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    IMG_3638
  • tree snail

    tree snail
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  • deer

    deer
  • yellowpan1

    yellowpan1
  • dry mangrove

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    img_1286panD

It’s all about behavior!

  • Thursday, 15 January 2015

In my humble opinion the most exciting thing in wildlife filmmaking is witnessing and recording extraordinary behaviors that were not filmed before or perhaps weren’t even known for scientists! Our audience has seen enough from the animal kingdom, viewers are hard to surprise. Still we need to deliver something outstanding…
But besides this, honestly, I’m so excited myself too about filming such behaviors in the wild that I must admit often my fingers start to shake when pressing the Rec button in such situations! And I feel happy that we were lucky to film some amazing wildlife actions again for the Everglades film.Perhaps the most interesting is the story of the tool using alligators. I heard this from my colleague, Florida-based wildlife filmmaker Mark Emery with whom we spent quite a time at a rookery.
During nesting season there is a shortage of available nesting material and egrets take risk to pick them up from the water surface. It seems that alligators are aware of this and they position and balance sticks on their snout as bait. We filmed as gators catch birds this way, I guess we filmed it first time ever. I mentioned it to a scientist, Vladimir Dinets who has seen this in other places too. He went more into the subject and came out with an article.
Another behavior was one of my dream shots too, to capture alligator and manatee interaction – underwater. After all they share the same habitat during winter (warm springs) so there must be some kind of encounter. And indeed there was! But finally this clip didn’t make it into the film, so I insert it here:

Just like the iguana story. Iguanas are invasive species in Florida and thought to be vegetarians. Read more…

New horizons

  • Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Everglades poster

Well, the Everglades film is ready, we are packing and leaving from the location. It’s hard to leave behind all the friends that we made here and a place that we fell in love with so much.
I started with this project… oh my god… back in May 2011 and now it’s January 2015! We moved here with my family and my daughters started the school in Florida. Can’t beleive it!
But there was no other way to spend so much time out in the wilderness to capture rare or even never before seen animal behaviors (I will post about these soon). But maybe one day we return, at least I have some plans…

Now we start to focus on our new adventure in a totally different region of the planet, as our next project takes us to the icy highlands of Norway and Sweden.
Posts coming soon!

Everglades film editing has started

  • Saturday, 24 May 2014

We were shooting owl chicks  in the Everglades when a guy stepped to me and politely asked if I am that Hungarian wildlife filmmaker. It just turned out that he followed me on Facebook. In that moment I realized there are people out there who are truly interested what and how we are doing.
And immediately I felt a bit embarrassed about being so reluctant with my blog. Simply we had too busy times – but this may not be a good excuse if somebody started a blog.

editingWe are already editing the film in Hamburg, Germany though still there will be a couple of weeks of exciting shoots back in Florida.

Anyway, at least I managed to upload lots of photos to my public Facebook album regularly.
So as a compensation to the visitors of this blog, here is the link to those photos.

The crab eating bird… and deer

  • Tuesday, 05 November 2013

I promised myself not to include any more stories in the film.
I truly decided as I had the feeling we already have to many for a 50min production.
…But how can you keep your promise if you happen to come across a cool behavior that has been rarely filmed or if ever?

So, here is the story:

We were after the Key deer rutting in the noseeum infested mangrove of the Florida Keys (the mosquitoes are kind and nice creatures compared to these ones) but it seemed we were late, the bucks finished the fight. Too bad.
But then we just saw a little grey bird that was walking silently under the bushes… and then all of a sudden he picked up a land crab! A big one, I mean.
Wow, I thought it looked very cool and could add a nice cutaway, so we made some slow motions.
I didn’t guess that we’re going to end up spending more than a week on that little meadow in the mangrove. The scene started to be a wildlife hotspot with all kind of animal interactions. A curious deer came to the bird, then the racoon turned up foraging for the leftovers of the crabs, lizards were hunting for the ants that also came to the tiny crab pieces left behind the heron’s hunt.
And then one deer just picked up the shell of a crab and ate it loudly crunching.
I couldn’t beleive it.
Maybe they like the salt or the calcium? Anyway finally beside our crab eating juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron we got a crab eating deer as well. And it only took eight days sitting in the heat!

25 days

  • Wednesday, 02 October 2013

I really hate the emotional rollercoaster side of the wildlife filmmaking…
In July I was so happy to find her nest in a hammock forest.
gator female
The “Queen” as we call her…
She hasn’t got babies last year so hopes were high that she was going to become a mother this year and we could follow her adventures of raising gator babies in the cypress dome.

We started to check back on a regular base from the 22nd of August to catch the moment of hatching. We drove out every morning around sunrise and spent some time out there.
Gator hatching usually happens at dawn so if there was no activity until late morning we left.
She got used to us so so much that she didn’t care about us anymore and we could approach the nest very close… I mean really very close. It’s always so touching to earn the trust of a truly wild predator! You just stand there, she stares at you as she could read your mind… well, at least she knew well that we didn’t mean any threat.  Actually I think at some point she even might have been quite bored of us!
But as September was approaching I felt that something must be wrong, but I just couldn’t give it up and I always extended the deadline of shutting down the whole operation.
Then 25 days after that we started the checking, she has abandonded her vantage spot. Finally we could walked up right to the nest and opened it up.

Well, the eggs were bad, never have been fertilized… 25 days, 5100km (3200miles) driving for nothing…
You still want to be a wildlife filmmaker?!

Anyway, I think we will tell the real story of this female in the film not making it up as if the babies were hatched.
Also the summer sunrises in the Everglades were unforgottable, we captured more than enough of them for the film.

King of Nine Mile Pond

  • Friday, 08 March 2013

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…

 

Gator in shallow water

  • Wednesday, 06 March 2013

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!

Vulture problem

  • Thursday, 07 February 2013

Vultures are a problem in the Glades…

This is what happens when you forget to cover your car at Anhinga Trail (or elsewhere).

They like warm hoods on cold mornings and the delicious rubber parts for breakfast.

Be careful where and how you leave your car…

 

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So, otherwise I am back in the Everglades, filming Ospreys and still trying to track down a cool bunch of gator babies in one of the cypress domes.

Unfortunately our nice female alligator doesn’t have any this year.

Too bad, she is really friendly and nice, isn’t she?

 

 

 

 

Pacific Northwest, USA

  • Thursday, 24 January 2013

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.
Typical…


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.

More photos about this shoot in my public FB photo album.

 

Owly days

  • Tuesday, 15 January 2013

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.