4th Place Mirrorless Wide-Angle Ocean Art 2015 Adam Taylor

4th Place, Mirrorless Wide-Angle

Adam Taylor

"California Sea Lion"



Adam won a gift certificate from Bluewater!


The story:  For me this image captures the curiosity and playfulness of juvenile California Sea Lions. The long interaction we had with well over a dozen of his / her friends was the highlight of an amazing six day live-aboard trip to California’s Channel Islands.

After discovering their scuba diving playmates the sea lions would raft up in the shallows just outside the breaking waves, wrestle and play fight as a group then dive bomb divers in pairs or small groups. With each pass they would become bolder until those brave enough would tag our camera strobes or even a body part with their nose. The sea lion in this image was coming in to tag my left strobe before darting off to rejoin his friends. 

Water conditions were great, but with bright sunlight behind the sea lions on the surface. As they descended the amount of available light changed greatly depending on the angle and direction faced. Add strong surge, occasional bubble curtains from waves breaking on shore and multiple fast moving subjects and it was often challenging to properly frame your subjects.

The sea lions obviously enjoyed the interaction as much as the divers, some even followed us back to the boat and waited impatiently for us to fill our tanks and return for a second dive. After spending well over an hour interacting with these playful puppies I didn’t want to get out of the water, it was truly magical. But unlike them, the strong surge tired me out forcing a return to the boat, and reality…

Location:  Landing Cove, Santa Barbara Island, California

Camera:  Olympus EM-5 with 12-40 f2.8 lens at 12mm in Nauticam Housing with two YS-D1 Strobes and a Sola 800 photo light

Settings:  ISO 800, f/7.1, 1/250


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