Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Seals of Norfolk

Wide Angle of a seal

Last week I spent a few hours on the Norfolk coast with a large number of grey seals and their pups. I was surprised at the amount of people on the beach considering it was pupping season for the seals. The beach is normal pretty empty, but today there must have been over 100 people, mainly to see the seals.

It was an interesting experience and it was good to see how much respect most people had for the seals by keeping their distance, even though several of the seal pups were very intrigued and came right up to meet their visitors at some points. I started off by getting the normal shots of seals laying around like the two below:

Seal Watching Me
Sand blowing in front of the seal

Spending a while looking at the seals, I was able to witness their behaviour, something I had never done before. The bull was parading around with his mouth open. I decided to wait around and watch him. After about five minutes he went close to a female and its pup, causing a fight to break out between the female and the bull. Neither were hurt but the female scared off the bull with a number of scratches and bites. The bull is much heavier and more aggressive than its female counterparts, but this ably demonstrates how the females would risk everything to protect their young.

Female warning off the male with a few bites.

Next I decided to try and get some behavioural shots of the seals, so I walked further along the beach by passing around 20 seals until I came across this large pup who was playing with its flipper.

Nibbling on its flipper
Hiding under its flipper

Below are a few more photos from the shoot. I have tried experimenting a little with these photos and I feel they have worked quite well in obtaining less obvious angles and characteristics of these intriguing creatures.
Mother seal watching me behind its pup.

Upside down pup, sleeping.

Pup peeping out behind some wood.

Whilst photographing the seals, I also came across a dead gull, which I decided to photograph with a view to capturing a dark, moody feel within the image in keeping with the subject matter.

Dead gull on the beach.

I didn't only see a dead gull that afternoon, but a live one eating a large, decaying fish on the beach. I quickly decided to make the most of this opportunity and set up my camera with a remote trigger shown below in the video. It took seven attempts in the end to get the sort of shots I wanted.

This is one of the shots taken via remote trigger;

Gull eating its lunch

  • Be patient and keep trying to obtain the shot you wanted (took me 7 attempts)
  • Look for behaviour or anything unusual and stay with the subject
  • Do the basics first, then try out different shots
  • Don't get too close or disturb the wildlife.  It is not worth it!!

Camera: Nikon D90 and Nikon D7000
Lenses: 300mm with a 2X convertor and Fish eye
Accessories: Gorilla pod, Remote trigger


Cheers for reading, I am heading back to Cornwall again now to carry on with my River Fal project. So stay tuned for more!!

Feel free to follow me on my blog and on Twitter:  @Josh_Jaggard

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