Catching a 200-Year-Old Whale

Catching a 200-Year-Old Whale

Video. Photographer Paul Nicklen shares his experience photographing a bowhead whale and explains what makes this whale so special.

Grades

3 - 12+

Subjects

Arts and Music, Earth Science, Geography, Oceanography, Photography

Program
NG Live

This video was filmed on November 15, 2012 as part of the National Geographic Live! Lecture series at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.


Introduction

Photographer Paul Nicklen uses his camera to reveal the nature of a world melting away under human-induced global warming. "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 ecosystem. I hope we can realize through my photography how interconnected these species are to ice. It just takes one image to get someone's attention."

Whether he is ice diving among leopard seals in Antarctica, covering hundreds of miles of terrain in minus 40°F temperatures, or mastering aerial shots from his ultralight plane, Paul Nicklen has specialized in photographing polar regions since 1995.


Outline

  • Photographing narwhals (start-0:27 min.)

  • The opportunity of a photographer's lifetime: a bowhead whale appears (0:28-1:16 min.)

  • A bowhead whale's lifetime (1:17-1:43 min.)

  • Current threats: the loss of sea ice (1:44-2:19 min.)

 


Strategies for Using Video in a Variety of Learning Environments

  • Have students preview several of the videos and choose the one they find most inspiring. Have students describe in writing a conversation they might have with the speaker(s).

  • Freeze the video on a relevant image. Have students observe details in the still image and jot down predictions of what the full video might address. Discuss students’ ideas before and after watching the video.

  • Pose an open-ended question before students watch the video, and have them discuss their ideas before and after in small groups.

  • Have students determine what they think the key message of this video is. Was the speaker effective in getting his or her message across?

  • Show a short clip to engage students during class, and then have students watch the full video at home and write a paragraph responding to the content or a question you give them.

  • Have students note statements that represent facts or opinions, including where it’s difficult to tell the difference. What further research might help distinguish facts vs. opinions? How might the speaker’s viewpoint compare with others’ viewpoints about a topic?

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Page Producers
Nina Page, National Geographic Society,
Samantha Zuhlke, National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. She or he will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.

Media

If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.

Text

Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.

Interactives

Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.

Related Resources