Encouraging Curiosity for Man and Animal
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  • Encouraging Curiosity for Man and Animal
Zac Henderson

Photography changes what animals do

Story by visitor contributor
Zac Henderson

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Zac Henderson, a photography student at Savannah College of Art and Design, explains how his camera clicks attracted the dolphins at a water park.

On our way out of the water park, my girlfriend and I noticed the dolphin exhibit, which is usually bustling with tourists. We went down to have a look and learned that the feeding times had ended, but people could now have a chance to touch the dolphins, should they decide to come their way.

Even though the dolphins were content with their location on the other side of the pool, we decided to give it a try. We were instructed to simply place our hands in the water so that the dolphins could swim by and graze us. My girlfriend did so, but I changed the film in my Nikonos II and put in some fresh Fuji NPH 400.

The Nikonos II is an amphibious camera copied by Nikon from a French model named Calypso. It is a scale focus camera, meaning that there is no rangefinder. Focusing is performed by twisting two knobs on either side of a handsome f/2.5 lens. I brought the camera for some unforeseen situation such as this.

With everyone's hands in the water, I submerged my camera in hopes of capturing these beautiful animals. Noticing that I hadn't wound the film past the amount necessary, I did so while the camera was still underwater. Almost immediately, four dolphins swam over to me and my camera. I realized that they heard the clicks of the camera and were curious as to what new noise making object was in their environment!

With each click of the shutter the animals became more and more enamored. I had never been so close to these animals before. Their skin was wet and rubbery. I was amazed at their intelligence and curiosity, and for a moment I was afraid that the animals would become hostile towards this new clicking object.

There were about one hundred and fifty people at the edge of the pool, and it seemed like as the dolphins swam over everyone made a frantic push for my section. Before this started I had been speaking with the mother of a small child. She told me that they had been there for about fifteen minutes but they hadn't had a chance to touch one. While taking photos, I moved the camera towards her small son so that he and other children around him could satisfy their curiosity. I did so again for the rest of the people lucky enough to be in my area.

I try to take my camera everywhere I go, and had it not been for that habit and the need to make photographs, this experience would not have been possible. Sure, people pay a lot of money to be able to swim with and be in extra close quarters with dolphins, but this experience will live in a few people's memories as a very pleasant surprise enjoyed by few.

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