photographed by Robert Marc Lehmann
Robert Marc Lehmann is a marine biologist, research diver and prize-winning nature photographer. In HEROES WORLD, he shares the stories behind his images.
The sperm whale holds some big records. It is the largest predator on the planet and also has the largest brain in the animal kingdom. But whether it’s the cleverest is anyone’s guess, as Robert quips. It took the nature photographer more than a thousand attempts to snap this spectacular shot. “You only get one chance when a sperm whale submerges. You need to be in the right position – on the same level as the animal,” he explains. Robert photographed these sperm whale flukes in freezing cold conditions around 0°C (32°F) off the coast of Kaikōura, New Zealand.
Before the whales dive up to 3000 meters down in search of food, they stay on the surface of the ocean for around 10 minutes. During their dives for food, which can last up to an hour, Robert says the whales hunt for giant squid – their meal of choice – and perhaps occasionally snack on a hammerhead shark.