I have always been captivated by the natural world and have become determined to try and capture it to the highest standards on film. Just in our lifetimes, the normal workings of nature have come under extreme pressure but thankfully there are people and organisations devoted to protecting the environment and wildlife around them. It is these conservation and environmental stories with interactions between nature and humans that I am most committed to filming. Saying that though, I am just as dedicated to filming pure wildlife behavioural sequences whether it be long lens, macro, gimbal or drone sequences. I am fascinated by animal behaviour and relish any time spent watching wildlife and the challenge of figuring out the best way to film a behavioural sequence.
Examples of blue chip behavioural sequences include sequences in the Disney series, "Super/Natural". I was lucky enough to help film several sequences on this ambitious series. In Hungary, we filmed the mayfly emergence on the River Tisza, in Belize, cardinal fish preying on bioluminescent ostracod. In the UK, the adventures of a small Etruscan shrew, and in my garden, we filmed death's-head hawk moth caterpillars in battle with toxic tomato plants and ballooning spiderlings that are able to migrate huge distances by travelling through the air. Other behavioural sequences can be seen in BBC's "Floridas, America's Animal Paradise" and in the Apple series, "Tiny World".
After university I worked as a field biologist studying meerkats in the Kalahari and was fortunate to meet a wildlife film crew. I enthusiastically got involved with the meerkat filming and camera assisted the director of photography, Robin Cox. Robin helped me a great deal by getting me work on several shoots as a camera assistant. He is a superb DoP, so I made sure to learn as much as I possibly could from him. Many years on and I have gained a wealth of experience in filming a wide range of award winning natural history and environmental documentaries. I have had the opportunity to work with incredible people and wildlife worldwide.
Images: Kalahari Field Work
As a child I was always digging up earthworms, rummaging in rock pools or constructing poorly built hides in the garden attempting to photograph birds in flight. My love for the natural world led me to study Zoology and then a MSc in animal behaviour, studying frogs in Sulawesi. This meant walking down rainforest streams at night and catching very big frogs! It was was an amazing opportunity to find and photograph other jungle creatures and it really developed my passion for macro photography.
I have been fortunate to film the conservation efforts of many inspirational scientists. In “Giraffes: African’s Gentle Giants”, we worked with Dr Julian Fennessy from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, who is making a huge effort to protect giraffe throughout Africa. In “The Batman of Mexico”, we filmed the biologist, Rodrigo Medellin on his mission to recover the population of lesser long nosed "tequila" bats. More examples of people-nature films can be seen in the ten BBC Natural Worlds I have helped to film. Mike Birkhead Productions, “H is for Hawk; A New Chapter” is a good illustration of my filming, which tells the story of Helen Macdonald training her second goshawk and it was a dream come true for me to film Sir David Attenborough for "Attenborough's Wonder of Song" and " Wonder of Eggs".
Examples of my work in environmental documentaries can be seen in the BBC series, “Our Changing Planet”, an ambitious series that involves filming six threatened ecosystems around the world over the next seven years to monitor restoration efforts. For series one, we travelled to Iceland to film retreating glaciers and to Brazil’s Pantanal to explore the conflict between the jaguars and people. I was director of photography for the BBC/PBS series, “The Age of Nature”, by Brian Leith Productions, which follows scientists as they examine closely our relationship with nature, its remarkable resilience and its ability to bounce back from even the most terrible of states. I helped develop and film Channel 4's, "Saving Planet Earth: Fixing a Hole", which tells the story of the Montreal Protocol, the world's most successful environmental treaty to date, a ratification of all countries around the world to eliminate the threat of Ozone depletion.