MeetPatrick Dykstra
from Discovery's Chasing Ocean Giants
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."
Discovery's Chasing Ocean Giants
Patrick has worked with
About Patrick

About Me
My passion for the natural world keeps me on the road, often at sea, for the majority of the year. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my discoveries and contributions featured in various television programs, museums, scientific publications, and magazines. While I didn’t set out to work in television or science, it’s great to be able to share the wonders of our planet with as many people as possible. The Earth and its oceans need our attention.
My Work
My work has appeared on Animal Planet, BBC, CBS, National Geographic, Netflix and others in recent years. I was fortunate enough to win a BAFTA award for my camerawork on the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 and to have been featured on CBS Sunday Morning. I’m currently hosting Discovery’s Chasing Ocean Giants, which follows me on my quest to learn as much as possible about the ocean’s largest inhabitants.

My first career was as a corporate lawyer representing various international companies in their corporate transactions, but all of my free time was spent exploring the world’s oceans. From filming the world’s first footage of a blue whale nursing, to documenting orca migrations and manta ray tornados, I belonged at sea.
BBC's Blue Planet II
National Geographic's Hostile Planet
Night on Earth | A Netflix Original Documentary
Recent News

“Everything Humans Do Has A Major Impact On The Ocean”

Videographer Patrick Dykstra isn’t afraid of being swallowed by a humpback whale — but he is afraid of what climate change might bring about to it.

How to film whales, swim with sharks and dodge guerillas: lessons from Blue Planet’s cameraman

When BAFTA-winning cameraman Patrick Dykstra, submerged in the Norwegian sea, came within inches of being crashed into by a humpback whale, he described it not as a harrowing ordeal, or even a bit of a shock, but as “the greatest moment of my life”.

Exclusive: Rare, Mysterious Whales Filmed Professionally for the First Time

Gervais’ beaked whales are easily one of the most elusive mammals to swim through our oceans. Most of the information we have about them comes from studies of corpses that have washed ashore, and the first live whale was only spotted about 20 years ago.

Incredible images glimpse inside the world of a whale whisperer

INCREDIBLE images give a glimpse inside the world of a jet-setting whale whisperer – who was once nearly swallowed whole by a hungry humpback. Wildlife filmmaker Patrick Dykstra, 38, gave up a high-flying job as a corporate lawyer in 2013 to follow his dream of documenting Blue Whales – the largest creatures to ever grace the Earth.

How to take great pictures and video underwater, according to a Blue Planet II cameraman

Whether with a new breed of waterproof smartphone or underwater camera, taking pictures and filming under the sea is increasingly an option for us all. Of course, if you want to get those all important jealousy-inducing Instagram snaps, you’re going to want to show your followers just how crystal clear the water and how colourful the fish really were.


I probably get this question more than any. My simple answer is to get out and film things! I posted a video on Vimeo of orca in Norway and got a call from the BBC asking if they could use the footage. That one call eventually led to me having a larger role filming for the BBC. If you are passionate and get your work online, it will get into the right hands. Do what you love and film the subjects that interest you the most and post your work online!You can also volunteer for organizations like Sea Shepard, Norwegian Orca Survey, The Dominican Sperm Whale Project and others. I find the best camera operators are the ones who really love and understand the subject that they are trying to film and photograph. Spend time with the animals and learn about them. Your work will improve as you become better acquainted with the subject.
The team I work with in the field is very small so that we can be as mobile and reactive as possible. As such, I can’t take on volunteers, even those willing to work for free. There are plenty of organizations that can use hard working volunteers though, as discussed above. The wildlife film industry is mainly based in Bristol, UK and several of the production companies in Bristol offer work experience opportunities, although it can be quite competitive.
There was a lot of hard work and luck involved. Being a lawyer provided the money that I needed to explore the world, which is why I took the job. I worked for a law firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, that was understanding of my passion. It can be quite expensive to travel to very remote places and hire boats. I did not have a trust fund or wealthy parents (although they were very emotionally supportive), so I had to find a job that would pay enough, and be flexible enough, to allow me to spend various lengths of time at sea exploring. There eventually came a time in my early thirties when I had saved enough that I felt like I could pursue my passion full time without the need for the law firm job. I had been posting various videos of my research and travels online, which were found by the researchers at the BBC and the rest is history.
You can reach out to me directly through the contact form on this page or at I am frequently off on adventures, but will respond as soon as I am able. I enjoy speaking about my experiences and the natural world and will do my best to accommodate your request.
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