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Swimming With Gentle Giants
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Swimming With Gentle Giants

Recently I jumped into the ocean with some of the world’s largest mammals, Humpback Whales, as they migrated through the waters of the Kingdom of Tonga, in the South Pacific Ocean. I wanted to take a series of unique portraits and images that I could share with the world to do my little bit to help raise awareness and create an environment where these gentle giants are respected and protected.

In one life changing photo session, I spent over three hours free diving with two bulls (males) and one cow (female). Their inquisitive nature led to a depth of interaction beyond anything I have ever experienced, as each took their turn to welcome me into their world and put on a show for the camera.

Gracefully gliding through the water, basking in the sun’s rays and gently pushing me towards the boat when I was getting tired. There was a connection between us that I hope many people get to experience in their lifetime. In the meantime please enjoy the journey through my lens and the images below.

More info: craigparryphotography.com


Yep, I’m pretty stoked to be here.

Fin Swipe

This image was recently awarded as 2014 Outdoor Magazine Underwater Image of the Year, so I’m very proud of it. I was approximately 3 meters away from her fin as it sliced through the water.


Taken after a quick visit to the surface for air, this image captures the graceful decent of the whale back into the depths.

Whale Stars

An aerial of a Humpback with the sun reflecting off the water. This was taken using a helicam, carrying a Canon 5D Mark3.


One of my favorite images from this assignment. Setting out to capture some detailed portraits, I changed lenses to a Canon 50mm. This image was taken at a distance of around 8m.

Hello there

This particular image was taken approximately 5 meters from the subjects. As this was taken, I was swimming back to the boat and felt something following me – I turned around and my new friends were close behind keen to keep on playing.


This extreme close up was taken approximately 6 foot away from her tail. The movement generated from the flick of the tail forced me back, but only after I managed to capture this.

A super close up of a Humpbacks fin

A close up of Barnacles which grow on the Humpback.

Head image of a female Humpback

Continuing the portrait series, the detail in this image made it a stand out for me.


Accompanied by a male companion above, this female whale glided past my lens. I chose to making the image black and white, to remove any potential distraction from the subject and to emphasise the emotion and grace which naturally occurs within the image.


A young Humpback heads back down to feed.


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Community Member
8 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That was amazing! Beautiful shots of beautiful creatures.

Community Member
8 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That was amazing! Beautiful shots of beautiful creatures.

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