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National Geographic photographer's surprise encounter with deadly predator

By dpreview staff on Oct 18, 2012 at 19:38 GMT

National Geographic photographers can find themselves in unusual, extreme and potentially dangerous situations, trying to capture the 'never before seen' images the magazine is famous for. However, contributing photographer Paul Nicklen's story of his close encounter with a huge Leopard Seal (one of the top predators in the Antarctic), shows there's still opportunity for surprises in the job.

We heard about this video following Nicklen being given the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the year 2012 award.

Comments

Total comments: 105
12
gusda9
By gusda9 (Jan 27, 2013)

B on story I would have loved to been there a trip of a lifetime

0 upvotes
rianday
By rianday (Oct 25, 2012)

great experience ...

0 upvotes
Marla
By Marla (Oct 23, 2012)

Awesome....great story and new to me.

Thanks dp!

Maria

0 upvotes
Ennsp
By Ennsp (Oct 23, 2012)

Amazing video...

0 upvotes
ussery
By ussery (Oct 22, 2012)

That is incredible! I never dreamed a leopard seal would behave like that!

0 upvotes
Hinder
By Hinder (Oct 21, 2012)

So he's responsible for four days worth of dead penguins? :-)

8 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (Oct 21, 2012)

Come on. The leopard seal was just trying to fatten you up before eating you.

2 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Oct 21, 2012)

I thought that story was written by Hans Christian Andersen :-)

0 upvotes
GregGory
By GregGory (Oct 23, 2012)

Nope, the Grimm Bros.

1 upvote
montygm
By montygm (Oct 20, 2012)

Beautiful story. It never ceases to amaze me when you see a wild animal like this displaying a nurturing side to humans.

0 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Oct 21, 2012)

You do wonder about it's level of intelligence when they do so...

2 upvotes
montygm
By montygm (Oct 22, 2012)

Most definitely! I would say in some cases they are more intelligent and show more sensitivity than some humans out there.

3 upvotes
Philz
By Philz (Oct 20, 2012)

Baert7D I completely agree with you. This "music" in particular is an unfortunate nuisance

1 upvote
valjperez
By valjperez (Oct 20, 2012)

@ 31 sec and onward there shows another guy filming the story. what im worry about is the narrator tells some horrific stories WITHOUT any shots from the person filming. though i cant say it's an add-on fake story but proofs of his further sayings should be accompanied by video or photo in journalistic style. :(

1 upvote
scooby0068
By scooby0068 (Oct 22, 2012)

Conspiracy theorists we are surrounded by!

0 upvotes
Bart7D
By Bart7D (Oct 20, 2012)

Awesomestory! Fascinating instinct behavior, great images.

(Just a footnote: Being a musician myself, I HATE it when producers abuse music to pump drama into their documentary material, up to a level where A) the music gets in the way of the voice-over, and B) the music consists of 'kitsch' material (in this case a kind of jungle blurb never ever to be heard in the arctic zone).
[/rant off] )

2 upvotes
scooby0068
By scooby0068 (Oct 22, 2012)

sometimes you gotta just go wit da flo bro, of course there is credence to your points, but just sit back and relax and enjoy the high points strikes the prevalent note here..

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Nuno Souto
By Nuno Souto (Oct 20, 2012)

That is worth every micro second of it!

1 upvote
Bruno Azera
By Bruno Azera (Oct 20, 2012)

Awesome!

0 upvotes
Jahled
By Jahled (Oct 20, 2012)

The Youtube video was uploaded in 2009

0 upvotes
AllNikon
By AllNikon (Oct 20, 2012)

amazing

0 upvotes
JakJenner
By JakJenner (Oct 20, 2012)

While the video interview and photos are great, it's 3 years old and I've watched it dozens of times.

0 upvotes
steve88
By steve88 (Oct 20, 2012)

That is fascinating! I think I would've taken a bite out of the penguin, however, just to make the leopard seal happy. Better that than to have her angry and disgusted at you for refusing the free meal. :)

1 upvote
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Oct 19, 2012)

wow!

0 upvotes
DavidsfotosDotCom
By DavidsfotosDotCom (Oct 19, 2012)

Seals vs O-ring's, O-rings are safer.
Monterey Seals swim up to check me out till I surface then they panic & jump off the rocks.

0 upvotes
Greg Henry
By Greg Henry (Oct 19, 2012)

Many people don't give animals enough credit for their intelligence, and the fact that certain species can have individual personalities almost in the same way we do. I'm sure there are "a-hole" Leopard Seals, too.... this one just happened to be a "softy". Good for the diver and those of us who get to see the pics... not so good for the Penguins, as apparently even softy Seals like to eat them.

2 upvotes
tekneektom
By tekneektom (Oct 19, 2012)

A female scientist was killed by a leapord seal several years ago. She was scuba diving while attacked. Leapord seals are extremely dangerous

2 upvotes
racketman
By racketman (Oct 19, 2012)

never heard of Leopard seals attacking humans so not sure there was much danger but great photos. Wild Orcas wont attack humans either but doubt they would start trying to feed you whale meat.

0 upvotes
scooby0068
By scooby0068 (Oct 22, 2012)

Orcas do attack humans, they do not discriminate in they're prey, we are just not high on the dining list.

