Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Elephant Seal Beachmaster -- My 200th Blog Post!

How time flies when you're having fun! This is a special occasion post, and not just because it's for Groundhog's Day! This is post number 200 on the blog! The first one stretches back to October 2009, when I wasn't really sure what to do with a blog or why I should make one. But it's been a really fun ride since I started, and I look forward to the next 200 to come. Thanks to everyone who has kept up with my photography over the past few years, and I hope you've enjoyed seeing what I have to share!

In honor of this special round-number occasion, I figured I should go with my favorite winter subjects, the northern elephant seals of Año Nuevo State Reserve. This large male is rejoicing in the fact that he has kept his throne as the beachmaster of Loser's Beach. Just a few minutes prior we watched a rival male come out of the waves and onto the beach, and we had the pleasure of watching the standoff that followed. I have some images of the event, and even more interestingly, my wife took some video with her pocket cam -- and I hope to have all of that on the blog in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Photograph of an elephant seal beachmaster at Año Nuevo State Reserve

By the time I was taking these photographs, the sun had dipped below the marine layer for the night, leaving behind a world of pastel colors. While I enjoy taking the detailed shots of these guys displaying, I couldn't resist zooming out and placing him in his gorgeous domain. The cliffs along the beach here have the classic San Mateo Coastline look, and sure do make for a beautiful backdrop for the seals.

Photograph of a bull elephant seal in its environment

View more photographs of elephant seals in Año Nuevo State Reserve.


  1. Great colors Pat. Loser's Beach? There must be a story behind that.

  2. A truly magnificent beast to celebrate your 200th post. Superb photography Pat.

  3. Thanks, Jim. Loser's Beach is an area outside of the main colony that non-dominant bulls will haul out on. It's called Loser's Beach since its bulls that have lost battles and are just hanging out alone. Even worse for them is that there are no females on this stretch of beach, so they really have no chance of mating. Regardless though, they'll still defend their territory from other males.

    Thanks, Frank! These guys really are impressive animals.

  4. Both shots are great, Pat. I really love that environmental portrait though. Keep on bloggin'! :)

  5. Amazing captures Pat. I love seeing this animal in its own environs. What a light! Congratulations on the event of your 200th post.

  6. Congratulations on your 200th post! Spectacular images! Lovely soft colors. I'm looking forward to the next 200. A joy to view your wonderful blog!

  7. Awesome. I was on cove beach around sunrise and saw this same male with a brief encounter with another male. I love this beach, as it tends to produce some great duels. I saw one a couple years ago that lasted almost 30 minutes. Very violent to say the least.

  8. Happy 200 :) Excellent shots of the elephant seal, really cool stuff. He's a pretty hearty guy!

  9. Thanks, John and Springman! In a setting as beautiful as this stretch of coastline its important to remember to pull back. I love to get a nice frame filling shot of an animal when I can, but it would be a mistake to pass up a backdrop like this.

    Thanks for your kind words, Julie!

    Thanks, Tory. I like going to Cove Beach as well, since you can spend more time with the seals. Most of my favorite shots from the park are from that stretch of beach. I love the shots of the seals fighting on your website -- that's something I'm still hoping to have a chance to photograph.

    Thanks, Johnny Nutcase!