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Brian Skerry

National Geographic Photographer & Fellow // Author// Speaker // Nikon Ambassador

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Brian Skerry (@brianskerry) Instagram photos and videos

List of Instagram medias taken by Brian Skerry (@brianskerry)

Photo by @BrianSkerry A Humpback Whale calf lifts its head out of the water to have a a look at me as it swims past my boat in the waters of the South Pacific. This calf’s mom spent the summer in Antarctica, feeding in those rich and chilly waters, then migrated to the warm waters of the South Pacific to give birth. Humpback moms invest a great deal in their offspring, with a gestation period that last about a year and during the first year of the calf’s life, mom teaches it the things it will need to know to survive. Research shows that humpback mothers even’ whisper’ to their calves in places where predators might otherwise hear them. What we know about these animals is only a small fraction of their culture and complex lives.

Photo by @BrianSkerry A Humpback whale calf swims above its resting mom in the waters of the South Pacific. Humpback moms invest a lot into their offspring, with a gestation that lasts nearly a year and then spends the first year of the calf’s life teaching it all the skills it will need to survive in the sea. These bonds are strong and are an important element of whale culture.

Photo by @BrianSkerry Underwater view of a wave breaking on Kingman Reef in the Pacific Ocean. This uninhabited atoll has remained relatively unspoiled due to its remoteness and diving here is like traveling back in time to see a healthy reef ecosystem. While on assignment, it’s not uncommon to feel the stress of finding scenes that make for great pictures. But I have learned that if I can shake off negative emotions, relax and simply ‘see’ all that is around me, wonderful scenes (and pictures) inevitably present themselves.

Photo by @BrianSkerry Today in Geneva, a proposal to strengthen protections for both shortfin and longfin mako sharks, hunted for their meat and fins, was adopted today after a 102-40 secret ballot vote at the global wildlife trade summit. The vote still needs to be finalized at the plenary session at the end, when all appendix change proposals passed in committee are officially adopted. (this text from a story on by writer Rachel Fobar). This is encouraging news as these majestic animals need worldwide protection now. This photo shows a shortfin mako that I photographed in New Zealand in a feature story I produced for @natgeo in 2017. I have dived with dozens of species of sharks in my life, but there is something special about being in the presence of a mako. They are hyper aware, super-fast and an ultimate predator. Long may they swim in Earth’s seas!

Photo by @BrianSkerry A rare encounter with a pod of orca in the Caribbean. I was working in the waters off Dominica when at least 8 orca appeared and approached very close to me. Orca are arguably the smartest animals in the sea, with rich cultures that include multiple dialects, feeding strategies, and parenting techniques and every time I am with them is extraordinary. Coverage from my new @natgeo project.

Photo by @BrianSkerry Close-up of a mako shark in the waters off New Zealand. Makos are one of the fastest fish in the sea, capable of bursts up to 60mph and of all shark species they have one of the largest brains, relative to body size. They are also an endothermic shark, meaning that they can generate heat within their bodies. This allows them to swim into cooler waters to feed on oily fish, giving them great strength and fueling their powerful muscles. The numbers of makos have declined worldwide due to over fishing and the demand for shark fins. They are currently listed as vulnerable.

Photo by @BrianSkerry A Blue Shark with a red colored Parasitic Copepod attached to its dorsal fin cruises in the waters of the Gulf of Maine (a tiny hitchhiker). A pelagic animal living in the open sea, blue sharks have been sculpted by nature to move like undersea aircrafts, with slender, fuselage-like bodies and long wing-like pectoral fins.Like all species of sharks, their numbers are in decline due to over fishing and shark finning.

Photo by @BrianSkerry A Humpback whale calf appears to be riding on its mom’s nose as it swims closely to her in the waters of the South Pacific. Humpback moms invest a lot into their offspring, with a gestation that lasts nearly a year and then spends the first year of the calf’s life teaching it all the skills it will need to survive in the sea. These bonds are strong and are an important element of whale culture.

Photo by Brian Skerry @BrianSkerry An Olive Ridley sea turtle entangled in plastic fishing net in the waters off Sri Lanka. I was at sea in this location searching for whales, on assignment for @natgeo when our crew spotted this turtle struggling at the surface. I got into the water, made a few photos, then with the help of our team, freed the turtle. The turtle was severely entangled, with the plastic ropes wrapped tightly around its flippers and body. Floating debris, such as drifting logs, often attract fish and other small creatures and turtles will investigate hoping for a meal. In this case the debris was a bamboo log that was snagged with net. Despite some wounds on its flippers from the net, this turtle strongly and quickly swam away once it was free. I actually saw several sea turtles entangled in plastic during my time on this assignment and we disentangled each one. But I can’t help wonder about the many others I won’t be there to see or help. Plastic is a terrible problem in the sea with an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic being added to our oceans each year. In edition to deadly entanglement, it is eaten by countless animals, many of which are consumed by humans.

Photo by Brian Skerry @BrianSkerry A pair of orca travel on the ocean surface in the waters of the Norwegian Arctic days before the sun sets for the winter and the Polar Night begins. The orcas migrate into fiords in this region during late fall and winter to feed on herring that often overwinter here. Successful feeding by the orca involves complex communications and echolocation as they hunt in total darkness. Specialized feeding strategies such as this are examples of intelligence and culture found among whale and dolphin families.

Photo by @BrianSkerry Happy World Oceans Day! On this day, when the world celebrates the magnificence of Earth’s oceans, I urge you to think about the need for conservation of our water planet. 98% of our biosphere - where life can exist on Earth - is water - yet only about 3% os the oceans are protected. Science tells us that for a healthy planet, at least 40% of the oceans must be protected. Every other breath we takes comes from the sea, more than 50% of the oxygen needed to live is generated by the ocean. For our own survival, ocean ecosystems must be conserved. But the benefit of a thriving planet also means that we not only survive, it means that we live richly and in harmony with nature. My hope on this day is that each one of us will work on becoming better citizens for the planet in every way possible - from reducing waste in our daily lives (especially plastic) to making wiser choices about what we eat and supporting political leaders that understand science and who will act to protect the ocean and the Earth.

Photo by @BrianSkerry An Orca feeds on a fish that has fallen out of a fishing net in the waters of the Norwegian arctic. Orca migrate into these northern waters in the fall to feed on herring. Most often they use a feeding strategy in which multiple animals work cooperatively to ‘corral’ the herring into tight schools, then swim through and eat them. But frequently these days, the orca are finding that they can get an easier meal by hanging out near commercial fishing boats and picking up the fish that escape from the nets.

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