Newborn!

Harbor Seals, La Jolla, California


When the good people of La Jolla California built a curing sea wall atop a natural rock barrier to enlarge and improve a small portected beach where their children could swim, they may not have realized that they were creating an ideal pupping beach for the Harbor Seals of the area…but that is certainly what they did. Now, Children’s Pool Beach (or Casa Beach as it is officially called) is closed to humans during pupping season, but the tender spectacle of the Harbor Seals giving birth and nursing young, and hauling out during molt, brings over a million visitors to La Jolla each year, including many bus-loads of kids. Fair trade. 🙂 The colony of 200 seals at La Jolla is relatively unique. It is one of the few colonies on the mainland, the only one south of Ventura, and the only colony in an urban area. Seals are shy of humans, and La Jolla is one of the rare places where they tolerate people as close as they do here. 

This is a newborn pup with its mother. In other shots you could see the umbilical cord still attached. Most pups are born on the beach, but they take to the water with their mother within 2 hours. Getting in and out of the water, even in the protected surf of the Children’s Pool, is the hardest challenge and mothers and pups seem to practice the maneuver over and over. The “nosing” behavior you see here promotes bonding between pup and parent and helps keep the pair from loosing each other in the water…and helps the pup to find its mother on a crowed beach. 
Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic on my iPad Pro. 

Wet Sea Lions chesting.

Sea Lions, La Jolla Cove, California

Wet Sea Lions are very difficult to photograph. The water on their slicked down fur catches the sun and reflects back in big patches of pure white burn-out. You can see a bit left in this image. I have already edited out the worst and most distracting instances. 

Moving away from technical grumbling 🙂 these two young males (I assume) were engaged in a bit of play…or working off some aggression…by repeatedly pushing as hard as they could against eachother’s chests. It looked like football players bonding, but in Sea Lion world it may have some completely different function. I saw several pairs this age “chesting”. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 160. Processed in Polarr and TouchRetouch on my iPad Pro. 

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit, San Diego California

A rainy morning in San Diego, in the marshes in the San Diego River Channel near its mouth, and a flock of Marbled Godwits. Handsome birds even in the half-light. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Ring-bill in early light

Ring-billed Gull, Jacksonville Florida

There were lots of Ring-billed Gulls sitting on the railing along the riverfront in Jacksonville Florida early in the morning, soon after sunrise. They were absolutely fearless, and easy photographic subjects. The warmth of the light really brings out the color of the eye and its surround. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. 1/800th @ f4 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Fireworks from the window… Happy Sunday!

Fireworks, Jacksonville Florida


“If your eye is generous, you whole being is full of light!” Jesus.

Unexpected fireworks from my 5th floor window at the Hyatt Riverside in Jacksonville Florida last night. Hand held and through glass. 🙂 We are lovers of light. Nothing speaks so directly to our spirits. To be full light is our highest ambition. Let your eye be generous and the light within you great. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program. 1/100th @ f4 @ ISO 1600. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic on my iPad Pro. 

Double-crested Cormorant (with crests :)

Double-crested Cormorant, La Jolla California

For most of the year the name of the Double-crested Cormorant is a total mystery…it has no crests. Only during breeding season do you see why they named it. And even then, Double-eyebrowed Cormorant would be much more accurate. Still those plumes are impressive, especially on a black bird, and especially over that bright green “cat’s eye marble” eye…making another handsome Cormorant. 🙂 On the sea cliffs at La Jolla Cove in Southern California. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. 1/250th @ ISO 160 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Brant’s Cormorant

Brant’s Cormorant, La Jolla California

This time of year the cormorants in La Jolla Cove are in full breeding plumage. This is a Brant’s Cormorant. Note the white mutton chops, the white filaments down the back, and the bright blue throat. And, of course, the blue crystal eye. One handsome bird! 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. 1/400th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.

Pelican in flight: Point Loma

Brown Pelican, Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego California

Another Brown Pelican in flight shot…this time from the Tide Pools at Cabrillo National Monument at the end of Point Loma in San Diego. The loess cliffs at the Tide Pools are idea for Pelican flight shots, as the birds often ride the uplift right above the top of the cliffs, just above eye-level. This image really catches the “mass” of the bird and the huge wings that sustain it in a glide. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. 1/1000th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Pelican in flight…

Brown Pelican, La Jolla California

I ventured out onto the sea wall that protects Children’s Beach in La Jolla, California when I visited last week, mostly to get closer to the Harbor Seals that had clustered on that side of the beach…but as I was shooting seals this breeding plumage Brown Pelican flew by just below eye-level. I turned in time for a short burst of shots. Pelicans are easy flight shot targets, but that only makes them more fun! 🙂

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. 1/1000th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Sea Lions of La Jolla

Sea Lions, La Jolla Cove, California

As I have mentioned before, when I am in San Diego for the San Diego Birding Festival I always try to ge to La Jolla Cove for a morning with the Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Cormorants and Pelicans. This is a classic Sea Lion pile on the rocks of the sea cliffs of La Jolla. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. 1/640th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.