When photographer Michaela Skovranova moved from landlocked Slovakia to the coast of Australia, she was intrigued by the vast ocean. "One early morning during a swim I could hear soft clicks of a dolphin and suddenly she appeared right beneath me," Skovranova explained to the Instagram Blog. "She looked at me with the most curious eye—and just as quickly she was gone. I was left breathless and from then on I wanted to feel that every single day—and perhaps let other people feel that too through my work.” 

The 27-year-old has since been taking amazing photographs of the many majestic creatures that roam the sea. To get the best possible shots, Skovranova dives with as little equipment as possible. Some areas don't allow swimmers in diving equipment to interact with humpback whales, so free diving lets Skovranova get closer to them. Patience and proper preparation are the best tools for getting a great shot. 

"The adult whales weigh 40 tons, and only take a breath every 30 minutes, so when they do come up, which can be at high speed, it can be a heart-stopping moment—one that’s worth the wait," she explains. "The baby whales breathe every few minutes and they can be wonderfully playful too, which makes them a little easier to photograph!"

The lack of diving equipment or heavy camera gadgets help keep the photographer free-moving and flexible. She uses a fixed focal length lens and will preset the exposure and pre-focus her camera before diving. "Seeing all the wonderful things that the ocean creates, all I need to do is respond to it, and sometimes hold my breath for a little while.”