Paul Nicklen (@paulnicklen) — Co-founder of @SeaLegacy. Click the link below to join my mailing list.
This is me in my office. This is where I go to work and this is my happy place in my favorite habitat. @jedweingarten grabbed this shot of me coming up from a long dive under the sea ice while on assignment for @natgeo in the Canadian Arctic. At this point, I was entering the early stages of hypothermia and had to be dragged out of the water, stuck in a warm sleeping bag and left there to warm up for hours. As National Geographic reaches the 100Million mark on instagram, I want go on a trip down memory lane and reflect on the 19 year journey I had with this powerful, informative and influential magazine, brand and society. Starting this week, I will be sharing images and stories from my 23 assignments and features. Now, I am so proud to be a co-founder of @sealegacy where we use the power of visual story-telling for conservation wins but it is also important to reflect back once in a while and give thanks for this incredible journey through life, light and time. If you want to gain more personal insights and learn about some of my techniques and philosophies in life and photography, please sign up to my new mailing list. (LINK IN BIO) #gratitude#journey#cold#ice#passion#commitment
Happy #worldwhaleday. A humpback whale whips its tail across the surface as it dives down on a school of herring in Norway. I call this fine art piece, Liquid Curtain and it is one of my favorites when printed at 40 x 60 inhces. If you want to learn more about my fine art work, please go to the link in my bio. #whale#marinesanctuaries#fineart
Some of you seem interested with how big a leopard seal is so I want to share an underwater image with you to gain even more perspective. Thank you for all of your comments. I took this picture of the big female leopard seal flirting with my good buddy @goranehlme who is 6’2”. It is hard to get a true handle on her size but she appeared to be the same length as our 12 foot long inflatable boat. All I know is that I have seen hundreds of leopard seals in Antarctica and have had over 50 different ones approach me underwater and she is by far the biggest one I have seen. And she was the most confident, interactive and by far the most generous with her time and her penguin offerings. Out of my 23 stories for @natgeo over 19 years, this was my fifth and my favorite assignment of them all. #gratitude#instagood#antarctica#explore#adventure#wildlife#nature
This was my only true scary moment on the leopard seal assignment in Antarctica. The huge female leopard seal had just moved towards me with the Gentoo penguin in her jaws. Leopard seals try and remove the feathers from the meat by whipping the penguin from side to side. They whip the 12 pounds birds with such speed and acceleration that you can barely register what is happening with the human eye. @goranehlme captured this moment at 1/4000th of a second. I should have backed away from her in anticipation of this but it was too late. Look at at the blood stains on the left side of my head. I had just been smacked in the side of the head by the swinging penguin. It hit me with such force that I was starting to black out. As my world started to go black, I clenched my teeth, closed my eyes and took long, slow deep breaths and hid behind my camera until I got my senses back. I don’t think she ever would have done anything but this was not a moment where I wanted to end up unconscious. I am excited to share more stories from my career in my upcoming newsletter. Please feel free to join me. LINK IN BIO #ringmybell#naturesstories#storiesfromthefield#explore
Leopard seals are by far and away the most engaging species I have ever had the privilege of photographing and filming. This seal had an excess of bravado. As I help lead our @sealegacy team in our conservation efforts, it is very rewarding to reflect back on a productive career with National Geographic (@natgeo). For over 18 years, I shot and produced 23 major features for their magazine. Over the next month, I am going to be sharing my favorite moments and images from those assignments with you. If you want to hear more in depth stories about my journey, please join my mailing list. (Link in my Bio) Image by @cristinamittermeier
Happy Valentines my friends. It is a day to to put on our best show like this wandering albatross spreading its 11 foot wingspan in a romantic display for its mate under a rainbow in Antarctica. It is a day to be extra sensitive and thoughtful, to go slow, give thanks, admire, appreciate, be romantic and go that extra mile. Imagine that these remarkable birds live until they are 50 years old and mate for life. Now that is #love#antrarctica#happyvalentines#beauty#rainbow
