In February I wrote about not ignoring opportunities on your own doorstep and while the North Lincolnshire coast can't really be classed as the doorstep to Grantham (75 miles / 120km) it is a part of the same county I've lived in for 21 years that I've never photographed before.
I had the opportunity to visit the Grey Seal colony at Donna Nook (Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust) near Louth and along with John Rourke (http://www.johnrourke.net/) set off from Grantham at 7am. Following the Sat/Nav north we arrived in the well marked car park next to the beach, which only had 12 cars parked up, but that didn't last long.
Suited and booted against the elements we set off and were amazed to find that just beyond the car park was a fenced off public viewing area and in front of this were seals of all shapes and sizes as far as the eye could see. There are over 2000 seals, including over 800 seal pups, on the beach.
A mother and pup were just beyond the fence, and we'd walked less than 200 metres from the car park. 80-200mm f2.8 lens fitted and images of mother and baby duly taken, along with a bull that decided to defend its territory from another younger male that had strayed into its domain. The first thing that struck me was the speed the bulls could actually move and I was actually glad we couldn't stray onto the beach area.
|A Bull Common Grey Seal. They could move surprisingly fast when defending their territory|
A little further along there was a young pup lying close to the fence line and we decided to see if we could get some wide angle shots without getting too close. I placed the camera, fitted with a 10-20mm f3.5/f4.5 lens (set at 10mm) on the ground between the inner and outer fence and used the live view to set the framing. I made sure the camera lens didn't go beyond the inner fence and I kept back beyond the outer fence with just my right hand on the camera. One of things we had to careful of not getting too close to the pups because human smell on the pup might mean the mother rejecting it and the pup would then die.
|Seal Pup - this was the picture of the week last Thursday but I am very pleased with this image and have used it again|
The seal pup was curious and I was able to shoot five frames, with the best one being cropped slightly to remove the fence that was showing in the final image. All in all the best picture of the day.
We moved along the fenced area taking shots on the long telephoto lenses of the interaction of the mother and pups, the 'face-offs' between mothers as they defended their pups and fights that broke out between various young bulls and dominant males.
|A dominant male chasing off a young bull trying to move into its territory|
After 2-hours we moved back along the fence line towards the car park and we noticed that a lot move people had arrived and it was becoming quite crowded along the beach. We decided to head off to another area of the Lincolnshire coastline (more on that next week) but not before visiting the wardens hut in the dunes to make a donation to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, to help in the great work they do here and other parts of Lincolnshire.
For more information visit www.lincstrust.org.uk
ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION.
MORE IMAGES CAN BE VIEWED ON FLICKR