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first day at the beach with my new camera

A couple of days ago, I decided to take my brand new Canon T2i camera to the beach for the first time. I only took the kit lens (18-55mm lens) with me, being a bit nervous about the salt spray and possible sand since it was a windy day.

I drove to White Plains Beach first hoping that perhaps I would luck out and find another seal on the beach since I saw a seal on this beach twice (a few days apart) two years ago. No seal this time. Because White Plains Beach is not not really one of the most picturesque beaches, I got back into my car and drove a bit further down to the beach at the end of the road by the Coast Guard station. This beach in my opinion is a nicer beach, although also a bit rugged. As you drive to this beach, you will see a few cars parked along the side of the road at the more deserted part of the beach before reaching the parking lot. Most people that go to this beach park in the parking lot at the end of the road. There is a bathroom at this beach but there are no lifeguards.
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I hung out for a while taking lots of photos, trying to learn the ins and outs of my new camera. I am realizing that it is going to take me a while to learn to take good photos with a DSLR. I am determined though not use the auto and program modes and instead take all of my photos using the manual settings. After taking an hour's worth of photos, I realized that I forgot to check some of my settings! My white balance setting was on cloudy (and it was a sunny day) and my ISO was on 200 where 100 might have been a better setting. Even so, when comparing my photos to some photos I took with my Canon G9 at this same beach a couple of months ago, I could see a difference in photo quality.

After about an hour at the beach, I got back in my car and drove just a bit to the area where people park on the side of the road to check out the more isolated area of the beach.
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I only planned to spend about 15 minutes or so before heading on home to watch the Red Sox game (in hindsight I would have been better off skipping that disastrous game). Just before leaving, I took a walk down the beach to check out the view around the bend. As I got closer, I noticed a roped off area with some signs posted.

It was a SEAL!!!
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Now, you would think reading my blog that I see seals on the beach every day. Hawaiian Monk Seals are endangered species and do not generally hang out on beaches in Hawaii. I have just been very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time to see a few of these magnificent creatures. This is only the fourth time I have seen a Hawaiian Monk Seal on a beach in Hawaii.

My first seal sighting was in August, 2007 up on the North Shore.

My second seal sighting was in March 2008 at White Plains Beach, a beach not too far from my house. This time, I arrived at the beach just as the seal was coming out of the water.

My third seal sighting was a few days later. This seal (not sure if it was the same seal) was stretched out snoozing at the other end White Plains Beach. I recently posted a photo from this seal sighting a couple of weeks ago as one of my PhotoHunt posts. Ironically, this was my first beach outing with my brand new Canon G9 camera two years ago.

Seals are not very active creatures. Once they find their spot for the day, they don't move much. I lucked out catching the seal I saw on Friday do this move:
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...and then a little later on pretend to be an ostrich:
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Comments (11)

Isn't it fun exploring a new camera and all that it can do? Enjoy!

sandrac:

Fantastic, Girasoli! I love him "doing an ostrich"! Wonderful photos.

I hope you have a great time getting to know your new camera!

barb cabot:

Great shots. Sounds like a wonderful day out with your new toy. I can just tell you will be sharing lots of wonderful photos with us.

Ah, he was posing for you! Great photos! Is this beach heading to the North Shore from Windward side? Not sure I've been to this one. It looks so inticing tho..

I chuckled with your hindsight comment -- let's hope things improve with the Sox or it will be a very long season.

Good luck with your determination to avoid the 'auto' setting. Sounds like you are a serious student mastering all you've been taught.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Girasoli, wow these are awesome photos with your new DSLR. I love the stop action movement with the sand and seal. Very cool! I love taking photos at the beach because there's so many interesting subjects, but to luck out on catching a sun bathing seal....lucky you. How's your crumpler working for you?

Thanks so much for sharing your photos. I'm looking forward to seeing more of them. btw, kudos to you for not relying on the "green monster". That's what my photographer teacher calls the auto select feature. :)

Have a great week.

Lucky you, running into that seal! Love the ostrich poses too.

Aww, he's camera shy! :-D

I was going to ask you how the Red Sox did this weekend ... but now I won't. ;) I really like your photos with your new camera. Thanks!

Wow! This is so cool!

Great job on your outing with the new camera. The seal shots are great. And don't worry about remembering the settings - I still forget even after all these years. :)

I am very late in replying here, but wanted to in case anyone comes back to this post to read my reply...

Jerry, YES!! I am a little overwhelmed still with all the settings but am excited to learn!

sandra, he was hilarious! I really should have switched to video.

barb, thanks. It was a fun first day :)

menehune, nope - it is one of the Barber's Pt. beaches on the south shore just west of Ewa Beach. I think it is going to be an interesting season... I never give up though, not until we are mathematically out of it.

Kathy, thanks! I just ordered a smaller bag, hoping to use that for the beach. Not sure yet on my thoughts about the Crumpler Bag. Still am thinking if I want to keep it or not. May keep it as an alternate bag. First I have heard of the green monster as it relates to a photo setting :)

Annie, I have been really lucky! Most people I know in Hawaii have never seen a seal in person on the beach.

softdrink, he was so funny!

colleen, it was a mixed bag - mostly bad. Glad you liked my photos :) Still have a lot to learn.

Leslie, do you get seals in Australia?

Marta, thanks! Glad to know a great photographer like you also forgets about checking settings now and then.

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