Manatee with Snapper-Smithsonian Nature’s Best Photography Exhibit

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Beautiful blue warm spring water, tide recedes, a male manatee stretches, and snapper line up as if for roll call. Does it sound too fanciful to be real? Something ‘Through the Looking Glass’ author Lewis Carroll would have imagined?

The natural world is mysteriously beautiful, and this underwater scene truly did happen, as pictured. A beautiful Florida wild moment in time.

Florida manatee with snapper. People enjoy adding their own take on this.”First Day of School”? “Crossing Guard?” Could be? Only they know for sure 😉.

When manatee stretch and stir near the warm spring outflows, they may kick up invertebrates or other organisms in the sand. Although, I’ve never seen Continue reading

All In The Flip of a Manatee’s Tail

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Fifteen to twenty miles per hour, that’s the approximate burst speed of our Florida manatees. Usually they saunter along up to 5mph, but with that powerful tail they can really turn on the speed. Here’s another in my series of telling stories and data behind recent manatee images.

A manatee’s paddle-like tail is lit with warm sunlight. This manatee is relaxed and slowly sauntering but it can reach speeds up to 20 mph. Image from March 2018, Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.

In comparison, other ocean friends can move along pretty quickly too. Octopus can exceed 25 mph, Continue reading

Visit to Three Sisters Springs for Refuge Week

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A few days ago I visited one of my favorite places, Three Sisters Springs, part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. It is Refuge Week all across the country. Hurricane Michael passed just four days before my visit. Although Crystal River was spared significant flooding, Refuge Day was canceled. I still wanted to see how the springs fared, so I ventured there to check things out. No manatees were near Three Sisters as it’s still too hot for most manatees to make their way to Three Sisters. Also a cleanup project is ongoing in the canal out front of the springs, so the noise will discourage a manatee approaching the area. The project will soon be complete though, and we should have a cleaner canal.

My visit to Three Sisters Springs for Refuge Week. The blue sky was stunning. Sunday, October 14th.

The Three Sisters boardwalk and property was closed as it still had a little high water from the storm. Three Sisters Springs land access was reopened the following day, October 15th. Continue reading

Baby Manatees Are Like Babies Everywhere

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A bright, excited and eager face greets you with overwhelming curiosity, wrinkly skin and a messy snout with algae not yet washed off. I’m talking about this adorable baby manatee, but I could be illustrating many other species of cute little ones across our planet!

Baby manatee with a messy snout and fish friend explores his environment in the springs. Recent image. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.

This is another in my series telling stories behind my recent images from the past two seasons. Continue reading

Manatee Prehensile Snout

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Imagine… A mammal that lives in shallow waters, eats an array of over 60 different marine and freshwater aquatic plants and literally feels its environment with tiny body hairs! And what is up with that cool manatee snout?

That’s what I’m talking about in this recent photo, the manatee’s prehensile snout.

“1: adapted for seizing or grasping especially by wrapping around”

Merriam-Webster: Prehensile Definition

A manatee flexes its snout with help from a flipper. Recent image. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.

What? You mean to tell me the manatee’s snout has about the same accurate sensitivity as the prehensile snout of an elephant? Continue reading

Manatee Tender Touch

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Manatees definitely have a gentle soul. I’ve observed a lot of male and female manatee behavior and I can assure you they feel tenderness and have a heart!

Next in my series of telling the stories behind various images, is this “tender touch”. I posted this photograph on Friday’s “International Day of Peace”. We can certainly learn something from the peaceful manatees!

A male manatee nudges a female with a gentle touch on her forehead. Nikon d7200 in Subal housing/8″ dome/Tokina 10-17/natural light. March 2018, Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.You may have seen news photos or video of groups of manatees mating Continue reading

New Manatees

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Lovely blue spring water with adorable pudgy wrinkly faces and warm Florida rainbow sunlight? Sign me up! That’s what one who loves manatees dreams about! We are lucky to still have opportunities to experience these charismatic sirens on their own terms.

I’m updating my site with recent manatee photographs from the last two fall/winter seasons: 2016/2017 and 2017/2018. There’s over twenty new images already with more to come. Manatee photography has always been an adventure and a challenge, but I relish the challenge. I’m just glad there are still some opportunities to chronicle the manatee’s antics in pretty conditions.

Here’s a partial screenshot of my Oceangrant.com site (Portfolio Site link in menu above). If you click on New Images you will see new additions over the next few weeks. All from the last two seasons:

I’ll tell you a story about one of the new images.
Continue reading

Birthday Manatees and Friends

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Tradition…, yes it applies to my time observing manatees in our lovely springs, especially on my Birthday!

A few of the photos taken on my Bdays from: 2011/2012/2013/2014/2015/2016/2017/2018Manatees,my Bday,

Even though this last Bday on Feb 11th was unseasonably hot, we were still excited to see several manatees Continue reading

Happy Holidays from Carol and Manatees

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Happy Holidays 2017! I wish everyone a fun and joyous time with relatives and friends! A few days ago this sweet mother manatee and her calf swam up behind me. It was quite the seasonal surprise! Of course the charismatic pair got dibs to be featured on our holiday E-Card:

HOLIDAY GREETINGS!Happy Holidays,©Carol Grant,2017,manatees

We have had odd weather lately, either too hot or too cool and not much in-between, On  December 19th I visited the springs when it wasn’t too warm or too cold. Here is another Continue reading

Manatees on Halloween and DEMA

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Manatees for Halloween? As it turns out it’s not spooky at all… I love seeing my sirenian friends on Halloween – no costumes required! Then I packed up right away and headed off to DEMA (Dive Equipment and Marketing Association) convention in Orlando, relaying tales of the Halloween manatees!

