Paul Nicklen has said that his passion for wildlife drives him to turn his camera on the most hard-to-find creatures in the arctic: "I like to show people things they would never see," he says. And while his shots of polar bears and other wildlife are jaw-droppingly close, his series of run-ins with a leopard seal put him at the top of our list this year.
Nicklen was underwater, trying to capture images of sea life off Pleaneu Island, Antarctica, when a leopard seal assumed he was unable to fend for himself and tried to feed him a penguin.
"The more I rejected her advances, the more frustrated she appeared," he says. "I was tempted to accept one of her gifts; however, the harder she tried, the more I got to shoot."
Photo: Paul Nicklen