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This image is my very favorite photo of manatees I have ever taken! I love everything about it! The old growth oak forest in the background covered with spanish moss, the changing of the leaves, the pristine emerald green waters of the river, and of course, all those manatees!!! I could not ask for a better composition f manatees in any image! Those that are near the surface and lighter in color, all swimming to the right following the natural curvature of the bottom heading up river, none with propeller scar marks that I could see. I could not have asked for a more magical moment to occur. I would give anything to have a little log cabin set back in the woods, just off the river, watching this scene play out every day. I don't think anyone would ever see me again.
A couple years back, about February 21st, I had an incredible opportunity to photograph hundreds of manatees when an extremely strong and frigid cold front passed through central Florida and dropped temperatures into the low 20's for the next few days. As the bay temperatures dropped into the mid 50's, the manatees moved up the natural spring rivers trying to stay warm. The water temperature comes out of the Florida aquifer at a constant 72 degrees and helps to prevent them from getting hypothermia. They came by the hundreds! I had never seen anything like it before! A flowing river of manatees, many with new borne calves, non-stop all day, and into the next and the day after that. What an experience! The calm, peaceful and natural tranquility of this image is almost non-repeatable, and it looks stunning on our wall. If you are a manatee lover like I am, or just enjoy the natural, wild scenery of Florida, then this image is meant for you! I look at this photo all day and never get tired of it. I love it that much, and I'm sure you will too!
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