Brian Skerry@brianskerry

National Geographic Photographer // Speaker // Author // Rolex Explorer of the Year

Photo by @BrianSkerry
A pod of Spinner Dolphins, moms and calves, swim in a coastal bay in the waters off Kona, Hawaii in early morning. These animals forage in deep offshore water at night, then move into shallower regions to socialize and rest in the morning. With the clear water and white sand bottom, they appear to be flying through air. The Hawaiian spinners have a beautiful tri-coloration. These animals are considerably smaller in size compared to species like bottlenose. Spinner dolphins are among the most social of dolphin species, rarely seen alone or even in small numbers.
Spending time in the sea with these animals is very special indeed. As with most creatures I photograph, my presence must be accepted for me to make a picture for I could never swim fast enough to photograph an animal that didn’t want me near. But when animals like dolphins allow me into their world, even for brief periods, I am able to see amazing things. It is these moments that has inspired me for decades to travel widely and to endure many challenges. A small price to pay for the privilege of enriching my soul.
Photograph made under NMFS (NOAA) permit #17941.
#dolphins #hawaii


Photo by @BrianSkerry
‘PELAGIC PREDATOR’ - My photograph of an Oceanic Whitetip Shark is now available as a large format, signed and numbered fine art print. Available only from @focus_gallery in Chatham, Massachusetts.
I photographed my fist shark in the wild in 1982 and that experience had a profound effect on me. As a photographer, I find sharks an intoxicating subject, a perfect blend of grace and power. They move elegantly through the water yet exude a great confidence. In the decades since that first shark experience I find myself frequently working with these animals, trying to produce photographs that capture their essence. Nature has sculpted them to be perfect for whichever marine ecosystem in which they live. The Oceanic Whitetip in this photograph, is a true pelagic predator, living in the open sea in regions that have been called ocean deserts, where food is few and far between, so they must be especially efficient hunters. Their long pectoral fins are shaped like the wings of a glider, allowing them to cruise over long distances and save energy. The Oceanic Whitetip is a species on the brink however, having been hunted for their fins for decades. Their populations have declined up to 98% throughout much of their range.
On this day, the water was clear and the sun shined brightly in the sky. I dived down to a depth of about 10-meters and waited for the shark to swim into the ideal position, blocking the sun, creating a silhouette and accentuating its form. After lots of waiting and many attempts, I had the image that I had envisioned in my mind’s eye. And now, it is available as an archival, fine art print. Follow the link in my profile to learn more about my collection at the @focus_gallery and see the full sized, large format photograph!

#sharks #oceanicwhitetip #fineart


Photo by @BrianSkerry
I am taking over the IG feed of the @newenglandaquarium this week, posting some of my favorite shark images!
A pair of Great White Sharks swim through schools of jacks near dusk in the waters off South Australia. Much of what we think about white sharks is not true. They are not merciless hunters, are not always loners and may be far smarter than ever believed. I have always sensed a great cognitive ability in great white sharks, as they often seem to be sizing up a situation and figuring things out. I believe that in the time ahead, science will reveal that these animals are far smarter than ever believed.

Check out @newenglandaquarium to see more of my curated shark photographs!
#sharks #greatwhiteshark #australia #predators


Photo by @BrianSkerry
A free diver swims above a large whale shark near the surface in the waters off Western Australia. The largest fish in the sea, whale sharks were recently reclassified as an endangered species, with their numbers having being reduced by half according to recent studies. Whale sharks are plankton feeders, often moving slowly near surface waters as they feed. Their populations are being most impacted in regions such as Asia, where there is a demand for their fins.
Swimming with whale sharks has long been one of my favorite experiences. They can be massive in size, yet so gentle, moving gracefully and purposefully through the sea. I feel that they are always quite aware of my presence, but rarely give me much thought. It’s as if they are on an long and ancient journey and I am simply a momentary distraction.
#whaleshark #australia #freedive


Photo by @BrianSkerry
‘Presidential Swim’ - My photograph of former US President Barack Obama snorkeling over a coral reef in the waters off Midway Atoll in September 2016. This photo is now available as a Fine Art Print only from @focus_gallery in Chatham, Massachusetts. Click the link in my profile to see the full frame photo and to learn more about my exclusive collection of large format, limited edition, signed and numbered prints available through the Focus Gallery.

Days before this photograph was made, President Obama created the world’s largest marine protected area in the waters surrounding Midway Atoll by expanding the boundaries of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. He traveled here to see firsthand this spectacular underwater ecosystem. I was honored to be invited to join him on this snorkeling adventure. I was on assignment for National Geographic magazine and knew that I needed to get the photo, so I was very focused on the job at hand. But I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of spending time at sea with the president and loved our conversation about the value of protecting the environment and especially the ocean. A few weeks after this, I was invited to the White House and gave President Obama the first copy of this print. Now, it is available to everyone!

