In 2013 Canon asked underwater photographer Darren Jew to travel to Tonga using their newest flagship camera. The resulting images illustrate a journey that takes “immersion learning” to a whole new level. Imagine swimming a few feet from a creature the size of a city bus belting out songs like a teenager with a 10,000-watt sound system.

“The best encounters with whales are the ones where they’re interested and curious about the swimmers in the water,” says Jew. “That’s quite a profound moment when a whale looks you in the eye. It’s like no other feeling that I’ve ever had before.”

Certainly beats sitting in a cubicle staring at a flickering blue computer monitor.

“If you’ve got a passion for photography, there’s no reason you can’t make it your life,” Jew says. “It’s a fulfilling career. It gives you so much. You just need dedication, and you need persistence.”