California Sea Otter 16

My Top 10 Favorite Photos of 2008, #5

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My new friend Ken Howard was with me in Alaska last August photographing humpback whales, when I got an ominous text message on my satellite phone telling me to call home asap. Within a few minutes I was talking to my grief stricken wife about our house catching fire. Thankfully, she and my daughters were out shopping when it happened. I was only 2 days into a 10 day trip, but needless to say I cut it short and came home. Ken and I hit it off, so we started making plans for a trip to photograph sea otters in Monterey, CA. He introduced me to Phil Colla who we invited to join us. Unfortunately, one of Ken’s dear friends passed away right before our trip, so he had to back out at the last minute. Phil and I still went ahead with the trip and had a great time. In spite of our previous bad luck, Ken is coming up to Seattle next week so that we can try and have a successful trip. We are going to Vancouver Island to dive with the Steller sea lions near Hornby Island. I hope that the weather will cooperate and give us a little bit of a break.

In late October, I flew down to California and chartered a boat with Phil to photograph sea otters for 3 days. After the first day, I realized that the images I was after were during the last 45 minutes of golden light. Rafts of up to 50 otters were grouped together and quite easy to approach. Getting one to look at us at the correct angle was a challenge, but they were still much easier to photograph than any otter I have ever seen in Alaska. This portrait is one of my favorite images from the shoot. I like the dry puffy face, cute hand position, golden low angle light, and otter’s reflection on the surface of the water. I created this image with my new Canon 50D digital SLR, 400mm f4 DO IS lens, 1.4X tele-extender at f5.6 and 1/250 second.

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