The new manatee cover photograph for Alert Diver Magazine, photographer of the week on Dive Photo Guide and the results of testing out the new Xperia phone for Sony underwater; all this has resulted in a lot of recent “buzz” about my manatee photographs. I thought I’d shed a little more light on myself and what I do.
Of course, all this is in addition to the comprehensive collection of manatee images on my own website: Oceangrant.com
“Fascination with the ocean, a drawing of a sea cow in an encyclopedia, Sea Hunt after school on TV, and an extra dose of daydreams: These are a few things which combined to propel me from California to Florida—where I was to end up peering through the lens and capturing the essence of the manatee in the mesmerizing Florida springs.
After diving and photographing at many magnificent sites around the world, I find my heart still intertwined with light dancing around the warm clear freshwater that is the manatee’s winter home. Communicating this shrinking underwater world is my passion and mission. Self-taught in underwater photography, sometimes I think a lack of preconceived ideas opened me up to seeing more and uniquely highlighting the life of the Florida manatee.
Yes, I’ve fallen in love with humpback whales in Tonga, muck critters in Indonesia, seahorses and frogfish in Florida, but my heart belongs to the sirenians. An understanding of wildlife as a Florida Master Naturalist and nearly 2000 scuba dives has helped immensely with my underwater photography and writing about the manatee’s world.
Communication is first and foremost when I compose a shot and I want the viewer to receive the true picture. A lot of planning and understanding goes into each time I submerge as I strive to capture the best pure spring water clarity and manatee behavior, showcased by the dancing rainbow light rays! In my work I want to portray the complete picture of manatee life in the springs, not just a small snapshot. I invite you to dive with me into their beautiful world.”
After her time with Manatees (and the Z1s) we caught up with Carol to find out more.
Q – How did you first get into underwater photography?
A – The beauty of the world beneath the surface has always fascinated me and I wanted explain this unique realm to others. Nothing communicates quite like a well-executed photograph and I quickly developed a knack for underwater photography. In fact the first camera I ever submerged was a housed Sony P-10. Now I shoot with a DSLR, but I sure miss compact cameras!
Q – You seemed to be able to get pretty close to the manatees, what is it like swimming with them?
A – Swimming with manatees is magical! It’s so interesting because the calmer you are in the water, the better the encounter will be with the naturally curious manatees!
Q – How did you find using Xperia Z1s in those conditions? Was there any thing you particularly liked about the phone?
A – The Xperia Z1s stands out because it is also a smartphone! It is very compact and easy to hold while snorkeling. In addition the long battery life is a definite plus — I never went below 65% battery remaining while shooting.
Q – What is your dream underwater shoot?
A – Numerous manatee mothers competing to show off their adorable calves while posing and looking straight into the camera. Couple this with pure blue water and rainbow sunlight refractions dancing around the beautiful Florida springs. Oh yes, and all the time in the world to shoot!
The biggest buzz has been about the manatee on cover of the new Alert Diver Magazine, Winter 2014! If you missed the print magazine here is the digital edition of Alert Diver. I wrote a recent post about the story behind the shot here.
There’s just a little bit more of manatee season before the sirenians skedaddle out to warmer and less-clear waters to spread out and feed. I better get back in the water now!
Best, Carol Grant