Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
scott_nielsen

Photographing Manatees

Recommended Posts

This will be our first time snorkeling with Manatees, in about 3 weeks, any tips, tricks, or settings you wish to share about shooting Manatees ? thanks in advance. Scott

ps. Strobes or now strobes???

Edited by scott_nielsen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This will be our first time snorkeling with Manatees, in about 3 weeks, and tips, tricks, or settings you wish to share about shooting Manatees ? thanks in advance. Scott

ps. Strobes or now strobes???

Tokina 10-17 is my favorite manatee lens on DX and I suspect it will be on FX as well with the 1.4 TC, though I have not used it yet with the manatees on FX. getting close is a given. ( I've used 16, 12-24 and 17-35)

Strobes on low for balanced light with ambient

Well weighted so you can sink when snorkelling

Have fun

Edited by loftus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tokina 10-17 is my favorite manatee lens on DX and I suspect it will be on FX as well with the 1.4 TC, though I have not used it yet with the manatees on FX. getting close is a given. ( I've used 16, 12-24 and 17-35)

Strobes on low for balanced light with ambient

Well weighted so you can sink when snorkelling

Have fun

thanks, I have the 10-17, and I will set the strobes on low light, any settings you wish to share? manual or app? iso? they say we can't wear a weight belt but I called and it seems that it's ok but you cannot get weight from them. My wetsuit has pockets, so either way, not a problem thanks..ps. do you wear gloves in the cold water?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as settings go that's very variable I think depending on viz, the time / ambient light etc. Also, since I started using the D700 I use higher ISO's like 800 using the stobes only to paint in a little light. I have been trying to rely more on natural light. So I set exposure for the background and paint in as much light as needed.

With the D300, ISO 400, f8, 1/80 strobes at 1/4-1/8 power may be a good starting point. Depending what time you are in the water there may be more or less ambient light. I don't think it's any different than other CFWA photography really.

The dive operators do discourage weight belts because they don't want people diving down chasing the manatees, and it's very important of course not to do this or even give the impression that your doing this (I'ts easy to look like you are and I've been accused of this) but it is helpful to be able to easily sink below the surface without chasing them. There are folks around watching for this. If you have the time think about renting some kayaks and doing your own thing to Three Sisters spring after you've spent some time with the commercial operators. That way you can control a bit better the time you get in and out.

I do not wear gloves - water temp is 72 degrees which is not that bad.

Probably Carol Grant will see this and give her input - she shoots with the D300 - and knows just about all there is to know about the do's and don'ts of manatee photography.

Edited by loftus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Scott,

 

I'm planning on being in Crystal River about the same time as you, after a week with Jim Abernethy on Shearwater. Have you pre-booked your manatee trip?

 

I guess its your first time at Crystal River but maybe someone else can suggest which operators are good or otherwise.

 

Hamish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on the amount of time you will be in Crystal River, here would be my recommendations. Initially go with an operation like Birds Underwater. (I do not recommend American Pro Divers) Maybe a day or so to get oriented to the area of Crystal River and Homossassa, and also a trip to Rainbow River. Get yourself a local fishing type map, familiarize yourself with the tides. Carol Grant turned me on to AyeTides for the iPhone which is great. In general you want to be in the water with the manatees around high tide. Particularly familiarize yourself with how to get to Three Sisters, King Springs etc by kayak / boat etc. If you are not comfortable with boating rules, navigation etc stay with the commercial operators. If you are comfortable kayaking or boating, consider renting a kayak or boat and doing your own thing as there are many areas to explore particularly if you would like to do bird photography etc. To me this is a lot more fun rather than being herded around like a teddy. (tourist) I like to be in or on the water particularly at sunrise and / or sunset.

I hope Carol sees this and maybe chimes in, she can go into a lot more detail about do's and don'ts, manatee etiquette, operators, tides, wind direction, viz, etc, etc. Carol is always keeping me in check when I am with her. :P My wife calls Carol the Manatee Whisperer. I will probably be up there the last week in March.

Edited by loftus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow, thanks guys, so much valuable information. Truly appreciate your imput. We are going with http://www.crystalriverdivers.com/ on 3/23 very early, 7:30 am. Is a 3ml ok with a 1 ml shirt underneath? thanks again. Scott ps. thanks for the settings, I will print them out and try them out first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be cold with a 3ml /1ml. I wear a 7ml and a hood. Remember you hope to be in the water between 1.5 and 2.5 hours - if you are one of those cavemen and think you will be comfortable at 72 degrees for that long...not me!

