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Brian Skerry

National Geographic Photographer // Speaker // Author // Rolex Explorer of the Year

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Photo by @BrianSkerry. A pair of Indo-Pacific Bottlenose dolphins swim through the temperate waters near Jeju Island, South Korea. Three dolphins from this pod were illegally captured several years ago and kept in captivity in a zoo. In 2013 the captive animals were re-wilded and released off Jeju, where they returned to their birth pod and are now doing well. On Tuesday, South Korea banned the importation of dolphins from Taiji, Japan; the location where dolphins are captured for use in captivity or are slaughtered. Although this does not mean that captive dolphins are prohibited in South Korea, such a ban should help reduce the number of captive dolphins, as approximately 70% of the country’s captive dolphins have come from Taiji. Photographed on assignment for @NatGeo. @subal_underwater_housing #dolphin #dolphins #bottlenose #underwater #southkorea #japan #cute #travelphoto #preservation #followme #follow #instagood #natgeo #nikonlove #nikonambassador #nikonnofilter


Photo by @BrianSkerry.  A two-day old humpback whale calf rises towards the surface while its mom hovers below in the warm waters off the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. This population of humpbacks spends the summers feeding in Antarctica, migrating to warmer waters in winter where calfs are then born. The bond between moms and calves is strong, with calfs spending their first year with their mothers, during which time they nurse and are given protection.  Although much has been learned about this remarkable species throughout decades of research, many mysteries remain with respect to humpback societies in the sea. The song of the male humpback, for example, has been described by scientists as the “horizontal transmission of culture.” Commonly believed to be a means of attracting females, the song of the male has never actually been observed as effective in finding a mate. Might there be greater complexities within these sounds? Further study will likely reveal fascinating aspects of the lives of these whales. @subal_underwater_housing #humpback  #whale  #humpbackwhale #follow  #followme  #photooftheday #cookislands  #pacific  #underwaterphoto #underwaterphotography  #instagood #conservation  #research  #marinebiology #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador


Photo by @BrianSkerry. A surprised Yellow Gobi welcomes us into his makeshift home – an abandoned soda can - on the volcanic sandy bottom of Suruga Bay, off the coast of Japan. I was diving at a depth of about 100-feet when I saw some debris on the ocean floor. As I swam past, a flash of color caught my eye, and - as I slowly approached the can - this little fish drifted into the ‘doorway’ of his aluminum home. Diving in this place was like swimming through the pages of a storybook, filled with a fascinating cast of characters. @subal_underwater_housing #yellow #gobi #pollution #trash #oceanography #oceans #pollution #fish #cute #animals #conservation #photooftheday #protect #oceans #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador


Photo by @BrianSkerry A trio of Narwhals, cruise on the surface in the waters of the high arctic off Canada’s Navy Board Inlet. Narwhals are the ‘unicorn whale’ due to their tusk, which is actually a canine tooth that protrudes from the animal’s lip. Male narwhal tusks can grow to lengths of nearly nine feet. I made this picture from a helicopter at around midnight while on assignment for @natgeo. During the arctic summer, it is always light, which allows for long working days. We were living in tents on the beach and would journey out each day onto the pack ice to explore. After decades spent with wildlife, I still experience a thrill being in the presence of animals. And certain species, like narwhals continue to stir my soul. We see brief glimpses of them in surface waters, but I am intrigued by the portions of their lives that remain hidden and elusive. Their lives however are changing due to the decline of sea ice in the arctic and the future will likely be quite different for this mythical creature. #arctic #explore #climatechange #whales #underwater #nature #narwhal #nikonlove #nikonambassador


Photo by @BrianSkerry Happy #WorldWhaleDay - A pair of Southern Right Whales engage in courtship in the waters off the Auckland Islands in New Zealand’s sub-antarctic. Their cousins, the North Atlantic Right Whales, are the most endangered species of whale on Earth, with only about 450 remaining. Both species were hunted to the brink of extinction by early whalers, but the Southern species, while also endangered, recovered better, due to the fact that they live further away from human industrialization. Being in this chilly water water with 45-foot long whales that weigh 70-tons was a little intimidating, but absolutely beautiful. As an underwater photographer, I cannot use long, telephoto lenses to photograph my subjects or wait in a camouflaged blind for days on end. I can only stay underwater as long as the air supply on my back lasts and must get very close to make pictures. When animals like these whales allow you into their world it is a very special experience. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo #whales #nz #underwater #endangered #NikonLove #NikonAmbassador @subal_underwater_housing


