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Sometimes it’s better to take an environmental portrait

by Darren

This grey seal pup was just hours old when I saw it at Donna Nook on the Lincolnshire coast – on it’s lower belly you can still see the remains of the umbilical cord hanging.

Mum was nearby, and made her views known when some photographers recklessly got too close. These idiots were less than a foot away, and it wasn’t just one at a time. They’d brought a crate to sit on so we had one sitting, one laying and a couple standing over a newborn. It’s a life and death situation – anything we do that causes the mother to abandon the pup will mean tragedy.

I know this all too well because on a previous trip I had watched a female tossing a pup in the air. Either the mother hadn’t recognised her own, or she had left and another female resented the pup’s appeal for food. Whether it was the result of human contact earlier in the day I can’t know.

It is so important that we remain observers in the natural world. The outcome of taking the access we want without due care is usually heartbreaking. And sometimes nature is heartbreaking anyway, all on it’s own.

Oh, and if you step back occasionally and look at the wider view, you’ll improve your photography.  It’s a win-win!

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