Skip to content

National Geographic Live

Brian Skerry: Secrets of the Whales

Celebrated National Geographic Explorer and photographer Brian Skerry has spent nearly four decades exploring and documenting the world’s oceans. For his latest project, he turns his lens to one of the world’s most beloved animals to illuminate groundbreaking new insights into their lives and culture. Skerry spent more than two years in 24 locations around the world capturing remarkable images and video for a landmark National Geographic book, magazine story, and television series, Secrets of the Whales.

Hear his behind-the-scenes stories straight from the field and get an inside look at the groundbreaking science of whale culture—and its startlingly human parallels—across four different species. Discover the hunting techniques and international cuisines of orca pods and the multi-generational childcare systems and female-led families of sperm whales. Explore the culture of singing competitions among humpback whales and meet charming beluga whales in Canada that journey each summer to their “vacation resort.” Through Skerry’s mesmerizing work, uncover what these majestic creatures can teach us about ourselves and our planet. 

Learn about these fascinating mammals from the legendary National Geographic photographer himself, live and in-person, as Arts Commons Presents and National Geographic Live bring Brian Skerry: Secrets of the Whales to Calgary fans. 

“We are working in an alien environment. You have to wear life-support equipment when you go into the ocean, or you have to hold your breath to get close to these animals. I can only stay underwater as long as the air supply on my back will last. And then I have to get very close. Even in the clearest of water, you can’t use one of those telephoto lenses; it’s just not possible. So I have to get within a couple meters of my subject, and it really comes down to the animals. They have to allow me into their world.”


Brian Skerry