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Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.


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Old March 7th, 2010, 12:46 PM   #16
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Sverker Hahn,

The best and easiest place to film Alaska Brown Bear is at Brooks River, where most professional footage has been shot over the years. But, you won't find any solitude. There may be hundreds of people filming and taking pictures of the bears from constructed and fenced platforms. We call the Brooks River Bears "Zoo Bears". It's a highly controlled area, and nothing to fear, except may be some of the people.

The Brown Bears near my home, sometimes within 200 yards of my home, are wild bears that are still hunted, and fear men. We haven't had a human killed on this island since 1985. We have lot's of close calls, but mostly our bears don't like to be near people, and move off quickly.

Here's a short video of a Brown Bear sow with two cubs crossing a small stream near my home. Starrigavan Bears:Sitka Alaska Video
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Old March 8th, 2010, 04:34 AM   #17
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Thanks for the bear video, David. Just the kind of wildlife video I like.

Yesterday on swedish TV I saw a danish program from the Kalahari. A guy in a motorized parasail was chasing giraffes, kudus and other hoofed animals from 10 meters height. Poor animals ...
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Old March 8th, 2010, 07:08 AM   #18
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Hi guys

Surely what's most interesting is Wildlife films of all types, styles and inflection. - Watch something like Micro Cosmos. Without any real narration it takes you on a wonderful journey that changes pace as the action and content dictates. It doesn't need narration and is great because of it. - But I wouldn't want all wildlife films to be this way. Sometimes I sit down and want to be educated, want to be shown something new and told about new discoveries in behaviour or ecology.

I'm not a fan of overtly humanised series like 'Meerkat Manor' or a like. BUT if that gets a different audience to take in something of the natural world and even care about it in a small way then maybe its got its place.

Many wildlife folks I've met didn't like what Steve Irwin did. But I think he had his place, obviously cared about the natural world hugely and brought wildlife to an audience who'd probably never considered it before. - Surely a good thing !?

Vive la difference :-)
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Old March 8th, 2010, 07:37 AM   #19
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Many wildlife folks I've met didn't like what Steve Irwin did. But I think he had his place, obviously cared about the natural world hugely and brought wildlife to an audience who'd probably never considered it before. - "Surely a good thing !?"

Over the years I have seen many producers come to Alaska and film a eye catching documentary, only to turn their production into a enviromental political statement. Lying to the viewing public in the process.

Producing Nature/Wildlife content for public viewing that is manipulated and untrue, is unethical.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 09:25 AM   #20
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Hi David

I don't really see what your response has to do with the quoted sentance on Steve Irwin. Unless of course youre implying that you percieve his programs to have been 'manipulated or untrue'.

While I agree that wildlife programing shouldn't be 'manipulated' its a difficult line to draw in the sand. If for instance you are shooting insects using a set in studio. This is a manipulated situation but may still represent a true interpretation of the creature and its surroundings and show true to life behaviour.

and how about foley sound !?

Last edited by Mat Thompson; March 8th, 2010 at 03:03 PM.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 03:36 PM   #21
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While I agree that wildlife programing shouldn't be 'manipulated' its a difficult line to draw in the sand.
Sometimes one could strongly suspect that a film is manipulated even if there is no evidence about it.

I saw a video of a pride of lions attacking af fully grown giraffe. The lions were later eating the giraffe, but the actual kill was not to be seen. I think that the lions really was in captivity, in a large enclosure and that the giraff was put there to get a film of the attack and the kill. I also suspect that the giraff was shot, when the people found that a kill was not immediate, the giraffe was putting up a strong resistance but could not escape.

Even if I think that predatorīs killings are among the most interesting glimpses of wildlife, that scene really made me feeling uneasy.

Has anybody seen this or something like it?
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Old March 8th, 2010, 05:26 PM   #22
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My concern is with producers who make false or misleading statements, intentualy or unintentualy. An example would be claiming in a production that a species is endangered when it is not, or ignoring proven local wildlife management policies that have worked in a geographical area for over 50 years. Local control always seems to work best.

Keep the clips long, give the people a chance to look at something, and tell them the truth. I guess that makes me old fashion.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 07:19 PM   #23
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Documentaries try to tell a story, or teach a lesson, or transmit information about a certain topic. Surely no documentary, no matter how hard one tries, is truly without at least some manipulation. The mere fact of chosing which parts of the action to deliver on screen is a degree of manipulation. In addition, no matter how hard we try to be objective, our opinions of what is reality are definitely shaped by current culture and beliefs.

Several have mentioned the problem of ascribing what we have come to think of as uniquely human characteristics to other animals. A recent book by biologist Marc Bekoff and philosopher Jessica Pierce: "Wild Justice, The Moral Lives of Animals" uses scientific data to examine many of the actions of animals and challenges the interpretation as accidental or mechanical and instead suggests that many intelligent animals demonstrate moral behaviour. They cite many examples such as the rat in a lab experiment that refuses to push a lever to get food when it sees that another rat receives an electric shock as a result, or a male diana monkey who has learned to insert a token into a slot to get food helps a female who can't get the hang of the trick.

They also note that primates, elephants, dolphins, parrots and corvids (ravens, crows, jays) all have demonstrated "empathy" both for their own kin and species but also for unrelated species.

