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Weekend Wanderings: Seals at the Melbourne Zoo

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The title probably isn’t real for this post, while the zoo has many seals, this post is really only about one. Last week I had a Social Snappers Photography Excursion to the Zoo, and while I was there I decided to become a member.  I know many people are against zoos, but I really like what the Melbourne Zoo does and how they treat the animals in their care.  People visiting them comes second to the care of them and ensuring they are treated well.

When I first started to prepare the photos for this post I was going to show lots of the animals, but the thing we did that we enjoyed the most was watching the Seal show or talk.  We watched Tarwin and I took so many photos that I decided to share the show with you in images, I hope you don’t mind.

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She was very entertaining, and she came to the zoo with a very interesting story, and I’m not going to tell you her story, as the zoo has included it on their website, Meet our Seals: Tarwin.

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It was a very challenging thing to photograph and yesterday’s post was very important and things I will have to think about next time.  I know this is quite different to the wild, but it was still difficult and things like patience can be just as important, as well as being quick, it is so easy to miss things.

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While part of the show is for fun too, it is also meant to be educational.  They make Tarwin do things to help people understand how important it is to be careful about throwing things away in the ocean. So many seals are injured because of fishing and the irresponsible disposal of fishing line and nets.  So there is quite a bit about helping the seals.

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There are lots of trick too, which delight the crowds and also help people understand the message more.  I have to say she moves so fast, that I was surprised I got anything.  Now that I have my membership I can go back again and again, so I can practice doing this sort of photography, would be good to get better at it.  I did remember to turn up my ISO so I could get a fast shutter speed, I opened up the aperture too to help with the speed.  I think my ISO was on 800, but I could have gone higher, next time I think I will.

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Then there is the reward at the end, well the rewards happen all the way through it.  It was a little tricky trying to photograph it, but that’s okay, I can practice another time.

I have quite a few photos for you now, they are all of Tarwin, except the first photo, which was another seal in the pool when we got there, then it was removed so Tarwin could do her thing.  They aren’t great photos, but hopefully you get an idea of what the show was like.  It is getting hot here again, going to be very hot today, so I wouldn’t mind climbing into that pool with Tarwin.  I hope you are warm or cool where ever you are.

68 Comments
  1. Fabulous photos! You really capture the movement and behaviour of the seals. Every photo is brilliant. Having struggled to get any photos even worth sparing from deletion on a recent aquarium visit, I am in awe of anyone’s ability to get great photos of aquatic life let alone superb ones like these.

    February 7, 2015
    • Thank Laura, I don’t know about every photo, but I thought it was a good first time. I think the years I photographed cycling really helped.

      February 7, 2015
  2. Seals are so cute, and entertaining.

    February 7, 2015
    • I think so too, I’ve been watching the seals at the zoo for a long time.

      February 7, 2015
  3. My 8 year old kid was watching the pictures while I was reading this post. He said like 10 times “woooow” “zot cool” . 😉

    February 7, 2015
    • Tell you kid, thank you, that is a great compliment, thanks David.

      February 7, 2015
  4. Thank you. Love to see the Seals!

    February 7, 2015
    • You’re welcome, I love them too, thanks.

      February 7, 2015
  5. Great selection of photos. Our Marineland was shut as the performing dolphins died and by law we weren’t allowed to replace them – they would have had to come from the sea. But when I am able to walk better I must go to our Underworld experience – stingrays and sharks are there. And also to work on my camera skills.

    February 7, 2015
    • That is sad Raewyn, I think all the ones at this zoo are there because they couldn’t survive in the wild. So some are there just for a short time and then are released back into the wild. I hope you get a day soon to go Raewyn, I look forward to seeing the photos, thank you.

      February 7, 2015
  6. I share your feelings about zoos. The good ones are great places to visit, not just for photography. You’ve got a lot of nice shots that accomplish what you set out to do, show us the fun time you had.

    February 7, 2015
    • Our zoo is great to the animals, but also in the education of people who come to the zoo. Everywhere you go there is information about endangered species, and others that could become so. I did have fun John and I am glad you can see that. So many more photos to come. Thank you.

      February 7, 2015
  7. The seals at the Central Park Zoo when I was a kid (I haven’t been there in a long time) used to toss their balls out into the crowd then we would all scurry around and throw them back. The played the game. We fetched 🙂 I love seals and this is a great post.

    February 7, 2015
    • What a great story Marilyn, I love it, thank you for sharing it. I love them too, they are so much fun.

      February 7, 2015
  8. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    It looks to me like you snapped some great shots. Seals move like lightning so that you got as many as you did is amazing. And you are right, a membership will give you time to practice more often.

    February 7, 2015
    • Thank you Jackie, oh they do move fast, you have to be able to anticipate what they are going to do, not always easy. I love the idea that I can go anytime and look at what they are doing, it is great.

      February 7, 2015
  9. dalleninabq #

    Wonderful images. These creatures move pretty quick, but you got some great photos of them in motion and of their “personalities”. Thanks for sharing, Leanne!

    February 7, 2015
    • Thank you, they do move fast, I think it is something I need to practice a lot more.

      February 7, 2015
  10. It gets my seal of approval.

    February 7, 2015
  11. j’adore

    February 7, 2015
  12. Creativethoughts #

    Reblogged this on rmdesigns and commented:
    I’ve been watching your blog actively for a while now, fantastic work!

