USA, Florida, Crystal River State Park, A curious juvenile West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) swimming at Three Sisters Spring

Manatees are so ugly that they are adorable. This picture clearly illustrates that point. I spent hours in the water waiting for a manatee to pose for me like this. Whenever I photograph wild animals, I do not chase after or harass them. I can never force a picture to happen. That is why I wait patiently for them to reveal themselves to me. Eventually, an animal will become comfortable with my presence and I will be able to photograph a beautiful portrait like this. This manatee was actually nibbling on my toes, so it let me know that is was very friendly and curious. With my permit from the USF&WS, I was able to gently drop down to the bottom and allow the manatee to swim right up to my camera. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII and 17-40mm f4 lens with a +3 diopter in my Ikelite 5DmkII housing with 8″ dome port. This image is a single exposure which was mostly processed using Aperture 3.0. I also cloned out particles floating in the water using Photoshop CS5.

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