Do not disturb the sleeping California Sea Lion


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Last month we took a short trip over to the coast and spent a few days enjoying the beach climate in Santa Cruz. We strolled along the beach and on the wharf, did some shopping, stopped by the lighthouse and took in the view off the point. We also ate some great food, and just had a very relaxing few days away from normal.

A trip to the coast means I will have my camera with me. Pretty much, a trip anywhere means I will have my camera with me. It’s what I do. Take trips. Make images. Repeat as necessary.

More images will be posted later to my new Santa Cruz album. There are a few there already, including the ones of the California Sea Lions on this page. I needed to freshen up the blog. My Fourth of July post is way past it’s prime, so the sea lions got the nod this time.

Sea lion yawning Now I don’t know a lot about sea lions, but they apparently do not like to be disturbed while they are napping. Marcie and I took a walk on the Santa Cruz Wharf. Sea lions gather by the score to claim a spot under the wharf for their afternoon nap. We were watching young sea lions trying to jump up onto the cross beams. While the youngsters were jumping this one pictured to the right is trying to get in a little snooze time. Between the young sea lions jumping from the water and the people watching from the wharf above, the old sea lion had had enough. He raised his head looked right at me and pleaded for me to make it stop. So I shot him.

CA Sea Lion scratching Another sea lion was sharing the cross beam. Appearing to be less annoyed by the kids in the water, this one rolled over, scratched an itch, and went back to napping.

We continued our walk on the wharf. I got some great shots of a mother sea otter and pup that I’m still working on. They should be posted soon, and you can look for them here along with more images from Santa Cruz.

Remember, prints are available from the gallery.
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My Photo Tip

Taking pictures of wildlife in a place like Santa Cruz is not difficult. The sea lions, for instance, are used to people and as long as you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. You will also avoid serious injury by keeping your distance and respecting their space. It really is their space.

The most difficult part of wildlife photography is often having the patience to wait for what is referred to in photography as “the decisive moment.” That moment that takes a boring everyday snapshot and makes it into an interesting photograph.

Anyone can take a picture of a sea lion laying on a beam. You lean over, point your camera and lock in your settings, click, and go. But, if you have the patience to wait and observe behavior, you may see, and capture, that “decisive moment” when an ordinary snapshot of a sea lion becomes a picture with a story.

That’s today’s tip. Be patient. Wait for the decisive moment.

What’s your photographic decisive moment story?