nature technique underwater

Fun in the Farnes

Although this is a fairly old image, I’ve been prompted recently to consider that people enjoy seeing the “fun” stuff that I’ve taken. Never have I had closer interactions with marine life than I did on 2 consecutive weekends in late 2011 when we visited first Lundy Island and then the Farne Islands… Pretty much opposite ends of the country but very similar sorts of encounters.

Whilst in Lundy, the seals seemed to stay around and “play” with us for longer, there were far more seals up in the Farne Islands:- At one point, whilst moored up for lunch we were surrounded by scores of tiny faces, all watching us from the water.

Playful Seal in the Farne Islands

The skipper seemed keen to take us to a dive site where we could get some depth. It took some effort to persuade him that we were in exactly the right spot already with all the seals around us! I don’t think we ventured deeper than about 3 metres that dive but I’m really glad we didn’t.

It was quite overcast and going deeper would’ve meant heavier use of artificial strobe lights and likely the inability to incorporate the surface into our photos which can really enhance a shot sometimes.

The seal here is simply one of those I’ve not published before although the gallery on the site has been in place for over a year now. It was only whilst I was browsing through, looking for “fun” shots that this one stood out.

At the time, I was tucked into a small gulley, through which I’d seen several seals swim. I thought if I hung about long enough, I might get a swim-past. I was treated not only to a seal who stopped for a moment but to a full-on fin tugging, playful seal who ducked in and out of the kelp, eyed me up and nipped at my fins. Altogether very reminiscent of an energetic puppy wanting to play.

Camera settings here were 1/250th sec, f/4.5 and ISO 200. I used my Canon 550D with a Tokina fish-eye lens set to it’s widest focal length. My 2 strobes were set to low power since I anticipated a reasonable amount of particulate in the water which I didn’t want to light up.