Thursday
Apr302009

Kids leap into Lake Malawi

While shooting an afternoon time lapse of village life next to Gecko Lounge, I noticed these local kids using a parked boat as a diving platform. This image in particular for me sums up the mood of Cape Maclear - languid, warm, relaxed - it demands blissful submission to nothingness.

Saturday
Apr252009

The Cichlids of Lake Malawi

Have just returned from a two week Earth-Touch shoot with Grant Brokensha in Lake Malawi, the purpose of which was to document the natural behaviour and amazing diversity of the cichlid fish species. Cichlids are a species of carp that have come to dominate Lake Malawi, with over 700 species endemic to the lake alone. They are a classic example of ‘Explosive Radiation”, a term coined by experts to describe their ability to evolve physically and behaviourally to take advantage of niche habitats in order to exploit a variety of food sources, typically in times when food was scarce. Grant and I experienced first hand the variety of these ncihe’s, from rocky boulders to grassy bottoms to forest like underwater landscapes, each providing a home for a different group of cichlids. To get a better sense of the expedition, and to see cichlid mouth brooding behavior, check out http://marine.earth-touch.com.

Friday
Feb132009

"Didier and ze Sharks" - YouTube Nature's Great Events Promo for BBC1

Came across this on YouTube, part of the BBC’s promotion of the series, some cool footage of the SUBImagery Team in action…

Saturday
Jan312009

BBC Natures Great Events - The Most Spectacular Natural Events on the Planet

Finally, after much effort, the Great Tide film we have been working on over the last two years is set to flight in the UK, with the first episode viewing on Wednesday the 11th February on BBC 1. The episode we worked on, which documents the Sardine Run off the South African coast and which is called ‘The Great Tide’, is scheduled to flight in the fourth slot. Also worth noting is that the book that accompanies the series “Nature’s Great Events: The Most Spectacular Natural Events on the Planet…” is already available on Amazon. This book has largely been written and illustrated by people working on the film series - Didier Noirot has written the chapter on the Great Tide or the Sardine Run that occurs off the east coast of South Africa, and several of the pictures I shot while working with Justin Maguire and Didier are featured in this chapter as well.

Thursday
Jan222009

Cape Fur Seals off Seal Island, Hout Bay...

This morning Barry Skinstad, Ian and I took a drive out to Seal Island, just around the corner from Hout Bay, to film a sequence for Earth-Touch. The conditions were favourable, albeit moody, with a light pervasive cloud creating a natural scrim that softened the light quite dramatically. I had mistakenly left my camera flash settings on red-eye mode, which generated a lag between me pushing the shutter release and the camera firing, resulting in me eventually turning the strobes off and shooting with natural light only. This image of a young fur seal evokes best for me the feel of the dive - mysterious, fluid and somber.

Tuesday
Jan202009

Soul Swimming...

I captured this image of two bathers in the surf at Sodwana Bay a couple of weekends ago. What struck me was the sheer joy they were exuding, balancing as they were on the cusp of loosing control in the crashing surf.

Tuesday
Jan202009

The No Bubble Advantage...

While diving just north of Cathederal on Aliwal Shoal, we came across this shoal of fish balled tightly together in the current, holding position on the reef by hiding in the lee of this rock wall. Made up primarily of bronze bream, the shoal included rubber-lip and zebra fish. Had we been on scuba I doubt the shoal would have held position, and freediving repeatedly to 25m in a strong current would have been a stretch. I bought the Evolution CCR based on the assumption that it would allow me to get images that I would not oridnarily be able to achieve on SCUBA or freediving, and am determined to prove that assumption correct.

Monday
Jan122009

Diving the CCR Evolution on Aliwal Shoal

This weekend we dived hard on the rebreathers. On Saturday a two hour dive on the Produce, a wreck situated just north of the North East Pinnacle on Aliwal Shoal in around 30m’s of water, followed by a two hour twenty dive on Sunday on the outside edge of the Shoal, from Cathedral to just north of Raggie’s cave.

The visibility on both days was stellar, easily 20 meters. Again I was blown away by the stealth and versatility of my unit, an AP Evolution with Vision Electronics.

Next weekend we are planning a trip to Landers off Rocky Bay, a reef I last freedived more than ten years ago.

Wednesday
Oct012008

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, 5895msl, Tanzania

Have just got back from climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania, while on assignment for a friend of mine, Craig Milner. Craig was taking a group of seven Americans up the mountain for the first time, and wanted someone to document the climb photographically. My only council to those considering doing this climb is to stop considering and do it. make sure you go super slow all the way, take Diamox, and get the warmest gloves you can find, as well as face protection for the final ascent.

Friday
Aug152008

The Moremi Lions New Media Experiment

Have just spent the first day in Moremi with the Earth-Touch.com Botswana Crew, experimenting with ‘cross-media’ story telling. We are exploring new ways of engaging audiences using cellphones, email and websites, in conjunction with the traditional broadcast channels. Here is the the official desription of the project goals:

At Earth-Touch, we believe in the value of wildlife, and the imperative of reconnecting people with the natural environment and the myriad of creatures that share this fragile ecosystem with us. We also believe in the potential of new media technologies to create and nurture this bond, and to connect people around the world in a way never before possible.
This is the story of the Lions of Moremi, told through the eyes of an Earth-Touch film crew embedded deep in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana. Using a variety of communication technologies, devices and platforms, we invite you to share in the creation of this story, and to follow it as you see fit – on your mobile, on your computer, on your TV screen, as intimately or as removed as you see fit. And we ask that through this experiment you help us to shape a new way of telling stories about the natural world.

We found the lions today late in the afternoon, and managed to get the BGAN system up and running. Tomorrow we will head out at 5.30 and look for the lions, and build on what we learnt today.