Forest-like patches of bull kelp, a rocky shoreline, small islands and protected bays add up to Sea Otter habitat. While there always seem to be at least a few of these engaging animals in the nearshore sea along the Chignik coast, late spring and early summer when mothers can be found nursing pups is a particularly rewarding time to look for them. We found the pair in this photo on June 28, 2020 along with over 100 additional otters just outside of Anchorage Bay, an inset of the larger Chignik Bay. The mother’s surprised expression and the hint of the pup’s pink tongue set this photo apart from other captures we got that day.
Shooting from a boat at sea is always challenging as subject and photographer alike are continuously in motion. Reflected by water, light can overwhelm an image causing highlights to be blown out. For a moment, clouds obscured the sun, but there was still enough light to set the ISO low, close the aperture enough to keep both mother and pup in focus, and still shoot fast enough to get a clear image on a gently bouncing sea. (Nikon D850, 600mm f/4, 1/2500 at f/8, ISO 500.)