OP – The Blog

July 3rd, 2012

Eyes on the Water

Posted By Kevin Schafer

Harbor Seal, Crossfjord, Svalbard

Landing on a remote beach in arctic Svalbard, I was surprised to see this harbor seal – an animal I often see in the waters of Puget Sound near my home. Staying just offshore, he popped up repeatedly, curious to see who I was and what I was doing.

I think he grew especially interested when I lay down on my side next to the surf to get this seal-level view. Maybe he saw me as some sort of large, orange-coated seal, but he slowly came closer to get a better look, giving me the chance to take this picture.

Even with a simple portrait like this, I always look for a way to make a picture more engaging. I did that here by getting as close to the water’s surface as I could – in fact, I put the camera right on the sand and had to look sideways through the viewfinder. This gave the picture an intimacy that I could ever have gotten from a standing position. With the resulting shallow depth-of-field, the water largely disappears, giving the face – curious and unafraid – the emphasis it deserved.

Svalbard, Norway

Nikon D3 with 300mm f2.8 lens


Please leave a comment

  1. rick turner Says:

    Very well done. This angle is why I bought the Sony A77 for my wildlife and landscape work. Viewfinder flips in all directions.

  2. Kevin Schafer Says:

    Thanks, Rick. Good to hear about the Sony. Trouble is, I find moveable viewfinders always make me a bit nauseous!

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