Mom brought her young male calf into the springs for Halloween! October 31, 2017manatees,Halloween,springs,©Carol Grant,oceangrant.com

Last time I saw manatees on Halloween was in 2012 Continue reading

Manatee Selfies

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Selfies…, well we used to call them self-portraits, but now it seems they have taken on a viral life of their own! Those who know me realize I’m always very focused on making the most of my time photographing manatees in Florida’s striking springs. I know I’m a bit light on photographs of myself as it’s not an area I put much attention on. Mainly I want compelling photographs of Florida manatees, the lovely springs, and polite passive observation of our Sirenian friends. Therefore, I often forget that some people would like to see pictures of me in the springs.

Periodically I do get requests, usually from magazines, for a photograph of myself underwater with a manatee. I didn’t have much in my archives, so I took up the new challenge! These three “selfies” are just the beginning of what turned out to be numerous photos from this day, the tip of the iceberg so to speak. I donned a more flattering mask than my usual black non-photogenic one I always wear. Then I really hoped there would be an interested manatee who wanted to be in the frame with me. It turned out I got much much more than I bargained for!? 

Manatees are curious about what Carol was up to? My vision was to include as much of the beauty of the springs, the striking light, lovely blue sky and engaging manatees in my self-portraits. I wanted to show what it is like to be underwater and photograph these unique marine mammals. February 2017.manatees,selfie,Carol Grant,springs,underwater

Since I’ve got several manatee projects on-going, I’ll include just three photographs from this experiment. The self-portrait showcase will continue after I get caught up. Continue reading

Manatee Advice for the New Year

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Happy New Year! May 2017 be filled with happiness while flourishing and prospering!?

Manatees know a thing or two about New Years, prosperity and all! In fact I put together this video chronicling some wise manatee advice for the upcoming year, 2017. This is all manatee footage from my recent sojourns to the springs in December 2016, so the sage wisdom is current and up-to-date! Here’s the “Happy New Year’s Advice from the Manatees” on Vimeo:

2016 was chocked-full of exciting events for us! There’s too much to summarize in this post, so here’s our “Holiday Greetings from the Grants 2016”

Holiday Greeting From The Grants 2016

Last, there is definitely a bit of “Auld Lang Syne”. Continue reading

Three Sisters Springs: First Day Open After Restoration

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Those of us who treasure Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida, were excited to see the springs re-open on November 15, 2016. It has been 7-1/2 months of construction by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and their contractors. Three Sisters Springs has been closed to the public and manatees the whole summer. Here are some of the pictures I took and observations during my first manatee day this season in the springs.

My First Manatee in Three Sisters Springs Right After it Opened After 7 Months of Shoreline Restoration! Because of Our Enormous Super Moon Tides, Wind and Other Factors, Visibility Wasn’t the Best, But These are Some of My Better Photos from November 15th.  ***(Note: because my computer is in for repair I downloaded these RAW photographs and edited these exclusively on my iPad. It was a very interesting learning experience, although I miss the color accuracy of my calibrated monitor, it’s a good on-the-go workflow).

Mixed feelings, that is what I have after spending three hours underwater back in Three Sisters Springs on opening day, November 15th. Continue reading

Little Manatees Are Born To Explore!

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Here’s another short video I’ve shared on Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo chronicling baby manatee adventures! I think you will find manatee calves and their mothers are not so unlike us, in many many ways??

Little Manatees – Born To Explore! by Carol Grant on Vimeo:

I’ll have more video to come, but manatee season will be ramping up soon so forgive me if I’m busy underwater observing the precocious little manatees!

Best, Carol

 

Baby Manatees Are Too Cute!

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Baby animals have a particular penchant for being very cute! Little manatee calves rank right up there with the absolutely most adorable junior creatures I’ve encountered! I’d go out on a limb and say they are the “cutest” but I don’t want to upset any other animal moms, especially the mother humpback whales who I witnessed underwater showing off their own offspring a few years ago!

Since I upgraded my underwater camera outfit a couple of years ago to the Nikon d7200 I’ve been able to take some nice HD video and my catalog of clips of adorable young manatees is growing. I still have it housed in a trusty Subal underwater housing and their glass dome port works well for video also.  Before this camera that produces video I used a GoPro mounted on top of my setup and captured some incredible moments also, although not quite at the quality of my Nikon. Still, my video vaults are bursting at the seams with cute little manatee antics and I want to share them with you.

Here is the first in a series of manatee compilation videos. I will keep them under 60 seconds so I can post on Instagram, etc. Possibly I’ll put together a longer one if anyone can’t get enough of the pudgy little manatees?.     Best, Carol

Manatees Are Just Too Cute! On Vimeo: