When French photographer Alex Voyer saw a chance to swim with penguins, he literally jumped at the chance. He dove into the frigid arctic water with nothing more than a wetsuit, his camera and one deep breath, Voyer came face-to-face (and fin-to-fin) with the tuxedoed flightless birds.

Voyer made this gorgeous photo two years ago during sailing adventure in Antartica. He was topside enjoying the view when he spotted a group of 50 or so penguins feeding at sea. Amazed, he suited up and jumped in.

He floated just below the surface, waiting for the moment when the birds came up for air and then rocketed back down into the deep. He worked with natural light and a camera with a 16-35mm lens in an underwater housing. The wide angle lens and fast shutter speed allowed him to capture each penguin as the colony dove and spiraled. Voyer did his best to avoid disturbing the birds, which swam around him for nearly 30 minutes before vanishing. “It is amazing to see so many penguins surrounding and flying around,” he says. “It’s incredible how agile they are in the water, because they are so clumsy on land.”

Though he’s a sound engineer by day, Voyer’s passions are freediving and photography. He and his friend Alex Roubaund, another freediving photographer, go by the moniker Fisheye. Together, they’ve spent the last three years traveling the world, photographing dolphins in Egypt, sharks in Portugal, humpback whales in Madagascar, and more. Though they get extremely close to the animals, Voyer emphasizes the importance of not disturbing or disrupting them. He doesn’t bait animals with food, preferring to simply wait patiently for the creatures to investigate. “We try to make them curious about us, and we let them come to us,” he says.

Ultimately, the pair want to show people how many fantastic creatures live below the sea, a place too few understand and appreciate. “The oceans are still living, and if we want to educate people about them and fight for this cause, we must show them how beautiful they are,” Voyer says.

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Gorgeous Photo Captures a Penguin Colony on the Hunt