Photo by @BrianSkerry A Great White Shark swims through an undersea forest, approaching a ray, in the waters off South Australia. The largest predatory fish in the sea, the great white remains somewhat enigmatic, with much of its life and behaviors unknown. As a visual storyteller working in the sea for decades, I am always thinking about how to create images that will engage the viewer. I search for places and brief moments during which I can make a picture that will make people want to know more about the animal or place. Producing such images requires spending a lot of time underwater, waiting for that elusive moment that will resonate as a photograph. Photographed #onassignment for @natgeo #australia #nikonlove #nikonambassador #visualstorytelling #sharks #greatwhite @subal_underwater_housing


WINTER FREEDIVING - Near my home on the coast of Maine I’ve been practicing my freediving techniques, even in winter. The air temperature today was 36-degrees F and water temp. was 39-degrees F. But I absolutely love being in the sea during every season and in almost any conditions. A cup of hot chocolate after this session made it the perfect day! Video of @BrianSkerry by my friend and colleague Lu Lamar. #freedive @hecsaquatic hecsaquatic #maine #oceansoul #blackandwhite #winter #brianskerry


Photo by @BrianSkerry. A harp seal pup - about 2 weeks old - makes its first swim beneath the ice shelf in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence. Harp seal pups need stable pack ice from which to nurse from their mothers. Thinning ice due to climate change over the last decade has caused problems for this species, with pup mortality rates increasing during years with little ice. Survival long term will require adapting to the loss of sea ice if these trends continue. @thephotosociety @natgeocreative Photographed on assignment for @NatGeo. #harp #seal #pup #nature #nat #geo #magazine #onassignment #photography #underwater #national #geographic #photooftheday #followme #follow #natgeo #instagood #wonderlust #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador #nikonlove


Photo by @BrianSkerry. Looking slightly wary of the photographer, a school of black margate fish drift in the water column of Belize’s Hol Chan marine reserve. This marine protected area - located off of Ambergris Caye - was created in 1987, allowing marine life and ecosystems to thrive over the past three decades. Most researchers tell us that at least 30% of Earth’s oceans must be protected in order to have a healthy planet, yet today only about 3% of these waters have been conserved. The ocean is the greatest carbon sink on Earth, taking in carbon and giving back oxygen. As fish populations are decimated and increased amounts of carbon from fossil fuels are added to the water, ecosystems are destroyed and the ocean loses its ability to function efficiently. Creating more marine protected areas then is not only good for fish, but for all life on earth. #fish #underwaterphoto #underwater #natgeo #instagood #follow #travel #wonderlust #photooftheday #nikonlove #nikonambassador #nikonnofilter


Photo by @BrianSkerry. A two-day old humpback whale calf swims alongside its mother in the waters off of the Cook Islands, in the South Pacific. This population of humpbacks spends its summer feeding in Antarctica, migrating to warmer waters where calves are born in the winter. The bond between moms and their calves is strong, with calves spending their first year with their mothers. During this time, mother humpback whales feed and provide protection for their young. Although much has been learned about this species throughout the past several decades of research, many mysteries remain with regards to the many complex societies in the sea. @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #humpback #whale #humpbackwhale #follow #followme #photooftheday #cookislands #pacific #underwaterphoto #underwaterphotography #instagood #conservation #research #marinebiology #nikonfilter #nikonlove #nikonambassador


Photo by @BrianSkerry. Champion free diver Ai Futaki swims below a pod of spinner dolphins in the offshore waters of Hawaii. Spinner dolphins are among the most social of all dolphin species, and are rarely seen alone or in small groups. These creatures typically feed in deep waters offshore at night, then move into shallow, coastal bays during the day to socialize and rest. The name of these dolphins is derived from the acrobatic jumps and spins that they make, often leaping high out of the water. After humans, dolphins have the largest brains in the animal kingdom, relative to body size. Through the games that they play with one another and through the means by which these dolphins socialize, researchers are able to measure their cognitive abilities. In fact, dolphins have been described as ‘an alien intelligence on Earth.’ In the years ahead, perhaps we will unlock the answers to the mysteries surrounding the complex lives of these animals, maybe even learning to communicate with one another at some point. #spinner #dolphin #dolphins #ocean #underwater #photography #nationalgeographic #natgeo #travel #hawaii #oahu #water #tropical #animals #photooftheday #onassignment


Photo by @BrianSkerry. A rare view of a fissure within pack ice in the Canadian arctic. The crack in the ice was about two feet wide, several meters thick and extended for a perhaps a kilometer. This photograph was produced with a camera inside an underwater housing positioned just beneath the surface, so that the sky, the thick ice and the dark water below can be seen. Coverage from a story in the January issue of National Geographic Magazine (@NatGeo) story about declining sea ice in the arctic due to climate change and its effects on people and wildlife in this region. @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #arctic  #ice  #fissure  #nat  #geo #photography  #onassignment  #canada #underwater  #nature  #blue #photooftheday #followme #follow #instagood #climatechange #travelphoto #travelphotography #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador