These jaw-dropping photos are a stunning tribute to one man’s 30-year journey alongside the planet’s largest marine giants.
In some, researchers get frighteningly close to a 50-foot southern right whale as it waves its tail in the water.
In another, a young and excited Huupack jumps in front of an astonished Ƅiologist.
Incredible: Researcher Jason Sturgis is just meters away when a year-old humpback whale leaps out of the water in a playful gesture off Hawaii.
Bird’s-eye view: Mr. Sturgis gets up close and personal with a female humpback and her calf
Wide open: A huмpƄack feeds while herring gulls wait for leftovers at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts, USA.
World-class nature researcher and photographer Charles ‘Flip’ Niklin, 62, from Alaska, has published this incredible set of photographs in his new book, Among Giants.
Flip said: ‘I do my research and take photos along the way.
‘The story I tell is about how close researchers can get to whales.
‘In the image of the southern right whale with its tail out of the water in Argentina, you can see how close the three researchers were able to get on their float.
That whale had its tail out of the water for five whole minutes.
‘We still don’t know why he was doing this, it could be a way of losing heat and being in the wind.’
Waʋe for the camera: A whale prepares to slap its pectoral fin on the water’s surface off the coast of Hawaii as a family watches from a Ƅoat
One for the alƄuм family: A sperm whale with its white calf near Portugal
The man behind the camera: Charles ‘Flip’ Niklin has dedicated 30 years to capturing the lives of whales around the world
In another incredible incident, researcher Jason Sturgis was swimming with a one-year-old humpback whale when it began playing with him and jumping around him in the water.
Flip became involved in whale research as a journalist before graduating as a marine Ƅiologist and began researching himself.
He said: ‘Our view of whales has changed so much in the time I have studied them.
‘When we first saw whales, we thought they were monsters. Once we realized that they were, in fact, in danger from us, I think our perspective completely changed.
Now we can appreciate how intelligent and charismatic they are.
‘This is what I tried to capture in my eyes: the personal experience of my time with them.’
During Flip’s life, he has traveled to at least 20 different countries and all the world’s oceans.
Flip added: “My goal is not to tell people what to think, but to give them things to think about.”
Flip’s look, Among Giants: A Life with Whales, is available in hardback for £25 from www.amazon.com