Northern elephant seals were hunted almost to extinction. In fact, in the early part of the 20th century, they were actually thought to be extinct. With strict protection, their numbers have flourished. When I photographed these two males battling over the right to mate with a harem in 1985, there were 11,000 elephant seals. Now there are about 150,000. It's a great conservation success story. I sought and obtained special permission to spend four days on San Miguel Island (part of the Channel Islands National Park near Ventura, California) to photograph the seals, and this picture of two 5000 pound males in a bloody fight was my favorite. I walked among thousands of beached seals during the mating season, constantly watchful I didn't get too close to any of the adults. In an attack, I definitely would have lost! On the first day, my hand held meter broke, so for the next four days I used my knowledge of light to determine all of the exposures, 95% of which were correct. I used a Mamiya RZ 67, a 250mm lens, and the settings were unrecorded by they were probably 1/400 and f/5.6. I was shooting with Ektachrome 64 at the time -- 64 ISO.