13th Annual Smithsonian.com Photo Contest
In January 2015 we had a cold snap that dropped the temperature 20 degrees overnight into the low 40's and I knew it would be a great day to visit the manatees in the Crystal River. During especially cold days in the Winter months you can expect to see hundreds of manatees gathering within the Three Sisters Springs for the year round 70 degree water gushing out of the head of the spring. The calmer water near the opening of the spring is much warmer than the river and all the manatees will bunch up into groups to keep warm.
On this day the public access road was closed unless you took a tour where we could not bring our gear. I decided to park at a local grocery store and swim down the river to the Three Sisters Spring with my SPL Waterhousing encasing my Nikon D7100 and 8mm fisheye lens. Once I reached the spring there were upward of 75 manatees in an are no bigger than a football field in small groups throughout the area.
About 15 minutes into my swim I came across this mother resting in the sun as her calf is nursing. They remained in this position for almost 20 minutes as I took photos and watched in amazement. This is one of my favorite images and one of the best experiences of my life so far!
- Dalton Smith
Photo of the Day: 09.22.15
© Dalton Smith.
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||Sept. 2, 2015, 12:39 p.m.