Tuesday, 30 March 2010

First days filming

Clambering down a steep slope through aspen and pine, a frozen lake is groaning and cracking as it starts to melt next to us. The sun is low, throwing a beautiful northern warm soft light over everything.
As we descend we call out ' hey bear, it's us bear'. Bears are petrified of other bears and reassured that were only humans.
This is Lilly, a 3 yr old, first time mum with a new cub. Today was the first day she had brought her new infant 'hope' out of the den and my first day trying to film bears.
We found them lieing under a fallen tree, hope was asleep and Lilly was keeping a very close eye on her and us.
I was down first, so took some pecans ( i tried to remember my lessons and tried to control my fear) i went to make peace. I approached cautiously as no one had seen Lilly for a year and she had a young cub, I kept talking to her and threw some nuts. Her long long Tongue snaked out and Hoovered them up. I threw some more and moved closer.
Continuing to chat away and let her know what I was doing I gradually eased myself to within about 3 metres and settled down with the camera.
It felt extraordinary to be that close to a large wild carnivore with young ! She soon decided I wasn't really a threat and turned her attention to hope who was now suckling and lieing on Lilly's tummy.
We managed to get some lovely shots of these two together, suckling grooming and playing . I gadualy eased myself nearer and nearer until I was under a metre away and could smell hopes ' spaniel puppy aroma'.
Although hope had been brought out of the den worryingly early, she was a fighter, letting her mum know in very strident, loud terms that it was milk she wanted and milk she was going to get.
After an hour or so, with the sun about to dip behind the lake, lilly moved away with hope. I followed at a distance and filmed hope struggling over a branch as lilly walked off out of my vision ..... BWAAARRR lilly mock charges me from my blind side, I fill my trousers and retreat.
Lesson learnt
Bears are very very gentle, trusting animals, but don't push

Friday, 26 March 2010

Welcome to America

I flew out to Minneapolis yesterday with Max (another cameraman) and twenty pieces of luggage.
I arrived in the U S of A with Max and one piece of luggage.
so rather than head up to the great wilderness this morning were
off to the ' biggest shopping mall in America' -which weirdly
also houses the biggest jellyfish collection in America-.
Whilst the worlds great superpower looks for our bags.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Just back from an amazing trip to the northern territories,
We were following the story of Ben and his team who round up thousands of cattle on horseback, quad and helicopter.

These guys are extraordinary, flying below tree level, nudging cattle with the skids.
massive adrenaline rush, flying with them.

I think we got some great footage, with the low sun, massive amounts of dust, cattle, horses and helicopters.
We also had a cineflex system with us, giving stunning aerials.

Great shoot, great bunch of people.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


I was lucky enough in February to head back to Kenya and film at the Elephant Orphanage, with the BBC.

It was magical for me to catch up with everyone there and all my old Ele friends, including Emily and her new calf Eve. I hadnt seen Emily for a couple of years and she's now matriach of a lovely herd of ex orphans out in the wild.

We went out with head keeper Joseph and finaly found her. Em came straight over to say hi, leaving her new calf with the protection of the others. It was really emotional for me ( which i covered up very badly!).

We had a couple of weeks and got up Ithumba in northern Tsavo as well as Voi. The rains had finaly broken after a hideous drought. This ment the water at Ithumba was plentiful and made mudwallow a wonderous spectacle!