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With some adults growing to more that 3.5 meters long, the Florida Manatee is one of the largest freshwater mammals in the world. You’d think then that having one of these giants swim right over the top of you in some pretty shallow water would be a scary experience, but not so, according to under water photographer Carol Grant. In fact, so at-home with these incredible creatures is she, that she borrowed one of Sony’s best camera phones Xperia Z1s to show us just how up-close and personal you can get with these gentle giants.

The gallery below is made from completely unedited shots taken straight from the Xperia Z1s shooting in Intelligent Auto mode.

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!


You can find more of Carol’s underwater photography work at her website, our thanks also both to our friends at wetpixel and to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, who helped make this shoot possible.