Manatee 08

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.

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    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.

    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 – I took it from a window so there was no threat to the animals.

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