Can You Take Harbor Seal Photos From Your Porch?

by Kimberly A. Cook         (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

My last photography posting had so many nice people comment and like it I decided to follow-up with another photo topic. When I worked on the newspaper and took my own photos, there was a system I learned from my photography classes in college.

This is actually a mid-range photo since I was so far away. The pulled back photo made the harbor seals look like raw tapioca.

This is actually a mid-range photo since I was so far away. The pulled back photo made the harbor seals look like raw tapioca.

First take an overall shot of the area/subject, then look for details and close-ups to describe the story. That is how I ended up with photos for my feature stories and/or photo essays. While I might not use all of the photos in the newspaper, in fact I rarely did, taking more shots saved the day when I’d need to hunt for pictures to help fill space.

Now I keep those same rules in mind for a potential blog post, article or video I might be working on in the future.

To illustrate the system, here are pictures I took on a recent trip to Depoe Bay, Oregon, one of my favorite places on the planet. Munching a leisurely breakfast that Saturday, my sister let me know the harbor seals were hauled out on the rocks.

This is what a zoom lens, leaning against a post and keeping your breathing even can do. That's not tapioca after all.

This is what a zoom lens, leaning against a post and keeping your breathing even can do. That’s not tapioca after all.

Grabbed the camera and sauntered down the porch of the condos to get an aerial view. One cannot wait when the time, tide, seals and weather all create a photo opportunity – getting all those variables together is a rare event. So I grabbed both Canon cameras to ensure I would have focal length to get up close.

Details count. Did you see the Blue Heron in the first photo above?

Details count. Did you see the Blue Heron in the first photo above?

Photographers know the sweetest light to take photos is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, but tides and seals have their own schedules. Some of the photos I took are not as color-saturated as I would like, washed out by the sun, but I’ll take it.

Always have a camera, cell phone camera or video camera with you. You never know when seals may show up to interrupt your breakfast!

1 Comment

Filed under Photography

One response to “Can You Take Harbor Seal Photos From Your Porch?

  1. Great photography tutorial! And a metaphor for constructing a scene. Open with a broad description, sometimes in omniscient viewpoint, then focus on a detail that pulls the reader into the protagonist’s viewpoint.

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