This short article features some images of a New Zealand fur seal and its pup, captured hand-held at Surat Bay New Zealand during our month-long March 2018 field trip. While I did photograph a few other specimen that were on this same stretch of beach, this mother and pup at Surat Bay were one of the highlights of our trip.
While we typically kept our hiking into various photography spots to a maximum of about 400 metres (~ 1/4 mile) during most of our trip, we did make an exception on this particular morning. We hiked out about 3-4 kilometres (~1.8 to 2.5 miles) to get to this stretch of beach where we found this mother and pup.
Let’s start with a couple of photographs of the mother fur seal.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
When we first arrived, the mother was having what appeared to be a light snooze on the beach. The pup was behind her in the shade near some shoreline vegetation.
As we drew closer the mother did rise up to have a better look at us. We kept our distance (warning signs on beaches in New Zealand suggest keeping at least 10 metres away from seals and sea lions) and we made sure that we did not get between the mother and her pup.
It didn’t take long for the pup to notice us, and it moved closer in to its mother for a while. We remained quiet and kept our movements slow and measured.
It didn’t take too long before the pup grew comfortable with our presence and watched us with some interest.
The natural inquisitiveness of the pup was obvious, as was its playful nature.
It began watching us while holding its head in various, angled positions.
For a while it decided to observe us while keeping its head in an upside-down position, allowing me to capture a few individual frames of this posture.
The pup did a bit of exploring, always within range of its watchful mother.
I was able to get in a bit closer during the pup’s short exploration away from its mother, which enabled me to capture a few, closer-in photographs.
There is something quite heart-warming being out in nature and being able to capture these types of images of young animals. It is important to be respectful of nature, and to treasure special encounters like the one captured in these images.
All photographs were captured hand-held in available light using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.
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