Photographer: Mark Aberle, Ballard

Photo taken: July 20, along a Puget Sound beach

Photographer’s description: “Sailed over to Poulsbo and captured this seal with an itch. Shot with a Nikon D5100.”

Expert says: “This photo is all about the moment — what a great, great moment. Is the seal laughing? Bashful? Whatever emotion Mark Aberle captured, it pulls at my heart strings. It could be a slightly out-of-focus, crooked photo, but if it makes you feel something, that’s a sign of a good photo. Photography is so subjective because not everyone is going to feel that same emotion. (But that’s a long discussion.) The rule of thirds is used nicely. Some amateur photographers might feel the need to get the whole seal in the frame; that’s not always necessary. Get in tight and get that moment big. I love the moments.”

Save 75% on a Digital Subscription Today

– Katie G. Cotterill, Seattle Times photo staff

Share your recent photo from around the Northwest. Submit online at (and see an online gallery of other Reader’s Lens photos). We judge the best and award a prize every December.