As with most babies, this creature was curious. I could not help but wave and smile at the newborn humpback whale almost three times my length. Its curiosity got the better of it, and emerging from under it's mother's fin it swam towards me, playfully rolling and circling me. It took tremendous effort not to reach my hand and establish physical contact as the curious baby approached within 30 centimeters of my face and camera.
Karim Iliya is a professional aerial cinematographer and underwater photographer / film maker based on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Karim lives a semi nomadic lifestyle and travels the globe with a focus on photographing / filming wildlife and marine environments using freediving and drones. Karim's passion is in documenting whales, elephants, big cats, and other threatened animals in an effort to create appreciation in order to help protect our delicate ecosystems on Earth. Karim has been published in National Geographic Magazine for his humpback whale photography.