Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ready for your close-up? Incredible pictures of whales taken by the man who gets scarily near to his giant subjects


Flipping incredible: Researcher Jason Sturgis is just yards away when a one-year-old humpback whale leaps out of the water in a playful gesture off Hawaii

These jaw-dropping photos are a stunning tribute to one man's 30-year journey alongside the greatest marine giants on the planet.

In some, researchers get scarily close to a 50-foot Southern Right Whale as it waves its tail above the water.

In another, an excited young Humpback leaps in the face of an astonished biologist.

Bird's-eye view: Mr Sturgis gets up close and personal with a female humpback and her yearling

World-class nature researcher and photographer Charles 'Flip' Niklin, 62, from Alaska has published this incredible set of pictures in his new book, Among Giants.

Flip said: 'I do my research and take pictures along the way.

'The story I tell is about how close researchers can get to whales.

Open wide: A humpback feeds as herring gulls wait for leftovers at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts, USA

'In the picture of the Southern Right Whale with its tail out the water in Argentina, you can see how close the three researchers were able to get in their rubber boat.

'That whale actually had its tail out the water for five whole minutes.

'We still don't know why it was doing this - it could be a way of losing heat by basking in the wind.'

Wave for the camera: A whale prepares to slap its pectoral fin on the surface of the water off Hawaii as a family watches on from a boat

One for the family album: A sperm whale mother with her white morph calf near Portugal

The man behind the camera: Charles 'Flip' Niklin has dedicated 30 years to capturing the lives of whales around the world

He said: 'Our view of whales has changed so much in the time I've studied them.

'When we first saw whales, we thought they were monsters. Once we realised they were, in fact, in danger from us, I think our perspective totally changed.

'Now we can appreciate how intelligent and charismatic they are.

Flip's book, Among Giants: A Life with Whales is available in hardcover for £25 from www.amazon.com

source: dailymail

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