Homosassa Springs, Florida
Canon Camera with wide angle lens with nature light
2 meters (6 feet of water at depth) during the day
When shooting with natural light only, you want the sun behind you and the subject in front you. The strobes of a camera are not good for the eyes of the manatees so you have to use the sun to your advantage. Manatees do not usually swim in deeper water because they cannot equalize their ears. That is why you will always see them in the shallows. The only natural predators to manatees are humans. Reckless propellors from boats are usually the offenders, giving injuries or death to manatees. Safe boating practices can be maintained by following the signs for slowing down in no wake zones and manatee zones. This manatee was sitting on the bottom of a shallow river when it decided it needed to come up for air. The reflection off water was possible because the water surface was so flat. The river also did not have any sediment kicked up and it made for great conditions. The sun was coming out of the clouds behind me which helped act as natural strobe for this image. I opened up the aperture and shutter speeds to brighten the image on the camera right before I took the shot. This manatee was very friendly and came right up to me after it took a breath of air. Manatees are driven to the rivers when the ocean temperatures drop. They need to stay in water that is greater than 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) in order to avoid hypothermia. November to March is usually when you see the manatees in the rivers north of Tampa, Florida. When the temperature goes back up, they then go out to the Gulf of Mexico where they feed on sea grass.
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