0 upvotes
MichaelEchos
By MichaelEchos (Oct 19, 2012)

Awesome!

0 upvotes
andrzej bialuski
By andrzej bialuski (Oct 19, 2012)

Cool!

I'd like a girlfriend like that.

5 upvotes
Slynky
By Slynky (Oct 19, 2012)

Interesting.

0 upvotes
Yani Tsvetanov
By Yani Tsvetanov (Oct 19, 2012)

Congratulations to the photographer!

1 upvote
Yves P.
By Yves P. (Oct 19, 2012)

Amazing ...

0 upvotes
mikeinak
By mikeinak (Oct 19, 2012)

all I can say is....wow!

1 upvote
phototransformations
By phototransformations (Oct 19, 2012)

Likewise. Wow!

0 upvotes
Rob Ong
By Rob Ong (Oct 19, 2012)

nice one. love it.

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Oct 19, 2012)

:(

So the headline here should be Nat Geo photographers cause penguin deaths for fun and proffit?

Unhappy Feet!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Goodmeme
By Goodmeme (Oct 19, 2012)

Unhappy feet that's hilarious. At least I think you are joking. :)

0 upvotes
obeythebeagle
By obeythebeagle (Oct 19, 2012)

No penguins were injured in the making of this video. Those are trained stunt penguins.

4 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Oct 19, 2012)

SFX are from Tom Savini (cf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Savini ) and the ketchup from Heinz (cf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz_Ketchup ).

0 upvotes
Kiboko
By Kiboko (Oct 19, 2012)

Can it be that this seal is a female … that recently lost one child and adopted the diver? That can explain this behavior of feeding the diver.

0 upvotes
Najinsky
By Najinsky (Oct 19, 2012)

More likely the seal saw itself reflected in the lens

2 upvotes
husky92
By husky92 (Oct 19, 2012)

Yes, exactly what I was thinking. Thinking it's reflection was another leopard seal. Surprised this wasn't brought up in the video.

0 upvotes
Solar Eagle
By Solar Eagle (Oct 19, 2012)

Quite the gift. And with the biggest one the guide had ever seen. That's some alignment right there. ;)

0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Oct 19, 2012)

The seal is pretty stupid but not that stupid. What would you do if you had plenty of soft fluffy tasty little penguins everywhere ( so many you could give'em away to divers ! ) on one side and this diver with all sorts of rubber sheets and tubes and glass and metal on the other side? It is an easy option.

I wonder what the caring sharing animal would have done if there were no penguins about and if Nicklen was naked like the poor penguins.

Because Nicklen knows that sea leopards do not kill humans for fun. Nearly never.

1 upvote
joe6pack
By joe6pack (Oct 19, 2012)

:O

0 upvotes
ARShutterbug
By ARShutterbug (Oct 19, 2012)

Fascinating! A wild predator offering peaceful coexistence in its habitat. That's some intelligence there.

1 upvote
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (Oct 19, 2012)

This is the first ever time I shared DPreview on my facebook!
Geez! look at the size of it.

0 upvotes
Vladik
By Vladik (Oct 19, 2012)

Must be a Nikon :)

1 upvote
William DeBlase
By William DeBlase (Oct 19, 2012)

He list his cameras as canons, and lenses are white

2 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Oct 19, 2012)

wicked awesome! he must have a really good camera! ;) ;) ;)

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Oct 19, 2012)

This comment reminds me each time I take a picture that attract good comments around me, I can hear "you have a good camera" or "what's the brand of your camera ?" or every variation possible on the same thema.

Next time, I will surely answer I use the same camera than Paul Cadden (cf: http://paulcadden.com/images/stories/drawings/nva6.jpg ).

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (Oct 19, 2012)

That's an amazing story.

0 upvotes
Joe M.
By Joe M. (Oct 19, 2012)

Awsome, Simply Awsome. Wild Animals can surprise you in a good way.

0 upvotes
tarnumf
By tarnumf (Oct 19, 2012)

Good thing - leopard seal probably thought that it was swimming with some oddly shaped black seal :)
Bad thing - sharks think in same way too..

1 upvote
Noogy
By Noogy (Oct 19, 2012)

Right place, right time, and a heart for photography that's in the right place. Awesome!

0 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Oct 19, 2012)

Loved it!

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Oct 19, 2012)

Amazing and that guy is really lucky. :D

0 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (Oct 19, 2012)

Coooool! And the story just keeps getting better and better. Well not so much for the penguins being used as feeding examples...

1 upvote
Alizarine
By Alizarine (Oct 19, 2012)

why are Nat Geo photogs so fearless O_O

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Funduro
By Funduro (Oct 19, 2012)

How much do I like NG photographers? My avatar speaks how much I admire them.

0 upvotes
allen23
By allen23 (Oct 19, 2012)

Amazing!!!

0 upvotes
gusda9
By gusda9 (Oct 19, 2012)

wow unreal

0 upvotes
doveq
By doveq (Oct 19, 2012)

unbelievable shots!

in this sort of situation, does a photog shoot in M because it's second nature to always have the right exposure, or is the right thing to shoot in shutter priority mode ?

1 upvote
Total comments: 105
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