Unfortunately, what seemed a great photo opportunity probably came about because the seal is sick. There were some folk on the beach who told me they'd been watching him all day, and this was as active as he had gotten--except when animal control came by, at which point, he wouldn't let anyone near. Animal control was going to come again. Certainly he was paying far less attention to the presence of people (standing respectfully back, but still there) than he ought to have.
I hope he'll be ok. He may (I theorize based on almost no data) be one of the animals suffering from domoic acid. Or, maybe not. Maybe animal control was able to come, take him somewhere safe, and give him whatever medicine he needed.