Ocean Art 2023 - 3rd Place Wide Angle

3rd Place Wide Angle

Bryant Turffs

"In Our Shadow"




Bryant Turffs won an DS-230 Strobe with a modeling light from Ikelite!


The Story: 

Over the past seven years of studying juvenile manta rays in Florida with my partner, marine biologist Jessica Pate, capturing images that illustrate the impact that our world has on these rays has been a priority for me. Easier said than done. Photography usually takes a backseat to science during our field days and Florida's mantas do not behave like mantas elsewhere in the world. They are seldom seen on traditional dive sites and are sparsely populated. On this occasion I was lucky to encounter a tolerant individual in shallow water, which allowed me to capture this split shot of a mansion looming over a juvenile manta named Cricket. Manta rays are listed as endangered by the IUCN, and are listed on the US Endangered Species Act. While they are protected from harvest in Florida waters, they still suffer many anthropogenic impacts along our densely populated coast. Twenty five percent of the rays in our study have been sighted while entangled in fishing lines and eight percent have suffered boat strikes. Further, it is hard to say what impacts coastal development and pollution have on these rays. As the first dedicated long-term study of Florida's manta rays, our Florida Manta Project team seeks not only to gather baseline scientific information, but also to conduct outreach and conservation to protect these rays. This includes educating the public about best practices for fishing around mantas, boating in their vicinity, and limiting disruptive in-water activities like tourism that could negatively impact this vulnerable population. 


Florida, USA

Equipment Used: 

Camera Settings: 

  • Aperture: F16
  • Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec
  • ISO: 800



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