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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Manatee Snorkel (Jan 28, 2012)

by Jeri L. Curley

We hit the road at O'dark thirty heading north to Crystal River. With each northern mile, the temperature dropped one to two degrees. Even though the GPS kept trying to get us to leave the toll roads, we made it to our destination with enough time to eat breakfast. Early this year, I broke down and bought a newer version of the Olympus Evolt and it didn't quite fit my underwater housing. The only thing that worked was the shutter release -- sort of. It doesn't quite hit full center, so I have to apply ample pressure to trigger the button. After I figured out the proper procedure for hitting the button, I started my paparazzi run at the Manatees. I set my camera to aperture priority, knowing that I wouldn't be able to make any changes mid-stream. I knew also that I'd end up with motion blur on some of my photos because my camera would choose the shutter speed for me. As expected, several shots had motion blur but I was very pleasantly surprised at a few shots that turned out better than I expected. Our day was spent at Kings Spring and Three Sisters where we observed and photographed dozens upon dozens of Manatees and their offspring. We even encountered Federal Law Enforcement Officers in the water who threatened to take away one of our member's camera for allowing the sanctuary line to drift across his hands. Security was tight around the sanctuary this year and there are talks of expanding the "no human" zones. It was a beautiful day and a fabulous experience. We left the water only when our memory cards were full!


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