OP – The Blog

February 7th, 2012

Manatee 08

Posted By Jon Cornforth

Manatee 08, Crystal River State Park, Florida

Manatees are so ugly that they are adorable. This picture clearly illustrates that point. I spent hours in the water waiting for a manatee to pose for me like this. Whenever I photograph wild animals, I do not chase after or harass them. I can never force a picture to happen. That is why I wait patiently for them to reveal themselves to me. Eventually, an animal will become comfortable with my presence and I will be able to photograph a beautiful portrait like this. This manatee was actually nibbling on my toes, so it let me know that is was very friendly and curious. With my permit from the USF&WS, I was able to gently drop down to the bottom and allow the manatee to swim right up to my camera. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII and 17-40mm f4 lens with a +3 diopter in my Ikelite 5DmkII housing with 8″ dome port. This image is a single exposure which was mostly processed using Aperture 3.0. I also cloned out particles floating in the water using Photoshop CS5.

Click here to purchase a print of this image.


Please leave a comment

  1. James Hamilton Says:

    Jon, they may be ugly but remember that ancient mariners thought they were beautiful mermaids!

  2. Jon Cornforth Says:

    You are quite right, James. I am sure that they probably think that humans look funny, too. I sent my daughters some pics joking with them about how ugly the manatees were, but they assured me that they were totally adorable! If you think that this manatee is cute, then you will love this image, http://attractionsmagazine.com/blog/2008/07/25/orphan-baby-manatee-nursed-at-seaworld-picture/

  3. James Hamilton Says:

    Jon, that one is simply precious! Thanks for sharing the link.

  4. Jon Cornforth Says:

    I’m glad that you enjoyed that link. My daughters want to look at that picture more than mine. I actually came close to being the 1st person to ever photograph a manatee birth, but that momma headed back out, so we left her alone. The biologists were very helpful while that was going on.

  5. Margaret Says:

    Jon, these photos are incredible. I especially liked the last one with the “rainbows” reflecting through the water. Best manatee photos I’ve seen.

  6. James Hamilton Says:

    Jon, the birth of a manatee in the wild would have certainly been a photographic coup but I commend you for not pursuing the opportunity and allowing nature to happen without human interference. If your daughters like momma-offspring pictures they might enjoy the following link of an image I captured in my backyard last summer during a torrential rain and hail storm –
    http://mountainmemories.zenfolio.com/p649434040/h23459791 I took it from a window so there was no threat to the animals.

  7. Jon Cornforth Says:

    Margaret-That is very kind of you to say. I agree that the rainbow refraction patterns really make that image. There is a ton of color on the hi-res version that is quite nice.

  8. Jon Cornforth Says:

    James-My 9 year old was not impressed, but your image received an audible “aawwwww” from my 6 year old. Thank you for sharing it.

Leave a Comment

We welcome constructive comments and discussion. To keep the conversation polite, we will remove comments that we feel are disruptive, including abusive language and personal attacks against a contributor or another commenter. Repeated offenses may result in a permanent restriction from commenting.