Wildlife Photographer Almost Gets Hugged to Death by Baby Elephant Seal


You never know what you are going to get with wildlife photography.

That goes double for the photographers themselves who end up putting themselves in some pretty dangerous situations – whether they know it or not.

(If you’re interested in our other articles about wildlife photography, you can click here to open a new tab and read those when you have time.)

elephant seal
Image by Anchor Lee

Photographers Chris and his wife Jess Bray found themselves caught up in an interesting situation on a recent shoot in Antarctica when a baby elephant seal decided to get up close and personal with Jess.

In his own words, Chris Bray said:

“It was while we were ashore in South Georgia on this huge gravel beach filled with King Penguins and elephant seals that Jess laid down on the ground to get some cool low-angle shots of some passing King Penguins…Suddenly one of these huge baby elephant seals flopped over to investigate Jess, and was soon joined by another.

Before she knew it, she was being squashed by several of these 100kg+ [220+ pound] adorable animals, snuffling, burping and sniffing all over her. The same thing happened to me and a few of our photo tour guests. A totally unforgettable experience!”

For his part, Bray is no stranger to wildlife and unpredictable situations when it comes to photography and nature. He both works for Australian Geographic magazine and he and his wife lead others photographers on bespoke tours to “wildlife photography hotspots” according to PetaPixel.

And how might this story have ended if the elephant seal been an adult instead of a baby? Adult elephant seals can weigh about 4,000kg.

You can watch a video the encounter with the friendly baby seal over on YouTube by clicking here.

Are you a wildlife photographer? Share your best stories with us in the comments section below.


What We Recommend to Improve Your Photography Fast

It's possible to get some pretty large improvements in your photography skills very fast be learning some fundamentals. Consider this the 80:20 rule of photography where 80% of the improvements will come from 20% of the learnable skills. Those fundamentals include camera craft, composition, understanding light and mastering post-production. Here are the premium guides we recommend.

  1. html cleaner  Easy DSLR –  Friend of Light Stalking, Ken Schultz has developed this course over several years and it still remains the single best source for mastering your camera by identifying the main things that are holding you back.
  2. Word to html  Understanding Composition – As one of the core elements of a good photograph, getting your head around composition is essential. Photzy's guide to the subject is an excellent introduction. Their follow-up on Advanced Composition is also well worth a read.
  3. Word to html  Understanding Light – Also by Photzy, the other essential part of photography is covered in this epic guide and followed up in Understanding Light, Part 2. This is fundamental stuff that every photographer should aim to master.
  4. Word to html  5 Minute Magic Lightroom Workflow – Understanding post production is one of the keys to photographs that you will be proud of. This short course by one of the best in the business will show you how an award-winning photographer does it.

About Author


Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *