Philip Hoare has been photographing whales in the wild for nearly 20 years. He captures their mysterious nobility for all the world to see in pictures over the course of several award-winning books -- most notably "Leviathan, or The Whale," winner of the prestigious Samuel Johnson prize.

The whales of Stellwagen captured in photo essay

Each summer, Humpback Whales return to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary after wintering in the Caribbean to mate. There's no sustenance for whales in those warm waters, so they return to the emerald green waters off the coast of Cape Cod once their calves are born.

Phillip Hoare wrote of Stellwagen Bank in his photo essay for The Guardian: "I’ve been coming here for 18 years; it’s where I learned about whales.

I’m inordinately fond of these animals and like me, they come back here too."

Philip Hoare, a lifelong lover of both whales and the ocean [VIDEO], travels with them. Hoare spends each summer capturing the daily rituals of Humpback Whales at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Hoare's piece for The Guardian is chock-full of information and insight into Rorqual Whales, the family to which Humpback Whales belong. For instance, did you know that Humpback Whale teeth are made of keratin, the same material as human fingernails?

Philip Hoare is a master of blending scientific writing with poetic insight, cultivated across the span of several books. Hoare's been making the rounds, lecturing in the wake of his newest book "RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR," as noted by digital media company TLMedia in their roundup of upcoming events near Portsmouth.

Why these mammals matter

Humpback Whales act as the sea's filtration system. There's also an avid ecosystem that revolves around them, where seagulls sometimes steal fish out of their mouths, not to mention the role that various species of whales play in supporting indigenous communities and cultures.

The whales of Stellwagen Bank are some of the most widely-studied populations of great whales in the world. Thanks to the photography and writing of Philip Hoare, landlocked individuals are able to experience the grandeur of these majestic "barnacled angels" for themselves.

Philip Hoare's photography captures these elusive beauties in action, in their natural habitat. You can see them being playful and curious, then bold and unrestrained. He also goes into the ecological perils facing these rarefied sub-aquatic mammals.

Philip Hoare's newest book "RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR" is available now from University Of Chicago Press.