Grey Seal off the end of Smeatons Pier, St Ives, Cornwall; 21 Sept 2016.
We’ve just spent a few days in Hayle, down near the southwestern tip of Cornwall – and the English weather, always an uncertainty, has been good to us. When in this part of the world, a visit to beautiful St Ives is always a treat, and especially so on a bright sunny day with the tide in – the colours and light are simply out of this world – maybe because St Ives is surrounded on two or three sides by the bright sea.
Good things about this image? Well, it was the first time my wife had seen this creature in the wild, which was a huge plus. We’ve never seen seals there before, and the newly erected warnings about feeding them may mean that, like gulls, crows, Foxes and many others, these denizens of wild coasts have also developed a liking for Man’s tasty titbits. Certainly an incoming fishing boat threw him some welcome morsels, which were hastily gobbled up – but maybe a Cornish pasty might send him sinking down to the bottom!
And also, just look at the colour of that seawater – for someone brought up along the muddy shores of the Bristol Channel, these clear, emerald waters are beautiful beyond belief.
But getting a shot like this with the X-T1’s auto focus is really not that easy – I was wishing I’d listened to my better judgement and brought a Nikon along for the day. And neither am I a fan of the X-T1’s electronic viewfinder (or of electronic viewfinders in general) for such encounters with the natural world – for many subjects, many of the things I shoot, the X-T1’s viewfinder is a real treat to use, but where the subject is moving, things aren’t so straightforward.
However, Amateur Photographer magazine has just dropped through our letterbox – and its in depth review of the X-T2, the X-T1’s successor, praises the improvements in auto focus speed on the new model – so maybe that problem is solved. But at the moment, for the moving natural world – and especially if I’m close in to it – I prefer the speed and accuracy of the Nikons’ autofocus, and their speed of light, optical viewfinders.
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X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO.