Keep your distance

At the weekend we visited the coast and came across several young seals; not pups, but still young enough to be dependent on their mothers for some tuition. Over the past few years the wardens have told me pups are being born earlier and later in the season. Maybe this is due to milder winters. I don’t know. What it means is that young seals are on the beach for longer. One in particular we saw was hiding in among rocks but was attracting more than its fair share of attention from passers-by.

The cameras in mobile phones have just got better and better. I see many people now using them and the results are good high quality photographs. They are however no substitution for a long lens when it comes down to wildlife. Mobile phones will not give quality photos on zoom setting therefore to get frame filling photos you would need to get close. Ensuring you keep a reasonable distance from any animal or bird is paramount. The way to do it is to let your subject come to you; letting them do that as a matter of their choice is the way to get a photograph with no harm or distress to your subject. This of course takes time and patience.

Some obviously do not have the time or the patience. Many passers-by respected the young seal at the weekend and viewed and photographed it from a reasonable distance. One particular mother however despite my very loud and definitive protestations let her children almost crawl all over the animal.

Approaching a seal and causing it obvious distress by poking a mobile phone in its face is just unacceptable.

How not to view Grey Seals


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February 2013
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