Rita Kluge Swims with Adult Whales & Their Babies to Get These Captivating Underwater Images

©Rita Kluge

Rita Kluge is a German-born freelance photographer with a passion for the sea. In this amazing series she swims with whales to capture some captivating shots of adult leviathans and their babies.

Now living in Australia on Sydney’s Northern beaches, Kluge spent the 2015 whale season in Tonga photographing the gentle beasts. She’s also photographed sharks in Tahiti and was named Runner-up in the 2015 Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Amazing Ocean Photographer of the Year competition.

Kluge donates much of her time assisting non-profit organizations concerned with wildlife preservation and conservation. She’s also worked as a surf instructor, snowboard instructor and as a physiotherapist for surf legends like Kelly Slater and skateboard icon Tony Hawk.

As Kluge told The Guardian, she fell in love with whales while watching them travel from the New South Wales coastline to their feeding grounds in the Antarctic. “To look into a whale’s eye is life-changing and humbling,” she says.

She adds that while she likes to get close to her subjects, it’s important not to get too close for the sake of protecting her gear. “Whales know not to hit you,” she explains, “but calves can get very, very playful and you just need to be able to read their body language and pull back in time.”

You can see more of Kluge’s inspiring work on her website and Instagram page.