Paul Nicklen: Adopted by a Leopard Seal (Video)
National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen got up close and personal with a leopard seal in the frigid waters off the coast of Antarctica. Leopard seals are fearsome predators, the bane of penguins. Paul Nicklen was photographing a huge leopard seal when she took an keen interest in him, trying to teach him how to eat penguins. At one point, to establish dominance, the leopard seal put Paul Nicklen's camera and head in her mouth.
Suddenly my getting really close to spiders to take macro shots doesn't seem nearly as cool.
It was very humbling to have this animal accept me and be gentle and interact with me in the way it did. Not only did the leopard seals not attack as some predicted they would, they fed me penguins, followed me around, and generally put on a nonstop show. I've photographed many different species around the world, but this assignment will stay with me forever.
Eventually, after putting Nicklen through leopard-seal basic training, the leopard seal wrote Nicklen off as a weak predator. What he lacks in penguin-eating abilities, though, he makes up for in photographic skills.
Good thing he's so good at extreme nature photography, because his career as an Antarctic top-level predator was over before it began.