Wednesday
Mar192014

Dive to unknown wreck at 75m off Durban, South Africa.

First trip to document the Ghost Fleet of Durban is wrapped. Four dives completed over nine days, bitten somewhat by the weather. This video shows the last dive to explore an unknown wreck believed to be a Union Castle vessel in 75 meters of water. She is lying upright, with her bow broken off, probably as a result of impact with the bottom. We were graced with clean water and no current, which made for a phenomenal dive. Bottom time of 30mins, total run time of 110 minutes. Thanks to Patrick Voorma, Allan Maclean, Celeste Voorma, Bradley Wright, Brian Sellick, Vinayak Maharaj and the Calpso Dive and Adventure Centre team for a great experience. And to Justin Jennings for letting me drive his baby.

Friday
Jan242014

Total Commercial with DOP Mattias Rudh

Spent the mid part of January shooting an underwater sequence on a Total commercial for DOP Mattias Rudh. Settled on the Alexa XT with Alura 15.5 - 45 zoom in a Hydroflex Underwater Housing, given the ability to shoot tethered and control the lens zoom and iris from the surface. Focus and zoom contolled topside by Justin Macilvery, who also oversaw camera and housing build. Water logistics manged by AJ of Frogsquad.

Wednesday
Dec182013

Dolphins: Spy in the Pod Trailer

Having shot for over 100 days on this project for producer Rob Pilley, this is the first glimpse of the visual and audio treatment and direction. The transmission dates on BBC 1 and synposis of the two shows are as follows:

 

Episode 1 - Thursday 2th January, 8.00pm GMT

The award-winning team behind Penguins - Spy in the Huddle use hidden cameras to go into the heart of the dolphins’ world, offering the chance to encounter dolphins up-close. The camera eyes of thirteen different ‘Spy Creatures’, including Spy Dolphin, Spy Nautilus and Spy Turtle, allow behaviour to be captured that has never been filmed before, including a vast superpod of spinner dolphins hunting huge shoals of lanternfish while dodging the gaping mouths of giant rays.

In Mozambique, a newborn bottlenose dolphin learns from his mother as they follow a mysterious gathering of stingrays and then hunt huge kingfish. He practices his sonar, plays with bubbles and also discovers ways to dislodge pesky suckerfish. Nearby, the males live a playboy lifestyle as they play chicken with supertankers, visit a coral health spa and surf the waves. When they try to woo the females their direct approach threatens the baby, but eventually bouquets of seaweed have the desired effect.

Other astonishing sights include dolphins using rings of mud to catch fish and the spectacular highspeed leaps and corkscrews of spinner dolphins. There is humour too, when Spy Turtle encounters real amorous turtles and Spy Squid has a near miss with a hungry potato bass.

 

Episode 2 - Thursday 9th January, 8.00pm GMT

Remote-controlled Spy Creatures reveal dolphins as never before. Meet the orca, king of the dolphins, and discover the intimacy of its remarkable family life. Find dolphins that wear sponges on their noses, and race with the fastest dolphin in the world - the Dall’s porpoise.

Discover a real dolphin secret agent that carries a camera into the pod to uncover their mysteries of communication and interactions. Elsewhere, a young bottlenose begins a life on his own joined by Spy Puffer and Spy Baby - a cute camera dolphin that has bubble conversations with real dolphins! The youngster makes friends with a rare humpback dolphin, joins a gang and takes part in a bizarre initiation ceremony. He also becomes intoxicated on the secretions of strange fish and finally woos a female with gifts and charm.

Most of the behaviour is filmed for the first time. Other spectacles include superpods of common dolphins feeding among sharks; and orcas using their cleverness to catch dolphins and seals. Spy Dolphin joins a pod as it strands itself to catch fish and it’s curtains for one Spy Creature as he himself becomes a meal.

Never before has the extraordinary intelligence of dolphins been so intimately revealed.

Sunday
Dec152013

Michel Gondrey on Noam Chomsky

“What makes you happy?” asks Gondrey. “I don’t really think about it much” replies Chomsky.

Sunday
Aug182013

Albee Layer and Twiggy Baker, Dungeons, 5th August. 2013.

Saturday
Dec222012

Tagging Bull or Zambezi sharks in Mozambique

I recently spent a day helping scientists Ryan and Clare Daly to insert an internal acoustic tag into a bull or zambezi shark in southern Mozambique. This is part of a broader effort to use acoustic telemetry technology to get a better understanding of bull shark movements in southern Africa. To find out more about their projects, check out http://www.canyoufathomit.org/

Wednesday
Oct102012

Olympian Natalie Du Toit underwater for Top Billin

Natalie Du Toit is perhaps best known for making sporting history for competing in the Olympic Games and other world class swimming events against able bodied competitors despite having lost a leg in a scooter accident. In this shoot for an insert for Top Billing, I worked with her in a pool in Johannesburg where she spent many years training, and was struck by her speed and fluidity in the water. For more info on Natalie or to book her as a motivational speak, visit her site, http://www.nataliedutoit.co.za/

Tuesday
Sep182012

Southern Right Whales mating off Dassen Island, South Afric

Coming back from Dassen Island off the West Coast of South Africa after a spearfishing trip we came across a group of four southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) interacting in what we assume was a mating session. South Africa is estimated to be the winter breeding ground for the largesy number of southern right whales in the southern hemmisphere, with around 3400 individuals assumed to visit every year.

Saturday
Aug042012

Great White Sharks breaching in 3D for JDP Productions

We have just completed a week long shoot in False Bay with Rob Lawrence, shooting breaching great whites in 3D for John Downer Productions. This was my first experience of seeing these animals breach in the flesh as opposed to on TV, what struck me was the speed of the attack.  We were rewarded with two mornings during the shooting phase of excellent predation behaviour, and acheived everything we had hoped for. I strongly recommend investing the time and money to see this bahviour for yourself, its remarkable. Rob runs trips all through the breaching season in winter, so contact him via his site if you are interested. As with all natural behaviour it can never be guranteed, but the reward of witnessesing a breach is worth the effort. 

Tuesday
Jun052012

Filming whale sharks in Qatar - Wild Arabia, BBC NHU