With temperatures in the mid 40's, it was the perfect day to look for more seals. The tide chart showed that low tide would be around 1pm at Montauk so I made the two hour drive east around 10:30 am. Once I hiked down the coast, it was an amazing sight to see 50 or more seals hauled out all over the rocks. Not only did I make over 300 images, but the lack of wind allowed me to record some nice audio of the seals calling, and the waves crashing with the birds chirping in the distance. It was exactly what I needed for my "Seals On Long Island" multimedia project.
First, a very special thanks to my wife Sue for providing the excellent narration. Who needs Sigourney Weaver when you're married to a marine biologist! Her hands on experience from working with these animals brought a unique perspective to this project. Her scientific knowledge helped me to piece together the narrative, and form the story. We have some future collaborative efforts in the early stages of planning, and I'm sure you'll be hearing more from her in the future.
For the past 6 months I've had the opportunity to photograph seals in a wide variety of situations. During that time I witnessed some incredible moments. There is one in particular that really stands out. It was the feeling of joy I got as I drove home from a "Seal Release". After months of rehabilitation, this beautiful animal was released from his cage, and made a frantic sprawl for the ocean. In a matter of seconds, he splashed back into the ocean, healthy and free.
I also have a new found respect for the staff and volunteers at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. On those brutally cold winter days, I thought I was freezing, but these dedicated people actually wade INTO the water to help animals in need. They work hard to make our planet a better place, and I thank them for their tireless efforts. If you are interested in getting involved, check out their website.
For the gear heads, here are the technical details:
All still images were shot with Canon 40D's. I used a wide variety of lenses from 17-40, to 70-200, and a 400mm. Gitzo tripods, and a Canon 580EXII flash. The sounds of the ocean were recorded witha Zoom H2 field recorder. This was also used to record the narrative which was edited in Garageband. The soundtrack was then edited in Garageband and imported into Soundslides. All images were sorted with Lightroom 2, and edited with Photoshop CS4.