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.
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.
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!!!
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:
...and then a little later on pretend to be an ostrich: