My two little daughters already have met him during a short kayak trip when actually I was not there. They even named him Zozo which is my nickname because they thought he looked like me… gray and old. Thanks, girlz’…
But somehow he was always hiding when I was around. Not yesterday when finally I met him too, face to face. Almost like looking in the mirror, yep?
So here he is, an American crocodile, the king of Nine Mile Pond in the Everglades. Will be tough to get a story with this amazing piece of motionless but living rock…
Today’s alligator shot. The water is getting shallower and the poor fellows have smaller and smaller place. Well, not that poor because the fish are trapped too, so soon the gators will get plenty of food!
Dry season supposed to be here in South Florida but instead it’s been raining already for 3 days.
So, unfortunately I have time to write a post…
The Osprey nest that I started to film isn’t going to work this year, it seems the pair gave it up. I guess they just have chosen a bad place as it happens to be in the middle of a popular kayak route. Even worse, when it’s windy in the Keys, as it is so often in these days, their tiny bay is still well sheltered and fishermen show up in herds. And oh lord, they don’t see anything over the tip of their rods and often I saw them cruising right to the nest without noticing it’s there…
So, I was not surprised that the birds got fed up. Shit happens in wildlife filmmaking, actually I just feel it does too often… But I checked the other nest that we scouted with Chad yet back in early January and guess what? It works even better, the birds are there, can be filmed from four different angles – in fact it’s five if we get it from underwater as well.
Here is a short making of, Janne shot the super slomotions while I was closer to the nest sitting in the bushes in seawater. (Note the shot at 0:55, it’s not hunting, the bird cleans its feet after feeding. Cool isn’t it?)
Roosevelt Elks, Salmons, Black bears, Sea lions… they sound a bit different than the wildlife in the Everglades, don’t they?…
Indeed I am bit off the tropics, but still in a very humid place, in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest helping a good colleague in his wildlife film project about the Olympic National Park.
We had amazingly nice weather during last week and apparently more amazing luck with the North American River Otters.
On the very first day on location we came across one of these shy animals feeding on a large salmon.
God knows how he got that big fish which was almost twice the size of the otter…
Anyway his pals turned up too, there were four of them playing and swimming around us. They were very relaxed and surprisingly close to us (sometimes only 1 meter / 3 feet away!!) and they constantly kept returning to the salmon carcass. We got some really nice footage!
They were still around the next day but then, when we got prepared some sophisticated shots with my new toy with the Polecam, well, they just didn’t turn up anymore.
So at least I could practice a lot with the Polecam, but only imagining there is an otter swimming in front of the camera.
Still, it’s a nice creek, isn’t it?
Well, it’s always very hard to give up and move on so we still kept on waiting for two more days… but nothing. Nice, long hours on a slope overviewing the creek, part of wildlife filmmaking. But it seems they must have fed themselves fully and weren’t too interested anymore to act a bit more for a NatGeo wildlife show… Can’t blame them.
An owl that eats crayfish and even wades in water if needed?!
And here in the Everglades?!
Wow, I need to film this creature! Show me somebody who doesn’t like owls, especially the lovely chicks?
So I decided to give a little side role to this strange bird species in the story. Specially that they live in the same cypress dome that our main character, the alligator mother calls home as well.
Only that we had to find them…
Well, with Garl it was not difficult at all! It sounded that he and these owls really knew each other on a kind of personal level, only that I had to be introduced too. I truly hoped the feathery guys were going to like me too…
As we entered into the cypress dome and started to wade in the cool water a strange loud voice filled up the air. Sounded like monkeys in the jungle but in fact it’s the sound of the Barred owl. Hair-rasingly beautiful.
So, they are here!
And we found them on the same place where they always used to be according to Garl.
I like reliable animals (and men, though quite rare species in these days), makes the life of a natural history filmmaker so much easier.
Even, I could get to them so close that I felt I could almost touch them! What a cool shot when you see yourself in the eye of a wild animal!
Quite unusual, but these winged folks really seemed to know Garl pretty well and finally it also seemed they trusted not only him but his pal who carried that strange thing on his shoulder.
Florida Bay. Muddy, hot, full of mangrove and funky critters and plenty of mosquitoes… Still, I like the place.
So, I check the low tide: it’s in the right time, nice afternoon lights. I need shallow water as I am going to stand in it for 4-5 hours and I prefer it to be knee-deep than up to my hip (thanks god, that it’s not Siberia this time…).
I leave from home in time, had only a coffee, I thought to stop somewhere on the road to pick up some food and of course one more cup of black.
Stop: a gas station. Grrr, forgot my wallet… quick check if I can make it back and forth with the remaining fuel, yes I can.
Well, then this will be a tough day out in the sea without food and water…
I need to use a kayak to reach the location as there is no other way. Not a long paddle but it’s a bit windy out there. I don’t mind it only that the salt water is not a big friend of the camera…
I am on the way to film Ospreys in the extensive mangrove habitat around the Keys.
A couple of days ago we scouted the area and found some nice nests and this is the first time that I try my luck with them.
I decided just standing in the water, no blind. If they don’t like me they won’t come to the nest after all.
But they did a couple of times while I was there, standing in the 2ft/60cm water for hours. I am not sure whether they’re going to be the right ones for the film, they seem to be a bit undecided about the nest, but tomorrow I will give it a try once again.
Well, with proper supplies…
Some shots from today (raw footage, no color correction).
Well, it’s shocking to see that my last post is dated February 2012… and soon the year is over! It has been a busy one with the usual ups and downs of wildlife fimmaking. Plus a family moving from Sweden to Florida to shoot the Everglades film that I am working on until 2014. I was thinking about restarting the blog a couple ot times but somehow I have been waiting for a big thing to post. But what the heck is a big thing?? Missed a couple of opportunities for sure…
So, instead of waiting and always postponing the next post I just start again right now. And I promise regular updates in the coming new year…
Here we go. Deer carcass story.
I heard from a biologist, who is a great photographer as well, that iguanas eat carcass. It was hard to beleive as they are herbivorous lizards, the kind of salad eating beasts. But he has even documented and published it!
Well, I immediately started to vision a scene with vultures and iguanas competing for the carrion… or at least the two species interacting. It’s always cool to have such behavior in a wildlife film.
Here are the preparations, remote camera, dead deer, blind.
I have spent two days in the tent and I was lucky enough to have an iguana already in the second hour! Well, then for one and a half day nothing, only vultures and of course the nice smell of the dead animal (I was under the wind) and warm beer. I have a feeling that I know the secret how to really enjoy holidays!
And here are some shots from the blind, raw footage. Turkey vultures and a Black spiny-tailed iguana at a Key deer carcass.
I am often wondering especially after two weeks of packing, just like now, that hey, come on we are making “only” some pictures!!
But devil is in the details and every piece of kit must be checked for instance such nuance things like safety pin (to attach curtains hanging in the windows of the blind to cover the lens) or the perhaps more obvious new viewfinder of the camera (had to donwload a new firmware from Sony’s website…)
So, this has been going on for quite a while but now the stuff is about to be shipped to FLA, USA… The shoot starts soon and I’ll be back in the swamps feeding the mosquitoes again! Hurrah.
We are delighted (and pretty amazed) to see how much the audience and jury members love our film “Wild Hungary – A Water Wonderland”. It has been awarded already on eight festivals, please check the list in the Awards menu. I am upgrading it regularly.
And we have just received the fantastic news about being nominated in the Best Habitat Program category in Jackson Hole! I have never ever expected to be a finalist in such a strong competition… We are competing with ORF’s thrilling film about the radioactive wolves of Chernobyl and BBC’s blockbuster production about Madagascar.
Honestly, quite different ones than our lovely small swamps back in Hungary…