The health of an entire ecosystem on Canada’s Pacific coast depends on one little, silver fish. Herring and their eggs provide essential nutrition all the way up the food chain - from salmon and seals to wolves and bears, humpbacks and orcas. But commercial fishing is wiping out the region's herring stock - and not for human consumption. Almost 90 percent of all catch is reduced to fishmeal used in pet and fish farm food. To allow herring populations to recover, all commercial fisheries in the Pacific North West have been shut down. Except for one. If we are going to save unstable species on this coast, we must suspend the commercial herring fishery in the Strait of Georgia. Join #ConservationHornbyIsland,#AssociationofDenmanIslandMarineSteward,@PacificWild and @SeaLegacy in protecting these #BIGLittleFish - link in bio. Footage: @iantmcallister, @tavishcampbell, @paulnicklen#bc #herring
What happens when polar bears get hungry? What happens when they have not eaten for months and when there is no sea ice to hunt seals from? They follow their noses which often puts them into conflict with humans in coastal communities. Just ask the people of Belushya Guba, Russia. They are literally under siege by hungry bears. Google it in the Washington Post. Others will still find ways to deny climate change. People will write hurtful and rude comments on this feed as if trying to shoot the messenger will change anything. With that said, I completely get it. I wish we could all wake up tomorrow morning and find out that 99.9 percent of the world’s top climate scientists were all wrong. Wouldn’t it be great if NASA and their intensive data sets have been wrong all of these years? Every day we wake up to major global events that affirm that climate change is here, it is now, and it is scary as hell. Do you want to do something to address the problem? Vote for those who get it. Stop or significantly reduce your consumption of meat. #BeTheChange
Would you believe me if I told you that this image was taken less than 650 miles from the North Pole? The water temperature was 31F. Every inch of rock was covered by anemones and other invertebrate species. I love dispelling myths. People generally believe the polar regions are mostly void of life due to the extreme temperatures and conditions. In fact, the opposite is true. The biodiversity is much lower in the polar regions compared to say, the tropics, but the density of life is off the charts in these ecosystems. They are also warming twice as fast as anywhere else on Earth which is wreaking havoc on global weather. If you have some free time, it is incredibly eye-opening to go to climate.NASA.gov and look at their powerful and real science on the changing polar regions. I realize that very few will get a chance to experience the ocean like this so it is my job to bring the oceans to everyone. #drawdowncarbon#nature#naturelovers
Congratulations to @natgeo for closing in on 100 million followers. You are a brand and media powerhouse like none other. You have been since 1888. It has been an honour to shoot for you over the past 19 years. You have sent me on so many dream assignments including this one on leopard seals in Antarctica. You have allowed me time and support in the field to chase down some of the biggest issues facing our polar regions. #Gratitude#NationalGeographic Photo by @goranehlme#explore#dream#ice#love#photography.
An 80 foot long female blue whale approached me off the coast of the Azores and blew my mind. She was so massive that she seemed to go on forever. Here are some fascinating facts about blue whales: Weighing up to 340,000 pounds, they are the largest animal to have ever existed on Earth. When their mouth is agape, they hold up to 180,000 pounds of water. One source says that they can eat up to 70,000 pounds of krill a day, but I find that hard to believe. Their tongue weighs up to 6,000 pounds (twice as much as a hippo). But these next facts are truly important: Before commercial whaling, there were approximately 300,000 blue whales worldwide. The last intentional kill of a blue whale was in the mid-’70s when their population was all but wiped out due to the greed of man. Their numbers have failed to rebound, and there may be fewer than 20,000 worldwide today. There is pressure to hunt them once again. As absurd as it sounds, they killed one in Iceland this year while hunting Fin Whales, which are also threatened due to commercial whaling. I get the odd email telling me to stick to photography and keep my opinions to myself. I shoot pictures and video so that I can have an opinion and audience in the first place. It is what we do, and I will never tire of speaking up for those who do not have a voice and do not have the necessary protection. #muchworktobedone. Shot under permit N.O XX-ORAC-2018. For @sealegacy with @cristinamittermeier@_tomconlin and @_aquaticadventures
Dense morning fog lines the steep fjord walls of the Great Bear Rainforest. With a pulse of wind and a change in temperature, the fog begins to lift, revealing old growth trees that cling to perilous footholds carved onto steep granite walls. This is one of the many reasons why I love working in my backyard of British Columbia. Stay tuned for work in the Salish Sea as our SeaLegacy team gets ready for more expeditions!