penguin beach party

One sight remained high on our to-see list in Patagonia:  a killer whale launching itself onto a beach to eat a sea lion.  While this sight is fairly rare, especially at this time of the year, we decided to give it our best shot, and got up at 5:30 AM to drive for two hours even further in to the wilderness, to Punta Norte.  There, a vast colony of sea lions lounged on the brink between sea and shore, perfectly situated to be seized by an orca.  We found the best photographic angle, and sat down.

Welcome to life as a wildlife photographer.  Find the animals, ready your equipment, sit down, and wait.  Wait for hours.  Keep your eyes fixed on everything that could possibly be what you’re looking for.  Maybe you’ll see it and take that winning shot, or maybe you’ll just sit there and get sunburned.

In my case, there was only about fifteen minutes of waiting before I was fast asleep in the dirt, cradling my camera, which at that point had too big of a lens to fit in my bag.  I actually slept really well, and am quite pleased with own abilities to apparently sleep anywhere, anytime, but should probably invest in a large coffee thermos if I am going to take my wildlife photography career a little more seriously.

No orcas spotted, we began the trip back to Punta Delgada, and were ecstatic to encounter a penguin colony along the way!  The colors at that time of day were mind blowing.  Yes, I know, we’re going to Antarctica soon, but these are different penguins, that seemed to be having a beach party!  Good to get used to photographing them while the conditions are a little more hospitable than Antarctica.  It was undoubtedly the highlight of the day.

We spent the rest of the afternoon hiking down the cliffs to get a closer look at some elephant seals, and going horseback riding along the cliffs.  Epic day.

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