That is not to say that these animals are just small not-quite-as smart humans -- far from it, but the traditional philosophical and scientific views that justice, morality, and empathy are uniquely human characteristics are definitely being challenged. As some have suggested, this makes it even more important to be as accurate as possible and to take care not to ascribe anthropomorphic characteristics and interpretations where they do not belong, but at the same time, we should be wary not to dismiss actions that stray into human-like behaviour as having no intelligent or moral basis.

Alan
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Old March 9th, 2010, 03:03 AM   #24
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Keep the clips long, give the people a chance to look at something, and tell them the truth. I guess that makes me old fashion.
Then old fashion rules.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 12:48 AM   #25
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Yeah, challenged by lunitic fringed animal rights minded people with the likes of Tim Treadwell.No doubt card carrying members of PETA.Science with an agenda is fiction at best. Dump the book and take a walk through the real world.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 02:56 AM   #26
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Yeah, challenged by lunitic fringed animal rights minded people with the likes of Tim Treadwell.No doubt card carrying members of PETA.Science with an agenda is fiction at best. Dump the book and take a walk through the real world.
Sorry, Anthony, but I do not understand your post. What do you mean?
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Old March 10th, 2010, 08:27 AM   #27
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Hi Sverker,

I suspect Anthony is refering to my post in which I recommend a book discussing the intelligence and behaviour of animals. The context was that documentaries sometimes go way too far in placing human charcteristics on animals while others go too far the other way and view all animals as automatic bio-machines. The book takes an intermediate position and suggests that the beginnings of human characteristics are already present in animals. My post was to suggest that documentaries could also consider that while animals are certainly not human, they may actually display intelligence and even altruistic or moral behaviour.

If I understand Anthony's post, it is to say (without reading the book) that the book is incorrect, that the authors (and possibly me as well) are guilty of carrying out science with an agenda, and are just "lunitic fringed animal rights minded people".

Anthony why not read the book first before rejecting it out of hand? It is actually based on a "walk through the real world".

I believe most people who spend time in the wild with animals come to respect them and to appreciate their place in the real world. I personally don't believe that makes us lunatics or that we thereby belong to a fringe group. At least in my case, I like to keep an open mind and try to make honest observations about the world around us.

Alan
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Old March 10th, 2010, 08:59 AM   #28
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There are good bears and there are bad bears. There are good wolves, and there are bad wolves. Right now we have a bad wolf. It just killed a young school teacher in Chignik Lake., Alaska.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 11:58 AM   #29
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So nice of you, Alan, to speak for Anthony. You might be correct when you translate his strange post to understandable sentences. Let us see if he likes your post.

And I like your thoughts about how we could understand the behavious of animals. One should not humanize animal more than necessary - like giving them names, like researchers often do - and also not make comments that sounds like scientific facts when they are not.

I cannot give any specific examples, but often comments say that animals do this or that because ... and say something that is supposed to be a fact. But often it is just somebody who thinks that it must be an evolutionary advantage to do so.

One example - when males of deers and elks are fighting to get a harem of females it is often told that the winner shows he has the best genes. But the winner is also probaly in his prime age and the loser might just have better genes but is not old enought and has not got the experience. And when the older guy finally is beaten, guy still have his good genes but is not allowed to mate.

If there is no good explaination of a behaviour, there should be no poor explaination. And one should not believe that everything in nature is so perfect and smart.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 02:04 PM   #30
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Sorry guys for my unclear responce, I should have clarified what i was talking about.I have spent most of my adult life in the wild places of this earth. The last eleven years in 7 african counties, mostly in the unicorperaterd parts of Africa with the animals that live there. Correct I have not read the book that you spoke of and should not have passed a judgement on it with out doing so. But I have read plenty of the like and all have distorted wildlife behavior for two main reasons. One, their agenda to humanize wild animals for their animal rights passions. Two, the mistake of becomeing emotionaly attatched to a single animal or subject and losing focus on what really happens in the world of wild spiecies as a whole.In most of these cases the SIENTIST is not studing animal behavior but trying to prove that animals are people too.
I love animals... and often prefer their company over human, and it is only human nature to try and put human emotion and apply anthropomophism to animals.But I have watched a herd of cape buffalo save a young bull calf from lion only to have the very same bull that led the rally, gore and stomp the calf to death 20 min later becuase it was bloody. I have watched hyena pups kill every sibling it has to insure it's place at the carcas. I have seen a leopard kill bushbuck female, leave the cracas at the base of a tree and a male bush buch breed it.Watching baboon males killing and eating a baby baboon,often its own young, not once but on many ocations, leaves not doubt in my mind animals do not posses the same emotional complexity that humans do. when you start to talk about words like empathy and compation and aply those emotions to wild animals you have watched to much Walt Disney . My intention was not to offend anyone and if I did so I appolgize. But so many people take what they read in a book for fact and have no real idea how the world around us really works. I have spent lots of time with film makers in the bush and have seen the way they weave a story line from bits and pieces of footage to create something that didnot happen and would never happen in the wild, to make film more interesting..but fiction all the same, and people take it as fact.
To anthropomorphate animas is human nature, but is completly wrong." One should not humanize animals too much" ....one should not humanize animals at all, it is an injustice to the wild things in this world .
Again I appolojize to any offended I just ge a little crazy on this subject... Regards Anthony

Last edited by Anthony Maxwell; March 10th, 2010 at 04:05 PM.
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