This video shows how magical a photo session with humpback whales can be. Australian photographer Jem Cresswell has been visiting them for three years, and his local Tongan guide, Sione, knows when a whale is ready for its closeup. Cresswell tells My Modern Met, “I always enter the water as calmly as possible, keeping my heart rate low, and wait to see the behavior. There are obvious signs if the whales are comfortable, and we will not approach until it is evident they are happy for us to be in the water with them.”
The photos Creswell captures are spectacular. And it seems his curiosity is mutual: “It’s amazing to witness their conscious movements—to see their eye follow you as they move and put their pectoral fin down, to ensure they don't bump you as they pass."