Image captured in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary gets international recognition

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a paradise for wildlife and for Mac Stone’s camera.

“I just fell in love with it,” said Stone, a National Geographic Explorer and photographer.

Now, Stone’s work is garnering international attention as the Natural History Museum in London selected one of his photographs for its annual wildlife photographer of the year exhibition.

The image selected for the honor is called “Come High Water.”

It’s a photo taken in October 2020 using a camera trap, a system that uses infrared sensors to detect movement or heat to make the camera shutter go off.

It captured the moment a raccoon scurries across the viewfinder, with its newborn in its mouth, surrounded by water.

“Three weeks after this photo was taken, a tree fell on the camera, submerged in water, ruined it,” Stone said. “But the images survived.”

Stone’s photo of the raccoon shows the challenges of surviving in the swamp.

“They’re wonderful creatures, and they’re so intelligent. They’re so capable, and they’re so industrious too,” Stone said. “I just thought this is such a nice little moment, not only to show how tough life is in the swamp but also how resilient and how these mamas will go through anything, you know, to protect their babies.”

Research director Shawn Clem with the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary helped Stone decipher the image.

“I think that the water levels going back up, and those four inches of rain really late in our wet season, kind of caught this family off guard. And that’s when you know, they had to move those babies around,” Clem said.

Stone said he is thrilled the photograph was selected for the exhibit.

“You just never know how things are going to go,” Stone said.

Stone encourages everyone to get acquainted with the natural beauty in Southwest Florida.

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