Photographing Seals at Blakeney Point

Common seal

Blakeney Point is a nature reserve in Blakeney village in the county of Norfolk. During the summer, many common seals assemble at Blakeney Point to give birth to seal pups. I had planned this trip a few months back and decided to visit in July. At the Blakeney Point, there are not only common seals but also Grey Seals and various seabirds such as Sandwich Terns and Oyster Catchers.

Temple Seals boat operator

The best way to spot seals is to to book a boat trip to Blakeney Point from Morston Quay. There are a number of boat trip operators in the area however I booked via Temple Seals. I booked two boat trips with them, one was two hours in duration with landing at Blakeney Point and second trip was a non landing one hour boat trip. Both trips were good which resulted in excellent seal sightings, both grey and common. The only issue faced was I found it difficult to photograph the seals from a moving boat especially when you have a camera and lens combination weighing just under 3kg but even though I got a number of great shots and also a lot of wasted images.

Seals enjoying the sun at Blakeney Point

Due to the weight of the camera and lens, I always use a monopod with a mini monopod base stand which adds more stability and does not take as much space as a tripod. The other tip is to set your camera to AI Servo (Canon) and set the drive mode to high speed continuous. This rapidly takes photos in succession one after the other. Depending on light levels, I may boost up the ISO to get a fast shutter speed to freeze motion and this helps in getting some sharp images.

One week old Seal Pup

Boosting the ISO makes the sensor more sensitive to light and in order to get the same amount of light I will have to adjust the shutter speed by same amount of stops. If for example at fixed aperture, I boost my ISO by 3 stops from ISO 100 to ISO 800, then I have to adjust my shutter speed by 3 stops from 1/250 sec to 1/2000 sec.

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