/1.Breathtaking images capture the awe-inspiring sight of the ocean’s colossal giants in mid-leap, elegantly feeding off the coast of Alaska.

Leaping out of the water in majestic fashion, these acrobatic female humpback whales seem to fly with the nimble grace of a dolphin a fraction of their size.

This picture shows a 50ft, 45-ton humpback fully breaching the water – it’s nose reaching 40ft in the air.

Wildlife photographer Jon Cornforth stood just 30 feet from the gentle giants to capture these amazing images.

Majestic: A female humpback whale breaches the waters at Frederick Sound in the Alexander Archipelago, south-east Alaska

Feeding frenzy: Humpback whales catch herring in a ‘bubble-net’ near Angoon in Frederick Sound, in the Alexander Archipelago, south-east Alaska

Mr Cornforth, 39, from Seattle, took the breathtaking photos during a visit Frederick Sound, near south-east Alaska. ‘They really are fantastic creatures to get so up close to,’ he said.

‘They are extremely curious creatures – they are interested in us just like we’re interested in them.

‘There was a moment when one actually came up underneath me and looked like it might try to swallow one of the the boats.

‘But luckily they’re far too clever to mistake a boat for their usual prey.’

The pictures also show the sisterhood of the sea beasts ‘bubble net’ feeding. The whales feed from huge shoals of herring that spawn in the area by acting in concert to herd the fish.

One or two plunge up to 500ft underwater and blow air bubbles in a circular pattern,  trapping their prey so the rest of the 12-strong group can scoop up them up.

Behemoths: Mr Cornforth watched the whales for over 12 weeks over a period of four years to take these photos

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