National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen, famed for his more than two-decades worth of work in the Arctic and Antarctic, has been interviewed by Terry Gross for NPR’s Fresh Air series. In the interview Nicklen speaks about his well documented interaction with a leopard seal, who tried to feed him penguins, the dangers of this type of photography, and of course how climate change will impact the sea ice.
Here’s what Nicklen had to say about the emotion he felt towards the leopard seal that tried to feed him penguins: “I definitely fell in love with this seal. It’s embarrassing to admit this to you. … I’d fall asleep at night with tears coming down my cheeks. … I was just so grateful, just to spend your life out with animals and to be fighting to get yourself into a situation where you can try and get close, where you can try and even get within 100 meters of something.
And all of a sudden here’s a top predator, and not only are you getting to see it, it’s interacting with you; it’s trying to force-feed you penguins, it’s trying to take care of you. It’s a very very humbling thing. … Just to flop yourself into its world and for it to spend that much time and energy trying to figure out who you are and to interact with you. … I think that’s why I get emotional, because we had such a connection.”
Read the full article and listen to the interview here.