Edited by loftus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My wife calls Carol the Manatee Whisperer.

 

That is so sweet Jeff, I really like your wife - I think we "bonded". :aggressive:

 

Honestly though, Jeff and Scott, I think the real "Manatee Whisperer" is Bob Bonde from USGS. He has seen more manatee than most anyone else I suppose. In fact he told me he will be doing a presentation at the Georgia Aquarium on March 23-34 called ""The Future of the Florida Manatee - Mermaids in Peril"; I suppose since he is there more than one day, it looks like, he might be doing extra presentations with staff, etc. also. If I was anywhere near the Georgia Aquarium on March 23/24, I wouldn't miss hearing this wonderful researcher speak!

 

To tie in with the suggestion to not miss Bob Bonde's talk at Ga Aq; late in March is not usually a very good time at all to observe manatee at Crystal River. I have a lot of data on my blog that you can search, and I usually stop going the first week of March, but sometimes go up until March 15th or so. This is because is starts warming up and the manatee are actually very tired from the long winter we just had, they are just itching to go out to deeper, darker water and find more food. Right now it is warm, but they will hang around for a bit because the surrounding water has not quite warmed yet. It won't be long though as the March sunlight is at such a steep angle it warms things fast & if we don't get anymore cold fronts - we won't have a lot of manatee hanging around late March. I hope we don't get another cold front as it is not good for manatee right now (cold fronts started early this past season, in later October we had 27 degree temps); so hope manatee now can travel to other waters, than the springs, and go feed.

 

I know it is hard to plan travel; but again don't have your expectations up too high for manatee photography in late March. If you decide to go just enjoy all the experiences. It will also be extremely crowded with spring break crowds, so be polite and relaxed. :notworthy:

 

Note, I kept running into Brian Skerry at Crystal River in January, he was there for three weeks or so. Shows you when to go, although weather in January was challenging, lots of manatee but not lots of clear water, so even he had to work at it to find good conditions.

 

Oh, and regards the suggestion to go at high tide. Actually that is not accurate as the wind direction has more to do with water levels at the springs than tides. Also sometimes low tide is better, it all depends on how the various factors enter in and interplay, plus the man-made canals change factors also. And the sun angle is so intense and warm now, the invasive lyngbia sp algae is really taking over! The algae is much less in December, January and February, another reason to go during those times.

 

I have posted some manatee updates on my site and I was getting into posting quick manatee updates on my Twitter page; but I may not be going to observe manatee anymore this season, so I may not be doing too many more updates. Lots of photos to update on though!

 

I hope if you do go things will work out Scott, but don't have really high expectations as it is just not a good time of year to go, generally. And if you can catch Bob Bonde's lecture at the Georgia Aquarium on March 23/24, you will learn tons more about the manatee!

 

I'm swamped now, which it why it took me long to respond. Today I'm trying to find more photos to scan of Kemp's Ridley turtle hatchlings from a very rare nest I babysat on Sand Key Beach, here in Clearwater, back in 2002. I'm taking the Univ of FL - Florida Master Naturalist Course and I have to put those photos in a presentation, for graduation, in a few days. So, hopefully you have all the info you need, you can also do a search and read data on my site if you like. I have tons of data posted there.

 

Best, Carol

Edited by seagrant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Carol, wish I could see the lecture at the aquarium but I will be in Crystal River at the time. Hopefully we will see some, if not there's always next year and we will pick an earlier date. Sure hate to miss the lecture. What month do you feel is the best. thanks Carol, Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP

(for ages 10 to 17)

 

WHAT: 1-day summer workshop on digital photography: Learn about camera functions, basic photography, and compositions and apply your skills/knowledge during the photo clinic / photo shoot sessions (with studio equipment use)

 

WHEN: April 25, 2009 (Saturday, 9AM to 3PM)

 

WHERE: Pioneer Studios (123 Pioneer St., Mandaluyong City 1550)

 

FEE: P2,200 ONLY! Limited slots only! Pay at least P500 deposit to reserve.

 

INSTRUCTOR: Jared Posion is a professional photographer who does photo shoots for cover magazines of different magazine titles in the Metro such as IQ Time [GAINFUL Parenting] and People Asia magazines. He also does landscape, portrait, food, etc. Learn more about his secrets and techniques! Visit his website at http://jaredposion.multiply.com

 

WHAT TO BRING: Any digital camera

 

FOR RESERVATIONS: Call or text +632-3871326 / 0927-7060733 / 0927-9994011

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...