Fun Friday: How’s the Weather Out There?

What do you do when in Florida and the weather gets unseasonable cool (cold?)? Why not go manatee watching?

During my recent trip to Florida, one of the cold fronts that have been pushing through the Midwest and southward, managed to make it all the way into Florida and caused the temperatures to drop into the 50’s and 60’s (hey, I’d like to see those “cold spells” back home in Missouri!). So I decided I’d go by the local hotspot for viewing manatees … the Lee County Manatee Viewing Area, which is essentially a canal next to the local power plant. During the energy processing, warm water is discharged into the canal and this draws in the manatees by the boatload!

Manatees are gently and curious marine mammals. They are sometimes called “sea cows”, due to their sluggishness and large size. Manatees are somewhat endangered. Unfortunately, they are often struck by boats, causing injury or death. I’ll post more on this in another post, but today’s post is one of joy and beauty!

This Fun Friday post shows one of the manatees as it lifts it’s head out of the water and seems to be checking on the air temperature:

Manatee with head out of water

These “gentle giants” are really fun to watch and photograph. They typically only come to the surface to get a quick breath of air, then retreat back underwater. But sometimes, they seem to just be having fun, rolling about on the surface, with flippers flying! I’ve got a neat sequence of a young manatee doing just that … watch for it in an upcoming “Fun Friday” post! :o)

Photo Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6 IS lens, with Circular Polarizing Filter (to reduce reflections and “see” into the water a bit better)
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/60 second

If you’re planning a visit to photograph manatees, a couple of suggestion:  (1) use a polarizing filter to help reduce reflections, (2) keep an eye on the shutter speeds as the use of the polarizing filter reduces the light by 2 stops, and (3) if you have an IS lens, be sure IS is “on”. Oh, be sure to have fun!



Posted in Fun Friday Post, Mammals, Nature Photography, Photography Tips, Travel Photography
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