Winner, "Underwater World" Category
Man and whale size each other up in the winner of the 2008 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition's underwater category, announced on October 30, 2008.
The photo was taken by Brian Skerry on assignment for National Geographic
magazine off New Zealand's Auckland Islands, where a "pristine population" of southern right whales, in Skerry's words, was discovered only ten years ago (more right whale photos by Skerry
The U.S. photographer said he had deployed his assistant Mauricio Handler (pictured) as bait for this friendly 70-ton giant.
"The whales were highly curious of us. Many of these animals had never seen a human before," Skerry told National Geographic News.
(The National Geographic Society owns both National Geographic
magazine and National Geographic News.)
Photograph by Brian Skerry/Wildlife Photographer of the Year