Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Matakaea Reserve

with 18 comments

A year and a day ago we continued north from the Orkokonui Ecosanctuary and stopped at the Matakaea Reserve, where we saw gulls and fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) sharing coastal rocks surrounded by bull kelp (Durvillaea antarctica or D. poha) darker than the yellow strain we’d seen at Stirling Point three days earlier.

Click for greater size and detail.

Most of the seals, like the one below, drowsed on the rocks. (Thanks to a 280mm focal length and some cropping of the image, you might think I was closer than I actually was.)

A few of the seals shook off their lethargy and mixed it up.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 28, 2018 at 4:49 AM

18 Responses

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  1. The information about Matakaea that you linked mentioned large, round boulders as a feature of the area. I wonder if those aren’t the concretions that you showed after one of your trips.

    There’s a sense of something I’d call ‘heaviness’ in these photos. They aren’t heavy in the sense of being gloomy or depressing; it’s more a matter of size and heft. The rocks, the seals, and even the kelp don’t have a bit of delicacy to them; it’s possible to see how everything fits together in a way that reflects the environment around them.


    February 28, 2018 at 6:57 AM

  2. It would be wonderful to be able to stretch out like that, on a rock, or beach, and sleep so blissfully. (But I guess I’d rather have the comfortable padding on my mattress, and not my midsection.)

    Robert Parker

    February 28, 2018 at 7:37 AM

    • Well said about the placement of the padding, with extrinsic being favored over intrinsic for people (especially those of us of a certain age), and the opposite for seals.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 28, 2018 at 9:08 AM

  3. I notice these creatures have ears – are they seals or sea lions?


    February 28, 2018 at 7:54 AM

  4. Beautiful images. The first one looks like a painting. In P.R. there are rocky beaches such as these, although of course, there are no seals there.


    February 28, 2018 at 6:04 PM

    • Is that because the waters around Puerto Rico are too warm?

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 28, 2018 at 9:38 PM

      • Yes. Seals like the colder waters. I think the only seal-like mammal that likes warm waters is the manatee. I saw it in Florida once.


        February 28, 2018 at 9:48 PM

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