Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sea For Two

Autumn in Alaska is a great time to see mother sea otters and their babies. The baby (on the right) is almost full grown, but still has his baby fat. Immature sea otters cannot dive because of their high proportion of body fat, and have to be dragged under water by their mothers. They don't seem to mind since that allows them to catch a good meal.

Sea otters are among the cutest animals around, and I never get tired of looking at them. They seem to like the people on the boats in their home waters, and almost always stare back at the camera. Very obliging subjects!

Because they float in place for long periods of time, it is relatively easy to find a pair or a pod of several and shoot away. For most subjects I prefer to use autofocus. It allows me to get sharper images most of the time. The trick for getting sharp images is to set your camera to have just one focus point in the center of your viewfinder, and as much as possible, place that center spot over the head or eyes of the animal. Then focus. It works best if you use rear button focus (also called back button focus), rather than focusing by using the shutter button as most cameras do. Rear button focus is a custom function found on most digital SLR cameras and many 4/3rds mirrorless cameras.  By removing the focus function from the shutter button, the camera will not automatically focus each and every time you press the shutter button, thereby providing more consistently sharp images when neither you nor the subject has moved.

(An upcoming blog will discuss rear button focus in more detail.)

Watch for announcements for 2 great photo tours to Alaska in August and September of 2015.

Shutter Speed 1/800 sec.  Aperture f/5.6.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 400mm f/5.6L.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "...for whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it's always ourselves we find in the sea."  --e.e. cummings

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