"Underwater World" Winner: "Leopard Seal Pass"
Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, 2005
Natural History Museum, London, and BBC Wildlife Magazine
U.K. filmmaker George Duffield knew he was taking a risk when he came face to face with Antarctica's most feared predator, the inquisitive and sometimes aggressive leopard seal. One such seal killed a young Antarctic researcher two years ago.
Fortunately the 12-foot-long (3.6-meter-long) individual pictured only nipped at the photographer's diving fins as it swam around a small iceberg.
It's all about judging their mood, Duffield said. When they attack your rubber boat, you know it's best not to get in the water. And if a seal shows its teeth and blows bubbles, then you know you're in danger.