific. In Europe they occur off Icelandic, Danish, German, Dutch and Icelandic coasts as well as around the UK. The UK supports 45% of the European population (5% of the world population); main centres of population occur in the Moray Firth, The Wash and the Tay Estuary, and the species is fairly widespread around west Scotland, the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Common seals seem to prefer sheltered waters. They haul out on a range of habitats such as rocky shores, sand and gravel beaches, mudflats and sand bars. Preferred haul out sites are protected against land predators and strong winds or waves, are close to food sources and enable direct access to deep water.
These seals are gregarious; on land they forms groups to breed, rest and moult that are generally small but may number up to 1000 individuals. Common seals feed mainly on a variety of fish, but squids, whelks, crabs and mussels are also taken. Juveniles feed on shrimps before progressing to the adult diet. When feeding, common seals travel up to 50km from haul-out sites to feed and may stay out at sea for days. They can dive for up to 10 minutes, and reach depths of 50 metres or more.

With regards to breeding, there is apparently no social organisation, but females often give birth in small groups. Females give birth to a single pup at the end of June to early July. The pups weigh 11-12kg at birth and are able to swim and crawl almost immediately. Pups are nursed for about 4 weeks, after which they may disperse over long distances. Around the time that the pup is weaned, females become receptive and copulation occurs. Males frequently engage in underwater displays and fights around this time and can lose up to 25% of their body weight.

marhowie, SelenE, ridvan, mirceax, nglen, ramthakur, Evelynn, Necipp, delic, pablominto has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To ramthakur: StabiliserJamesp 1 06-18 18:07
To marhowie: MIIJamesp 4 06-18 11:37
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello James,
I like most the low POV and direct full-face eye contact. Sharp detail with good DOF and color. Always difficult in full sunshine, you've handled the exposure well IMHO. I'm waiting for delivery of the M III. How long have you used the M II?

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-06-18 10:40]

Hi James,
Wonderful profile shot of the Seals. Very neat and sharp image with fine focus and good use of natural lighting. Excellent POV to portray it head-on and the BG illustrates their natural habitat perfectly. Very nicely composed and presented. Kudos.

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-06-18 11:21]

Hi James,
I think you got a pretty good result from the rocking boat. It's a funny photo :o) I liked the composition and the expressions. TFS

Hi James.
What a happy pic! Great low POV and composition. Very beautiful. Well done.
Regards, Steve.

  • Great 
  • ridvan Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 498 W: 0 N: 1136] (5205)
  • [2007-06-18 11:55]

selam james; excellent shot of this lovely animal,good details presented ,nice BG and POV well captured with naturel colours TFS

Hi James,
Beautiful capture with super pov and composition.


  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-06-18 12:24]

Hello James, great picture of this lazy seal. Excellent compositiona and POV, congratulations in a fine picture.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-06-18 14:49]

Hi James .What a great big thing he is. he is enjoying the sun. good detail and colour. a nice POV . very well done TFS. great notes again.thanks.

Your lens has an in-built anti-shake mechanism, I believe, James.
The shot is very sharp and clear in spite of the fact that you took it from a rocking boat.
The two different coloures seals are very well captured.
TFS and regards.

It is a pretty sharp image considering that heavy camera outfit and the fact that you were on the move. It's too bad that you couldn't capture this one isolated from the one behind... but with wildlife photography we can't always have what we might want. Nice work on exposure and foreground sharpness.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-06-19 10:15]

Hello James

Very good composition with low POV.The focus and details are excellent.Wonderful eye contact.The lighting is well managed.The seals show very well.TFS


Hello James, a nice sharp well lit shot good pov and nice dof lovely expression captured tfs rgds Necip.

  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-06-22 3:43]

I would call it "how to take photos when it's nearly impossible to". You must have made good use of the IS technology. Very sharp and well-composed. I like the contrast between the two seals. Regards,

Hello James,
Those chubby fellows have a charm of their own..!
Good portrait value and excellent textures in the fur, sharp fine details and natural colours!
Pablo -

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