Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Iceland Rocks!

Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland.

Iceland has an enchanted atmosphere; a land of fairies, restless volcanoes, incomprehensible language and wacky pop-singers. So what better place to explain the origin of life.

I was filming there recently, for a new BBC documentary on the secrets of the human cell. This photo was taken early in the morning near the sleepy seaside village of Vík í Mýrdal, but it could have been taken at midnight, since the sun doesn’t really set in summer. Filming was rather challenging. When not being buffeted by coastal blasts of wind and rain, I was dive-bombed by angry arctic terns, which noisily swooped down, alerting me to the presence of their ground nests.

The beaches were surreal. Carpets of dusty-blue lupines fringed the coastline, black volcanic sand replaced golden shores, and towering columns of hexagonal rock jutted out of the ground.

I thoroughly enjoyed my short time there, and would love to explore the country more. The air was so clean, I felt healthier with every breath. The food was a real treat too; creamy mashed potato with smoked haddock – perfect comfort food, and it’s not everyday I get to taste smoked puffin.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunrise At Bedtime

The Pantanal, Brazil.
For the past 4 months, I've been working the night-shift on a new BBC natural history series called "The Dark". The project took us all over South & Central America, in search of never-before-filmed nocturnal animal behaviour. We explored rainforests, climbed deep into caves, waded through swamps, endured blood-sucking insects and spent long, bleary-eyed nights camped out in totally darkness, waiting for the right moment to film.

We discovered that creatures of the night have a whole range of techniques to help them survive in their secret world. I also learned that as an animal species, we're pretty useless at operating in the dark. Often I would put something down only to misplace it seconds later. On one occasion, whilst walking  in complete darkness through the Costa Rican rainforest, I fell into a hole. Nothing was broken, but it was a real shock!

I took this photo after a long night looking for giant anteaters. Howler monkeys announced the arrival of a new day and the sounds of night were replaced by a wonderful dawn chorus. A sight for sore eyes, and ears.

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