Paul Nicklen@paulnicklen

Co-founder of @Sea_Legacy and contributing photographer to National Geographic. Please join The Tide and support SeaLegacy

1,200 posts 4,175,072 followers 1,390 following

I have always loved this image that I took in 2014 in Norway. But it was too grainy, too dark, not quite there and it frustrates me to not do these animals and ecosystems justice. It was a miss but not by much. I finally did it in black and white and now I am in love with the moment and mood. In the heart of the dark winter in northern Norway, over 1000 orcas gather to feast on herring. Recently, due to pressure by you, our @sea_legacy followers, other NGO’s, policy makers and concerned citizens these orcas are free to roam and feed without the pressure of oil seismic exploration and oil drilling for another four years. We must make this a a permanent thing. I am excited that my new polar retrospective coffee-table book will be coming out this summer. Please stay tuned. For those who have helped me make some critical decisions on my instagram story feed, I thank you! #gratitude #orca #nature

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Of all of the species I have spent time in the sea, pinnipeds have provided the most laughs. I have been diving with these sea lions for many years, and it is an experience that is tough to beat. All I know is that it is challenging to photograph when your mask is full of water from laughing so hard. Thank you @instagram for giving us a shout-out today! #Follow us on @sea_legacy as we use the power of visual storytelling to celebrate and protect this beautiful British Columbia coast.

British Columbia

A large male polar bear noshes on some bearded seal ribs. Judging by the size of the remaining carcass, this seal may have weighed up to 600 pounds. To thrive in the planet's harshest environments, polar bears need to eat as much as they can to support themselves with energy and fat reserves as kills like this come rarely. #TurningTheTide with @Sea_Legacy


Just returning to Vancouver after a wonderful two days in #Dubai where we attended the @hipaae Photography Awards. Very happy that my friend and Secretary General of the competition @ali_bin_thalith who is a great underwater photographer and an even finer human presented me with these two awards. My carry-on is a little heavy. Never got the grand prize but received a first place for my body of work on climate change and a second place for a decisive moment of a leaping penguin. I also had a wonderful day with the The Crown Prince of #Dubai @faz3. The photo contest is his and he lives a life with purpose. He cares about photography and our oceans and I am proud that one of my Narwhal fine art prints hangs on his wall. It was a nice break and a nice accolade but there is much work to do. #turningthetide with @sea_legacy #gratitude #nature

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Antarctica feeds my soul, senses, and camera more than any other place on Earth. It is all about the wildlife, the encounters, and the experiences. In 2006, I had my first encounter with the supposedly fearsome leopard seal. On that expedition, a huge leopard seal took me under her care for four days and constantly tried to feed me penguins. I have been in the water with hundreds of leopard seals since and I have never known the leopard seal to be anything other than inquisitive, intelligent, playful, curious, gentle and an incredibly cool top predator of icy seas. They always make me laugh and smile just as this one did when it struck this pose. When you look at elephant seals, fur seals, and crab-eater seals, they are covered in scars and bite marks from their constant quarrels. When you look at leopard seals, it is rare to find a bite mark or scar on their bodies. They mostly communicate through gesture and display. They don’t want to bite, and they don’t want to be bitten. Just as @goranehlme showed me the way of the leopard seal in 2006, I felt honored to be able to show the leopard seal to @cristinamittermeier, @andy_mann and @ladzinski. Please follow @Sea_Legacy to see more photographs like these from our extremely talented collective and help us to continue #TurningTheTide.


A caribou races across the tundra in the high Arctic. With climate change, one of the biggest threats to caribou is the explosion of mosquito populations. The swarms of mosquitoes get into their eyes, ears, and nose and are such a nuisance that they have a hard time eating. I have been able to walk right up to caribou that have gone crazy due to mosquitoes.


I watched this bear from my kayak while hiding behind a chunk of sea ice for a long time and he never realized that I was there. These are often my favorite encounters. I want to be a ghost or a fly on the wall and not interfere with wildlife while they do wild and natural things. With @jedweingarten.


Some wildlife portraits are just meant for Instagram. As I entered the temperate waters in the Northwest corner of the Falkland Islands, hundreds of fur seals raced passed me, playfully bluff charging, blowing bubbles in my face and chewing on my fins. Then, this juvenile casually and calmly descended from the surface and parked itself in front of my camera and stared at its reflection in my dome. With @cristinamittermeier and @sea_legacy.

Falkland Islands

Warm water currents travel up the coast and mix with the cold nutrient rich waters of BC providing the perfect soup to sustain and nourish a large biodiversity of life. Here, Northern Right Whale Dolphins effortlessly glide through the cold waters. This species uniquely does not possess a dorsal fin. With @cristinamittermeier, @sea_legacy, @aprilbencze and @oren.lawson.

British Columbia

An incredibly impressive male walrus in Svalbard, Norway flicks his three foot long ivory tusks skyward as he flops onto his back for a more comfortable sleeping position. I love trying to elevate the image of these species by photographing them from a low angle.


Narwhals jockey for position and gently cross tusks as they push for a breath of air. They are diving under the sea ice in an attempt to access the thick schools of polar cod. Soon after taking this image, I slipped into the water and was caught in the middle of two courting male narwhal. One narwhal never realized that I was there and started to rub my neoprene clad head with its tusk. I am comfortable in saying that I am the only person on the planet who has found themselves in this position.


There are all types of leadership in this world and then there are those who just throw caution to the polar wind and charge. With leopard seals constantly patrolling this rookery, it takes incredible courage to leap off of an icy cliff into cold Antarctic waters full of predators. But, they have no choice as they need to bring back krill to their hungry chicks. What penguin would you be? #leadership #adventure #explore #bw