Beauty or a Beast?

I know this is hard to believe but my daughter thinks I’m wrong! The only proper way to settle this is to let the people decide. So here’s a reasonable facsimile of how our conversation went. Read it and then tell us who you think is right.

But first a little background. On our last trip to California to visit her, I made sure we went to see the elephant seals. It was mating season and the beach was loaded up with these fascinating creatures. I spent hours enjoying and photographing them. What an opportunity! Later I shared a few photos with my daughter. Here’s the conversation …

Me: Hey Jace, check your email and tell me what you think of these elephant seals.

Jacey (my daughter): Ok, let me check. I still don’t think that there’s any way that you took pictures that I liked. You’re good, but you’re not that good.

Me: Oh come on, they are awesome creatures! I even have a few in here that you’ll like. The mother/daughter ones are special.

Jacey: I doubt it but I’ll check it out.


Jacey: Well that’s ok. But they still aren’t my favorite animals. One of the problems is that if people warn you about the smell before you get there, you know it’s going to be bad!

Me: Why focus on smell, when there are magnificent animals in front of you? Some of the males were up to 5,000 pounds (2,300 kgs). Nobody calls them skinny!

Jacey: I agree. They are really flabby and fatty. When they moved it was like watching them use all their might just to scooch their sorry butts on to the sand.

Me: I was stunned to see how fast those big guys could move. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to out run them in a short beach sprint.

Jacey: That’s the scary part! They’re fat and fast – a fatal combination. They are just lazy, lying around on the beach, then all of a sudden they’re grunting and chasing females at full speed.

Me: But look at all those great scars on the big boys. You can’t be too lazy if you’re getting into fights like that!

Jacey: I guess not, but still …

Me: So what’s the real reason that you don’t like them?

Jacey: They are disgusting looking animals! They are the exact opposite of cute.

Me: Oh yes how could I forget you only like wildlife photos that are cute? Well then how about these cuties? Surely you must like them.


Jacey: Well one of the thousands of pictures that you took was bound to be cute. I can deal with that one.

Me: Yes!

Well there you have it folks. I’m totally enamoured with elephant seals but my daughter – not so much. Who do you agree with?


Latest Comments

  1. badfish says:

    I agree with you both: when they are young, they are cute. When old, not so much. They are not on my list of favorite animals, but I would certainly go photograph them if I could!


  2. Jeff Bell says:

    I think you are both right. Those seals on the bottom photo are undeniably cute. But that bull on the top photo is ugly. And the smell. It is so bad. But then again, ask your daughter how she’d smell if she ate nothing but fish and laid around all day. Yeah, that is what I thought.

    On a side note, I recently learned that a seal in Thai is called a “water cat.” Now that is a cute name.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Water cat works! But I can’t believe you don’t like that gorgeous bull! All that power and occasionally some grace – ok maybe very little. Ah well I guess it’s my lonely preference but I’m sticking with it:)


  3. melodylowes says:

    Ha! Daughters. And said daughters’ opinions. Meh. I say take pics of the smelly beasts to your heart’s content! Again, great shots. You must have been so pumped. Until your daughter took you down a notch. Which seems to be the entire purpose of daughters. That and spending money. My daughter is recently back from seven months in Europe and has been sharing some of her adventures with us. So far no cute animals… 🙂


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I was pumped and actually nothing could take me down a notch. I just think they are wonderful. I knew my chances of convincing her were slim to none going in so didn’t lose anything. People generally don’t change much. But we had fun putting the post together. The Europe trip sounds fun. If she didn’t take photos of cute animals … what’s left:)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. dweezer19 says:

    Thank you. They really ARE beautiful.


  5. dweezer19 says:

    That first shot really emphasizes the origin of their name as well. It isn’t just thwir size. That mouth resembles an elephant’s trunk! Lucky you. I only saw seals once in San Francisco. My dream is to see them in Ireland..


  6. dweezer19 says:

    The seals have it in spades….


  7. Mandy says:

    Liked your photos as usual (first one is my favourite) but especially liked seeing your family here on the blog. Great post.


  8. Patrizia M. says:

    Io li trovo bellissimi, magari non profumano però se potessi averla, non perderei mai l’occasione di fare foto.
    Le tue sono molto molto belle.
    Saluti, Patrizia


  9. Dalo 2013 says:

    Your daughter is brilliant. You…well, I’m late for work, get back to you later about that… 🙂
    Great series of photos, and that last shot, yes it is the keeper of the lot!


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Well that got me laughing! You’re absolutely right about my daughter (and me). Glad you enjoyed the shots though I’m still not budging on liking the first one better!!


  10. sheketechad says:

    Just remember, most women are somewhat hardwired to gravitate towards small, cute things (sorry to all the sexism police out there) – it is how our species continues, as when those small, cute things keep you up all night, throw up on you, smell near nigh to elephant seals at times, drain you and make lots of noise – well, something has to keep us from walking away from them 🙂
    Your daughter will love you anyway, whether she finds elephant seals beautiful or not at this stage in her life. (great shots!)


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I always wondered about the attraction to babies and now I know. Your clever insertion of the elephant seal smell had me chuckling – I’ve smelled both! My daughter and I had fun putting this post together – why not enjoy a good disagreement!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Gunta says:

    They’re not the cutest critters in my opinion, but they’re a likely improvement over snakes. That first shot definitely looks like a nose job gone very, horribly bad.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      I must snakes are a pretty low bar to fall over so it’s not looking too good for them. I thoroughly enjoyed your description of the nose job. It’s such a crazy thing I can’t stop looking at it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Steve Gingold says:

    I’m on the fence. Are we talking beautiful in terms of wanting to give one a little smooch or beautiful as creatures that have adapted to a life in water basking on the beach where there is not so much support? Anyway, a super telephoto helps deal with the stench.


  13. Lavinia Ross says:

    Now the real question is, what do the elephant seal think of us humans? They might be judging our own ideas of cuteness harshly! 🙂 An old Star Trek the New Generation episode came to mind, the one where Commander Data is infected with Nanites, who then were able to speak through Data by interfacing with his positronic brain. Their description of humanoid life forms was not flattering…


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Well now you’re really upseting the apple cart! Never thot they’d be judging my cute factor. Hopefully they were distracted by the camera or I’d end up on the beast side of that equation:)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. David says:

    Having raised a daughter, I don’t think anyone (other than the queen – i.e. mother) should step into a disagreement between daughter and father. I also think you got some pretty fabulous photos of a pretty disgusting looking, but fabulous, animal.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. renxkyoko says:

    I don’t know…. like your daughter, I don’t find them cute, either…. I guess they’re okay. * cough *


  16. Pam says:

    You’d need a rest too if you spent months continuously hunting fish! They also have one of the longest animal migrations in the world. It is a well deserved and needed break. I think they are the best! And by the way, they have beautiful eyes.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Yes the more I looked into what these creatures do the more fascinating they became. Incredible journeys they take.

      Thanks to your great advice back in September, I found this place in Cambria. It was everything you said and more.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Sheldon Hoffman says:

    I have to agree with you on this one I think your daughter will grow to realize that they are more beauty than beast….


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