Meet the biggest bird in the world. Whilst some species are heavier and taller, the wandering albatross has the biggest wingspan of any bird on the planet. Each one of their wings is wider than I am tall giving a total wingspan of more than 11ft. This enormous wingspan and some clever flying techniques make them the master of open ocean flight. It's estimated that a single individual can fly 15,000,000 miles in their lifetime. To put that into context- that's the equivalent of going to the moon and back, 18 times! We were lucky enough to encounter this beautiful bird during our 6
day crossing to the Island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Shot for a new @natgeo online series coming soon!
Turn sound on! A male southern elephant seal shouts at its rivals on the island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean. These males can grow unbelievable large with the biggest weighing in at 8800lbs/4000kg and 6m/20ft long! Shot as part of a new online series for National Geographic coming soon.
A group of Antarctic fur seal pups wait impatiently for their mothers on Bird Island, South Georgia in the South Atlantic Ocean. Having given birth to these pups just a few weeks earlier, the mothers leave for 5-8 days at a time to go fishing. During the wait the pups bleat like little sheep!
These fur seals are a great conservation success story. After Captain Cook put South Georgia on the map in 1775, he sent word back to England of enormous numbers of seals. A brutal massacre then followed peaking in 1800 when 112,000 pelts were taken in just a single season. This harvest continued until the seals were hunted down to just 400 individuals. Since then, protection and good governing has allowed them to bounce back to over 3 million! Shot as part of a new online series for National Geographic coming soon. We owe an enormous thank you to the British Antarctic Survey for their support on this project. Please search for their work- it's fascinating science making a real difference.
It’s been a crazy month presenting 16 ‘Nat Geo Lives’ in 8 cities across North America. I’m now finishing my tour with 3 events in Seattle (tickets still available!). The highlight was definitely getting 1800 school kids to scream like spider monkeys in the beautiful Jack Singer Hall in Calgary! The team in Calgary very kindly gave me the hat pictured. I think I’ll need to learn to ride a horse before I can pull it off. I just wanted to say a HUUUUGE thank you to all the lovely venues and to every single person that laughed at my bad jokes. Also top marks to the chin poser in the front row.
I’m still thinking about big cats after world wildlife day. Here’s another jaguar, this time a big male taking a drink at sunset. During the dry season in Brazil's Pantanal, the jaguars stick close to the rivers. Not only do these rivers provide drinking water, they also concentrate the jaguar's primary prey- capybara and caiman. As a result, the best way to observe them is by boat. This gives an added benefit for filming as you can use the boat as a giant camera slider to create movement in the shot. Using a gyrostabilised rig and an electric motor, my boatman and I were able to smoothly (and almost silently) glide past giving the shot this rotation. Shot for a @natgeowild jaguar show. Also check out @stevewinterphoto 's jaguar story in the December 2017 issue of National Geographic Magazine. Shot on @reddigitalcinema
Happy #WorldWildlifeDay! This year's focus is on big cats so I thought I'd share a clip of this beautiful female jaguar taking a nap up a tree in the northern Pantanal, Brazil. Her 1-year-old cub was crashing around on the river beach below. The female didn't look particularly impressed when woken up by the commotion!
Jaguars have rebounded in this area of Brazil where 95% of the land is privately owned. In the past many ranchers would kill the cats when they ate their cattle. Today in this area tourism brings in much more money to the local economy than cattle ranching. So the jaguar population is increasing. But revenge killings of jaguars happen close to this area and all throughout the jaguars range. Poaching for skins, bones and teeth is also growing for the first time since the 1970’s to feed the demand for Asian Traditional Medicine and luxury items from endangered species.
Here’s the full shot from the behind the scenes clip I posted a little while back. Rockhopper penguins have got to be one of the toughest animals on the planet. After battling through the open ocean in search of food, this group of adults is returning to their colony on Sea Lion Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. In order to reach their hungry chicks at the top of the cliff they must first time their exit to perfection. Although the rocks and waves are potentially dangerous to the penguins, they are experts in using the power of the wave to eject them out the water and up the cliff. Even though I know they are built like little tanks and they have done this many times before, it’s still nerve-wracking to watch! Shot as part of a new online series for National Geographic.
A hungry gentoo penguin chick chases its parent through the colony. These comical pursuits are very common once the chicks are mobile. As the chicks repeatedly beg for food, the adults slowly reach a threshold at which point they suddenly bolt off! It's easy to anthropomorphise and assume the adult is just running away in frustration. However, there are theories that suggest there's more to it. Gentoos often have multiple chicks. It's thought that these chases could ensure that only the fittest chick keeps up with the adult and subsequently gets fed. Shot on Sea Lion Island in the South Atlantic Ocean as part of a new online series for National Geographic.
This is how we got the shot in my previous post. I felt that using a drone was the best way to do justice to this crazy rockhopper penguin adventure. Video shot by @spono as part of a new series for @natgeo. @djiglobal#Inspire2#X7
Rockhopper penguins have got to be one of the toughest animals on the planet. After battling through the open ocean in search of food, this group of adults is returning to their colony on Sea Lion Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. In order to reach their hungry chicks at the top of the cliff they must first time their exit to perfection. Although the rocks and waves are potentially dangerous to the penguins, they are experts in using the power of a wave to eject them out the water and up the cliff. Even though I know they are built like little tanks and they have done this many times before, it’s still nerve-wracking to watch! Shot as part of a new online series for National Geographic.
by @spono. Teamwork and a cool piece of gear were key to achieving the sunball shot in my previous post. Given that our boat was rolling all over the place in the big swell, a gimbal was the only way to get a stable image. This clever gadget measures angular change in each of its 3 axes and then sends power to motors to correct for this change. The result means the camera (a @reddigitalcinema 8K Weapon Helium) remains flat and level whilst I can control pan/tilt with my right hand and focus/zoom with my left hand. Meanwhile, @e.ranney and Kerstin pictured at the top of the frame are making sure the whole thing doesn't go flying into the ocean. Normally we'd just hard mount the gimbal onto the boat but because we were getting the occasional wave over the bow, they had to be ready to whisk it under cover to avoid a salty electronic mess! @djiglobal#Ronin2.
After travelling to the already fairly remote Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, we loaded a 50ft sailboat to the brim with our camera gear. Having never lived on a little sailboat for 5 weeks, we were all apprehensive of how it would work. The most daunting part of the shoot was fortunately right at the beginning. To get to our filming location (the island of South Georgia) we had to sail for 6 days through what could potentially be some of the roughest ocean on the planet. Thankfully we were in great hands and the weather was fairly cooperative. Soon after setting sail, the days seem to blur into one. To achieve such a stable image whilst our boat rolled around in the big swell 400 miles from land, I put the camera (a @reddigitalcinema Weapon Helium) onto the @djiglobal#Ronin2. Stay tuned for more on my new series for National Geographic coming soon!