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Thread: Prawns and Sea Otters

  1. #1

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    Prawns and Sea Otters

    Next weekend will be our first trip of the season on Prince William Sound. This is one of my favorite times of the year. We fish for cold water prawns (called shrimp in Alaska) and while the traps are soaking we (digitally) shoot a few sea otters. Here are a few shots from the past couple seasons.

    The quarry.

    Prawns and Sea Otters

    The gear.

    Prawns and Sea Otters

    Dinner.

    Prawns and Sea Otters

    Here's the other quarry, northern sea otters. The turquoise blue water is caused by fine glacial silt in the deep salt water. Depending on the amount of silt in the water it varies from a bright, light blue when there's a lot of silt (first photo) to deep green when there's little/no silt. When they float in a group it's called a raft of otters.

    Prawns and Sea Otters

    Over time I've learned that good otter shots are all about the water and the whiskers.

    Prawns and Sea Otters

    Prawns and Sea Otters

    Prawns and Sea Otters

    Better yet if you get close enough to a mom and pup. This is a nearly grown pup. There is no mating season for otters. They breed year round so there are always pups of various ages. The otter's fur is the highest density of any animal. The tight packed hairs trap air which insulates them from the near freezing water temperatures. This property also prevents the babies from being able to dive below the surface when they are real young. When danger approaches the mother will clutch the baby to her chest and dive. With this older pup, the mother allowed up to get a few decent frames.

    Prawns and Sea Otters

    Glacial ice isn't as photogenic as glassy smooth water but it's not bad. We also gather it to pack around the shrimp for the journey home.

    Prawns and Sea Otters

    You can see why I'm looking forward to next weekend
    Last edited by NorthernFocus; 4th May 2013 at 10:38 PM.

  2. #2
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Prawns and Sea Otters

    Nice shots and accompanying description/story. I can see why you love to shoot otters, what with them being cute and having expressive faces and behaviors.

    I look forward to seeing a thread covering this season's first trip...

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Prawns and Sea Otters

    Now, that is just not fair!

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    ... and while the traps are soaking we (digitally) shoot a few sea otters.

    Prawns and Sea Otters
    Coming from a country in which the otter is a species over which wildlife people go into raptures and strive to catch a glimpse of this elusive creature, and which I have never seen, we get presented with a glorious image in which a whole group of them are floating about together. It's not fair!!

    I'm going to one of the small islands off the west coast of Scotland fro a week in early June and had already decided that one of my goals is to try and see an otter.

    Wonderful images.

  4. #4
    Suzan J's Avatar
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    Re: Prawns and Sea Otters

    Love these otter shots. Numbers 5 and 6 are my favourites. It looks as if they are having as much fun watching you as you are in watching them.

  5. #5
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Prawns and Sea Otters

    Gorgeous, stunning photography. Thank you for sharing.

    Love the otters, 4,5,6,9, and 10 being my favourites

  6. #6

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    Re: Prawns and Sea Otters

    Thanks for the comments, folks. Donald the otters were hunted to near extinction by the Russian fur traders in the 17-1800s. They only survived in Prince William Sound with its many remote fjords and islands. They have repopulated all Alaskan waters now but remain most prolific in PWS. We have seen rafts of up to 200 animals hanging out together. You can pretty much count on them visiting pretty much any anchorage you choose to spend the night in PWS. The biggest challenges from a photography standpoint are range, lighting conditions, and finding them in smooth water.

  7. #7
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Prawns and Sea Otters

    Great set of shots Dan. The fourth Otter shot is my favourite.

    Dave

  8. #8
    Rhoads238's Avatar
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    Re: Prawns and Sea Otters

    oh my god those look delicious, and I'm not talking about the shrimp only kidding. Those prawns must be incredible, they're the size of langoustines.

  9. #9

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    Re: Prawns and Sea Otters

    Dan, all nice. Really like the image with the two otters.

    Karm

  10. #10

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    Re: Prawns and Sea Otters

    Thanks for the comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by dje View Post
    ...The fourth Otter shot is my favourite.
    That one is my all time favorite so far. I have a 12x24in version of it printed on aluminum on a well lit wall in my living room that looks awesome. I've sold a couple copies in that format also. I can never get a printed copy of the raft that looks right. I think it is because the water is so blue it doesn't look natural. Even knowing that it really is that blue, it just doesn't look right in print.

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