National Geographic Photographer Encounters Deadly Leopard Seal

It's always a great day when a massive leopard seal decides not to eat you whole. It's an even weirder day when that same leopard seal decides to feed you a fresh penguin. In this video, National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen was on assignment in Antartica to capture leopard seals in the wild when he was approached by a massive female with jaws twice as big as a grizzly bear. What happened next is nothing short of epic.

From time to time I stumble across old viral videos that I somehow missed.  This video happens to be at the top of this list. I give mad props to adventure photographers traveling to the ends of the earth, putting themselves in harms way to get the shot. It's really amazing what photographers will do to document the unknown. This encounter definitely qualifies as one of the most remarkable stories I've ever heard of.

About Paul Nicklen (from his website)

“I call myself an interpreter and a translator,” says Nicklen. “I translate what the scientists are telling me. If we lose ice, we stand to lose an entire eco-system. I hope we can realize through my photography how inter-connected these species are to ice. It just takes one image to get someone’s attention.”

"He has indeed managed to get people’s attention. Whether he is ice diving among leopard seals in Antarctica, covering hundreds of miles of terrain in -40F temperatures, or mastering aerial shots from his ultralight plane, Paul Nicklen has specialized in photographing polar regions since 1995. A unique childhood among the Inuit in Canada’s Arctic and a professional background as a biologist in the Northwest Territories enable him to take on the most inhospitable places on our planet. His images reflect a reverence for the creatures inhabiting these isolated and endangered environments."

"Paul has published thirteen stories for National Geographic Magazine, including 2011’s August cover story on the elusive Spirit Bear. His latest story was on Emperor Penguins in the November 2012 issue. His latest book, Polar Obsession, was published by National Geographic in November 2009 and was in its third printing within months of publication. He has received more than twenty international awards, including 14 awards with World Press Photo (including 2012 Grand Prize), three with Pictures of the Year International, and ten with BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the 2012 NRDC Biogems Award and the 2012 UVIC Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award."

In addition to his TED2011 talk, appearances on television shows such as Jeopardy and in youtube videos receiving millions of hits have recently thrust him into the popular culture spotlight."

What's the closest call you've had while out on-location? Who out there has come face to face with a wild beast, rocky crumbling cliff face or has fallen into a Raiders of the Lost Ark snake pit?

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Wild animals will always be interesting, as you never truly know what they are going go to do. Your standard 70-200 tele seems excessively long when you are used to portraits, but getting close to a wild animal with one will put you well into their world.

How many penguins have to die to get a great photo? Kind of joking but someone must be thinking it. I hope she ate all the offerings after you refused the penguin sushi.