Scientists tell us that to have a healthy planet, we must protect at least 40% of Earth’s oceans. Today, only about 3% is protected, so we have a long way to go. But actions such as this, by world leaders, is a positive step in the right direction helping to ensure a vibrant future for all.
#presidentobama #potus #midway #marinereserves #healthyoceans


Photo by @BrianSkerry
My portrait of a Gray Seal in the Gulf of Maine, entitled ‘Ain’t Misbehaving,’ is now available in beautiful large format as a limited edition, signed and numbered fine art print! Available only from the @focus_gallery in Chatham, Massachusetts.
To see the full collection of my prints at the Focus Gallery, follow the link in my profile.

This has always been one of my favorite images. I spent 5 hours in the chilly water the day I made this picture, loving every minute of being with these seals. In the beginning they were shy, but eventually built up their courage to come closer and eventually were biting on my fins! This guy stoped just long enough for me to make one picture, then swam off.
#seals #gulfofmaine #maine #portrait #fineartprint


Photo by @BrianSkerry
My photograph of a North Atlantic Right Whale, entitled ‘Right Whale Sunset,’ is now available in beautifully large format as a limited edition, signed and numbered fine art print! Only from the @focus_gallery in Chatham, Massachusetts. To see the full collection, follow the link in my Instagram profile.

I will be at the Focus Gallery in Chatham (on Cape Cod) on July 1st signing copies of my books and talking about my work.
#rightwhales #northatlanticrightwhales #capecod #fineart


Photo by @BrianSkerry
A school of bluefin tuna photographed in the Mediterranean Sea off of Spain. I am excited to announce that I have partnered with the @focus_gallery in Chatham, Massachusetts to offer 10 of my favorite photographs as limited edition, fine art prints. This photo of bluefin tuna is one of the images available as a print through the Focus Gallery. If you can’t make it to Chatham to see the full frame, large format prints, matted and beautifully framed in the gallery, check out their website by following the link in my Instagram profile. Only 50 prints of each photograph in select sizes are available!


Photo by @BrianSkerry.

A Bottlenose Dolphin swims with Spotted Dolphins in The Bahamas. After humans, dolphins have the largest brains in the animal kingdom, relative to body size. Despite this fact, their world is very different than our own and the ways in which they use their brain is fascinating. Dolphins see much of their world acoustically, using echolocation (i.e. sonar) to determine the location of objects and distances. Dolphins also sleep with one half of their brains awake, as they need to be constantly alert for predators and because they are voluntary breathers.
@thephotosociety @natgeocreative
#bahamas #thebahamas #bottlenosedolphin #bottlenose #dolphin #spotted #tropical #tropics #ocean #caribbean #underwater #photography #national #geographic #natgeo #photooftheday #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador #nikonlove


Photo by @BrianSkerry.

A spinner dolphin calf (in the foreground) with a plastic bag encircling its head swims with her mother in the waters off Oahu, Hawaii. While working on a dolphin story on assignment for @natgeo I saw this mother dolphin playing with a plastic bag. Dolphins often pick up objects floating in the sea, such as seaweed or leaves and play games, passing the object to another dolphin swimming behind them. In this case the adult dolphin passed the bag to her calf. The calf picked up the plastic bag and in the process the bag slipped over her head and formed a ring behind her eyes. I was swimming as hard as possible alongside and was trying to reach the calf to pull off the bag, but she stayed just beyond my reach. It was frustrating and horrifying to see this happening so closely and yet be unable to help. Eventually, the young dolphin leap into the air, twirling around, as spinner dolphins do to dislodge parasites (hence the name spinner dolphins). On her second attempt, the bag flew off of her head and she was free! I picked up the bag, brought it to the boat and disposed of it once back on land. Plastic is a serious problem for every creature on the planet.

#spinner #dolphin #dolphins #ocean #underwater #photography #nationalgeographic #natgeo #travel #hawaii #oahu #water #tropical #animals #photooftheday #onassignment #nikonambassador #nikonnofilter #nikonlover


Photo by @BrianSkerry
Happy World Oceans Day! June 8, 2018
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.
The majority of where life can exist on Earth is water - 98% of our biosphere - yet only about 3% os the oceans are protected. Science tells us that for a healthy planet, at least 30% 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. So if for no other reason than our own survival, ocean ecosystems must be conserved.
The oceans give us so many riches and taking care of the sea means a healthy future for all.


Photo by @BrianSkerry.

A male Shortfin Pilot Whale (center) carries a dead calf in its mouth, while swimming with two female Pilot Whales off Kona, Hawaii. The calf, whose skin is beginning to slough off, is likely the offspring of this social group. Throughout history, there have been occasional reports of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) caring for their dead, though direct evidence and photos such as this one are quite rare.

Photographed on Assignment for @NatGeoMagazine.
#shortfin #pilot #whale #calf #hawaii#nature #nurture #care #family#conservation #underwater #photography#kona #national #geographic#photooftheday #nikonlove #nikonambassador #nikonnofilter