Sea Otter Mother with Pup Beside Morro Bay CA 14 Dec 2009

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    Sea Otter Mother with Pup Beside Morro Bay CA 14 Dec 2009. Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) (marine mammal) Mothers with Pups are seen near Target Rock in the Morro Bay, CA harbor entrance near Morro Rock, 14 Dec 2009. Photo by Michael "Mike" L. Baird, mike [at} mikebaird d o t com,; Canon 1D Mark III, Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens (no circular polarizer), handheld, braced on breakwater rocks, taken from just 2-3 feet above water level.

    16 Dec 2009 Creative Commons intended use - The Central Coast Natural History Association (CCNHA), related to the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History, sells postcards as fund-raisers, and regularly uses my nature photos... this otter and pup has been selected for a new postcard.

    Tech note: +2/3rds overexposed to bring out detail in dark fur.
    It is hard to beat auto exposure mode (vs. aperture- or shutter-priority) to get a good compromise balance between a fast enough shutter speed to avoid motion blur, and enough depth-of-field (DOF) for a good documentation image (as I'm not going for the artistic shallow DOF w/ strong bokah, portrait-style model shot here). This shot was taken as late in the day as possible, and just minutes before Morro Rock shadowed the scene, at which point in time natural-light photography became hopeless. I need to learn to bring off-camera flash to this location to fully exploit the opportunity.

    Twenty Habits of Highly Effective Photographers - by Mike Baird.
    1. Shoot every day. Not only will you be exposed to more opportunities, but you will soon be able to make camera and lens setting adjustments without even looking, and without delay.
    2. Process your images the day you shoot them, so that you can learn better from your mistakes.
    3. Save only a few images per day, and write down in the description field a technical or artistic note about why that image worked for you.
    4. Make early or late light your friend.
    5. Use a tripod when it will yield a sharper image - tack sharp is your goal.
    6. Get closer for more impact when shooting most subjects.
    7. Get low, and if you are shooting anything with eyes, be at the subject's eye level.
    8. Experiment with both landscape and portrait modes.
    9. Always study and use the light - "make" a photo, don't just take it.
    10. Compose in thirds for most scenes.
    11. Focus on an eye if it's in the scene. If there are two eyes, focus on the one closest to you.
    12. Make the background just as important as your subject.
    13. Use fill flash in the daytime when shooting people's faces.
    14. Use a circular polarizer around water.
    15. Always have a camera with you.
    16. Share your photos and techniques online - Flickr is effective.
    17. Use burst mode and take a lot of candidate images, especially with live subjects.
    18. Always shoot in RAW format to preserve the most information.
    19. Invest in high quality bodies, tripods, and lenses when you can if you find photography to be worth your passion.
    20. Make a list of some of your most important habits and post it here.
    Michael "Mike" L. Baird Mike [at} mikebaird d o t com

    16 Dec 2009 Creative Commons intended use - The Central Coast Natural History Association (CCNHA), related to the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History, sells postcards as fund-raisers, and regularly uses my nature photos... here is a typical request. From: Dorian Farrow [mailto:dfccnha [at} gmail d ot com]; Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 1:05 PM; To: Baird, Michael; Subject: Otter and "child" new photo. Hi Mike, This is a wonderful new photo. Can we ask for your kind permission to reproduce this as a postcard? Thanks! Dorian Farrow, General Manager, Central Coast Natural History Association; 1320 Van Beurden Drive, Suite 202 Los Osos, CA 93402 Phone: 805-528-1397 Fax: 805-528-1459

    Profiles of Nature, edpuskas, and 37 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 10 more comments

    1. flythebirdpath~}~}~} 53 months ago | reply

      A powerful emotional impact and winning image. My heart skipped a few beats when I saw this endearing closeup. Awesome, Mike!

    2. margspix 53 months ago | reply

      This really is a beautiful shot. I love the light in the eyes.

    3. Steve Corey 53 months ago | reply

      This is almost 3D. I feel like I could reach out and touch that pups soft coat.

    4. Pat Ulrich 53 months ago | reply

      so cute! really great shot!

    5. Ed.Stockard 53 months ago | reply

      great shot. Cute lil fur ball.

    6. dave and rose 53 months ago | reply

      Thanks for the photo (and) Tech notes.

    7. Jenna Stirling 53 months ago | reply

      Adorable shot! I miss being able to watch those little guys so much. Thanks for the photo updates!

    8. docentjoyce 53 months ago | reply

      Love this mom and pup. Seen them a couple of times. Mom works full time caring for her little darling.

    9. RyanKinnett 53 months ago | reply

      Another instant classic, Mike!

      As always, thanks for the advice.

    10. grandmasandy+chuck 53 months ago | reply

      It is so rare to get eye contact from both mother and pup as you did in this shot. I loved this series so much that I went back to see the otters in Morro Bay yesterday.

    11. dsidd 53 months ago | reply

      Great shot Mike!

    12. d.r.garvin 53 months ago | reply

      Awesome family image. Great focus & composition.

    13. kamundse 51 months ago | reply

      Awwww that is too cute! Sigh, I have major lens envy.

    14. Dromelet 50 months ago | reply

      This beautiful photograph was used in an e-book about sea otters created online at and in a multimedia collage at

    15. Rosa Blue 40 months ago | reply

      Hi, I love the photo and used it in a blog post --"One mom, one son, one day."

      I wanted to tell you and of course, it links back to your photostream. Thanks for the inspiration!

      From Rosa Michelle @ Dogkisses's blog on Wordpress.

    16. mikebaird 40 months ago | reply

      Rosa Michelle, I see your cute use at of my Sea Otter mom and Pup - thanks for the Creative Commons use note
      Come back for more images in 2011!

    17. mikebaird 33 months ago | reply

      02 Aug 2011 Creative Commons use request approved:
      Q: ccitkat14 has sent you a message on Flickr. Subject: request photo use. Date: 2nd August, 2011. Hello, I was googling for an image of the Southern Sea Otter and really enjoy your pictures, like the one on this website: I’d like to request permission to use one or two for the Los Padres ForestWatch's, a nonprofit, website. We highlight federally listed species found in the Los Padres National Forest on our site to bring about awareness. If so, do you have a file you could send me? We’d really appreciate it and give you credit, of course. Thank you! Cassidee Shinn, Conservation Intern, Los Padres ForestWatch, Post Office Box 831, Santa Barbara, CA 93102, 805.617.4610
      intern [at} LPFW d o t org
      A: Sure, I'd be honored. answers every question ever asked about using one of my photos under Creative Commons (CC) Attribution: How to attribute, access full-resolution versions, how to link back to the image page, and how to please comment on the image used linking to your use.

    18. Morro Bay National Estuary Program 7 months ago | reply

      Thank you for sharing this photo. We will use this photo as a banner on our Facebook page for Sea Otters Awareness Week.
      - Kathryn Winfrey, Morro Bay National Estuary Program

    19. mikebaird 7 months ago | reply

      Kathryn, thanks again for using my otter images as a banner on our Facebook page for Sea Otters Awareness Week, and for leaving the use note at

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