    February 7, 2015
  13. I love the pictures! The action shots of the seals were wonderful! It really sounds like a nice zoo. There are zoos out there that aren’t so good and there are those that really treat the animals well. Yours seems to be very nice. We have a few zoos here in NJ, USA and they do the best they can. Many animals come from abusive situations and if it weren’t for zoos, they would have no place to go. 🙂

    February 7, 2015
    • It is a nice zoo, it is good because they do a lot to educate people about the animals as well. I really hope the zoos that aren’t good are slowly getting better. A lot of the animals at our zoo come from the same sort of ways. Tarwin is like that, she would have died if she’d been left in the wild. 🙂

      February 7, 2015
      • I hope zoos are learning too. People seem to be waking up to the suffering of animals these days. It’s a good thing.

        February 10, 2015
      • I think so too, and I agree, they are learning too, they have come along way.

        February 10, 2015
  14. Gr8 work..:)

    February 7, 2015
  15. Great photos Leanne. She’s a cutie, that’s for sure.

    February 7, 2015
    • Thanks Carol, I think so too, very cute.

      February 7, 2015
  16. We are members too and somehow we always miss the seal talk! I could sit for hours watching them swim in the underneath viewing area though!

    February 7, 2015
    • It is on 11.30 every day, you might have to make a special trip for it, I’ve seen it many times now, though only second time I’ve tried to photograph it. I haven’t really spent any time watching them under water, I might have to do that next time.

      February 7, 2015
  17. Brilliant photos leanne!!

    February 7, 2015
  18. Fun photos and how great that they also give an environmental educational lesson while also entertaining. Edutainment at its best.

    February 7, 2015
    • I think so too Jodi, it is great, you have a captive audience so why not educate them at the same time. Thanks

      February 8, 2015
  19. She is beautiful and it is hard when they move so quickly …they may not be wild but still they are a living creature and as such can present challenges when trying to capture shots I think you did really well 🙂

    February 7, 2015
    • It is hard Bev, you have to be so quick, just as well I have good reflexes. I agree, just because they are at the zoo doesn’t mean many of what Susan was talking about doesn’t come into play, though the patience you need is for the other people at the zoo, waiting for them to get out of your way, 😉

      February 8, 2015
      • Exactly! at least out here I have no tourists..i did get head butted by a tourist at the reef ..she was so intent on getting to hassle the damn Wrasse..the photographer was trying to get a shot of us with him..she cracked ne right in the head..the photographer barrelled her about allowing the animals to come to you..i mena I stay where I am they come nearer..people make it a lot harder!

        February 8, 2015
      • What a cow, I hate that sort of thing, people just don’t seem to have any concept sometimes that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

        February 8, 2015
      • I know…stupid 🙂

        February 8, 2015
      • stupid, stupid people.

        February 8, 2015
      • Hahaahah 🙂

        February 8, 2015
      • 😀

        February 9, 2015
      • :0

        February 9, 2015
  20. Finally got a chance to look at your post (been busy going through the Wetlands photos we took today). I love the seals. They are brilliant and so engaging! As I was telling you when I first started the website, I did a most on Australian Fur Seals at Judgement Rocks in the middle of Bass Strait. Here is the link . http://sv-takeiteasy.com/2014/06/17/seals-of-judgement

    February 7, 2015
    • I got some ones I’m really happy with Chris, thank you so much for taking me there. I think your journey with them would have been so amazing. I know it was all “pleasant” but seeing them in the wild would be amazing. Thank you.

      February 8, 2015
  21. paulrk029 #

    “When I first started to prepare the photos for this post I was going to show lots of the animals, but the thing we did that we enjoyed the most was watching the Seal show or talk.  We watched Tarwin and I took so many photos that I decided to share the show with you in images, I hope you don’t mind.”

    Not at at all, Leanne. It’s a wonderful post, with excellent photos. It was a pleasure to read it.

    Including a link to Tarwin’s story was a bonus. This bit was especially interesting:
    ‘[Tarwin] is not as food motivated as the other seals and tends to chew her fish instead of swallowing it whole, which is unusual for a seal.  Her favourites are Pilchards and Tommy Ruff.’

    🙂

    February 8, 2015
    • Thank you Paul, that is good to know, I was worried people might get bored with so many photos of the same thing.

      The story was a great find, glad I thought to see if I could find something. An amazing animal. I know, now I want to go back and see her eating.

      February 8, 2015
  22. Seals are my favorite of the animal kingdom…beautiful shots Leanne…thank you for sharing ☺

    February 8, 2015
    • Seals are gorgeous, I love watching them, have always enjoyed the seal show at the zoo, I’ve seen it many times and each time it seems a little different. You’re welcome Julia, and thank you too.

      February 8, 2015
      • http://wp.me/s5krRh-seals my own humble post a few months ago…just thrilling to live a 10 minute walk from seeing them in the wild…they know when they have it good! Lol

        February 9, 2015
      • That would be thrilling, I think I saw one once down the coast and I think Apollo Bay get them, might have to check it out. Thanks Julia.

        February 9, 2015
      • You’re most welcome ☺

        February 9, 2015
      • 🙂

        February 9, 2015
  23. Such a fun post Leanne – looks like you had a very fun day. Really great images. Tarwin makes me think of the seals at Seaworld 😃

    February 8, 2015
    • I don’t remember the seals at seaworld, then again, it was about 30 years ago that I went. We did have a great day, thank you.

      February 8, 2015
  24. You’ve captured their delightful personality Leanne!

    February 8, 2015
    • I tried to Cybele, so that is great you think I did, thank you.

      February 8, 2015
  25. I particularly like the ones splashing through the water 🙂

    February 8, 2015
    • Oh yes, they were the hardest to get too, but the ones I am the happiest with, so that is great, thank you.

      February 8, 2015
  26. So cute and beautiful!!!

    February 9, 2015
    • Oh yes, totally, I love them too. Thanks Rexlin.

      February 9, 2015
  27. some great action shots! looks like fun!

    February 13, 2015
    • It was fun, I watched her again today. Thank you.

      February 13, 2015

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