CORVALLIS - Widely regarded as the world's premier whale photographer, Charles "Flip" Nicklin - a contributor to National Geographic magazine for more than 20 years - will speak at Oregon State University on Tuesday, April 30.

His illustrated lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in the university's LaSells Stewart Center. It is free and open to the public and is part of OSU's Convocations and Lectures Series.

Nicklin has more than 5,500 dives under his belt. His ability to free dive to depths of more than 70 feet allows him to swim near enough to record whale behavior without interfering with their actions in the water.

Nicklin claims to have been born with both diving and photography in his blood. His father, Chuck Nicklin, is a diver and underwater cinematographer who taught his sons to dive. At the age of 16, Flip was helping his father teach diving off of the coast of Southern California in La Jolla. Nicklin first worked with the National Geographic Society in 1976 when hired as a deckhand and diving assistant for a three-month shoot with photographers Bates Littlehales and Jonathan Blair. With the help of his mentors, two of his images were published when their story appeared in 1978. Twenty-three years after his first publication, he has become the magazine's main underwater whale photographer.

Nicklin has several books to his name, including "With the Whales," published by Northword Press, and "Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises," published by the National Geographic Society. In the U.S., his photos have appeared in numerous publications including "Ranger Rick," "National Wildlife," "Ocean Realm," "Audubon," "Men's Journal" and "Time."

Nicklin has recently completed a story on Minke whales scheduled for an upcoming issue of National Geographic.

He frequently has worked with Bruce Mate, who directs OSU's Marine Mammal Program.

The OSU Convocations and Lectures Committee sponsors three to four major speakers each year intended to broaden the intellectual and spiritual knowledge of the community. Lecture topics typically reflect the development of the humanities and sciences, while stimulating individual thought processes.

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Machelle Kennedy, 541-737-6872