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What lies beneath

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National Geographic explorer and photographer Brian Skerry has spent 30 years exploring the world’s oceans, from extreme conditions beneath Arctic ice, to predator-infested waters and tropical coral reefs. He tells ABC News Breakfast about his underwater journeys and his one-on-one encounters with creatures of the deep.

A southern right whale dwarfs a diver in this photo by Brian Skerry.

No matter how good of a swimmer you are, you can never swim fast enough to catch a whale or a dolphin or a shark.

They [the animal] really need to allow you into their world which means being very patient and sort of calm and … even though your heart may want to be racing you’ve got to try to control that and be relaxed so the animal gets close and you can make that image.

I dreamed about exploring as an astronaut or maybe in forest and jungles but there was something about the sea that always intrigued me.

The underwater equipment that I use is essentially regular surface terrestrial cameras but they have to go inside underwater cases and the lighting equipment is also very, very crucial.

The ocean acts as a giant filter. It scatters and filters light so if you want to see colour in detail, particularly with closer animals, you need to light those things.

I can only stay under water for as long as the air supply on my back will last which in many cases is maybe an hour.

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Hirshhorn Receives $2 M. Donation Toward ‘Future Fund,’ for Redesign of Public Spaces, Technology

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The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., has received a donation of $2 million from trustee Joleen Julius and her husband Mitch Julius. This is, according to the museum, the “single largest individual donor gift in the museum’s history.” The money will go toward establishing the “Future Fund,” a $4 million fundraising initiative aimed at redesigning the museum’s public spaces, in particular the lobby and the Hirshhorn’s sculpture garden. The money will also be used for “increased integration of technology into public programming.”

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