Female Manatee Foraging with a Calf on Her Back

"Wild manatees in Belize are not used to humans. Living miles offshore in mangroves, they remain shy and elusive. After weeks searching and waiting for an opportunity to photograph them, I was rewarded with an especially tolerant mother and calf. I approached quietly, watching the mother create billowing clouds of silt as she fed on seagrass. I positioned myself so the light was perfect and waited until she slowly emerged from the cloud, with her calf perched on her back." — Brian Skerry

Find out more about Brian Skerry and his exhibit at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, opening September 17, 2013.