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


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Old May 16th, 2006, 10:34 PM   #16
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My dealings have always been with grizzlys or black bears and most of them chance encounters. The difference with these types of bears is that for the most part, they are not hunting, but foraging and they are just as interested in avoiding me as I am them. Then again - I'm not armed (except maybe some pepper spray or a truck!)

I have some black bear footage and a couple of seconds of bad grizzly footage. I am hoping to get some better grizzly footage this year.

It sounds like you lead an interesting life up there and I look forward to hearing more about your adventures.

p.s summer has come early here and we are getting beautiful warm weather - I'm off to Kootenay Lake B.C. next week.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 12:25 AM   #17
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Good Evening Phil:

Life up here is indeed interesting, the opportunities to film wild life are second to none. But to venture out on the tundra or ice without a rifle is absolutely fool hardy, life can be short enough thank you very much.

You mentioning the grizzles brings to mind a very interesting story that was on the local news a short while back. It seems that a sports hunter from the US recently shot a polar bear but following some close investigation it was discovered that the bear was a half cross between a polar bear and a grizzley. The pictures I saw were of an off white yellowish bear with the typical grizzley hump. From the report it seems this isn't uncommon in captivity but this was the first reported case in the wild.

The darn problem with the polar bear is that he will hunt you if given the chance and yes he will eat ever single bit of fat on the body....treats it like it's a seal. Unfortunately we do have a few attacks each year most all of which end in the death of both parties, the hunter and the hunted.

We have two cabins one up the coast that I mentioned in previous posts and one inland on a lake both give me different opportunities to film....one the opportunity to film birds, seals and the bears while the other is for carabou wolves and foxes.

However like most of us my work gets in the way of my play time LOL.

Later Brian
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Old May 19th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #18
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Rankin Inlet on OLN Today

Brian, I just now watched a TV program showing Nunavut and Rankin Inlet.
The wildflowers were beautiful, but there were no trees. It showed big Arctic Char being caught, then dried and eaten raw. Huge herds of Caribou were running across the tundra. I think I was intended to live in such a place, but civilization swept over my home grounds, before I was born.

The program was about the tragic story of the hockey player, Terence Tootoo, his brother, Jordin and the rest of their family. I imagine you must know them.

The title of the program was: "Team Spirit: The Tootoo Story". It will likely be repeated a few times on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN), a cable channel.
The next showing I see on my schedule, is next Friday, May 26th, at 10 pm,
PDT (GMT minus 7).

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; May 20th, 2006 at 06:24 AM.
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Old May 20th, 2006, 08:14 AM   #19
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Good Morning Stephen:

I'm glad you enjoyed the show, "welcome to my world" LOL. Yes I know the family very well actually the father Barney works with me, wonderful people.

Yes sir no trees for a thousand miles and my line is "I hate trees they just get in the way" LOL. However it can make it difficult some times to get close to the things we want to tape. With the lack of cover one has to come up with some imaginative ways to sneak up on the creatures we want to film.

The trout and char fishing here are out of this world and of course the landscape due to the lack of trees has that surface of the moon appearance.

The plan was to leave last evening and head up the coast to see if the swans are back but unfortunately it snowed like a son of a gun all day so I put it off until this morning. Right now the wind is howling at 50 plus creating some blowing snow and white patches so I'll wait and see if it clears by lunch time...that being said with fingers crossed. As soon as it clears I'll pack the sled and head out for the weekend.

The batteries are charged, camera and tripods packed now I just have to wait for mother nature to calm down.

I'll let you know how it works out. Have a great weekend.

Brian
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Old May 20th, 2006, 06:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian McKay
Yes sir no trees for a thousand miles and my line is "I hate trees they just get in the way" LOL. However it can make it difficult some times to get close to the things we want to tape. With the lack of cover one has to come up with some imaginative ways to sneak up on the creatures we want to film.

Brian
Here's a wild idea: Get together a team of European Reindeer (they're smaller and more gentle than Barren Grounds Caribou) and train them to pull your sled. Then, when you sight wildlife you want to photograph, use one of them as a "stalking horse", to escort you right up to them. In the old days, hunters used this now-outlawed practice. They would train a horse to slowly edge up to a flock of geese or herd of antelope, stopping to graze occasionally and not raising any alarm from the quarry. The hunter would walk on the far side of the horse and since the prey couldn't count all that well, seeing a 6-legged horse didn't register as threatening.

An alternative would be to use a team of Icelandic ponies. They're undoubtedly more trainable than reindeer, although the Sami use the latter to pull sleds and there are a number of reindeer sled teams that put on exhibitions in North America. I wouldn't recommend this for stalking Polar Bears however, as they might be inclined to eat your transportation.
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Old May 21st, 2006, 01:01 AM   #21
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Swans/bears

Guys,

I am dead in the middle and wait every spring for the wans to come into the canadian prairies. I got some terrific footage of a pair making some interesting noises!! I had never really heard them before other than when they are flying. Mid april they arre here and they always frequent the same shallow ponds the diver ducks like!! I have some nice footage of swans with scaup and Cans and red heads all putting about. Interestingly, when there is some sort of threat, the ducks start swiming up close with the Swans.
here in the prairies getting footage without wind is almost laughable!!

A parabolic held within the truck out of the wind might do the Job. also building a wind protector box to shot the mic out of may work to effect.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 07:35 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian McKay
Hello:

I have an audio question and hope someone can help. Here's the deal the wild swans will be arriving back soon and over the years I've been able to get great video, that's not the issue. The problem has been to capture that subtle creek, creek of there wings as they fly overhead. I've tried just about ever darn thing I can think of the capture the sound and now I'm out of ideas.

Can anyone recommend a parabolic type microphone setup that will work. Oh I should mention I'm using the XL2

Any help would be greatly appriciated.

Brian
Here's a link to some bird sounds including Canada Goose ...

http://www.10x50.com/sounds.htm

and another to many bird sound sources ...

http://www.math.sunysb.edu/~tony/birds/links.html
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 11:41 AM   #23
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Hello:

Trained reindeer and ponies.....too wild an imagination for me LOL.

The weekend went well the small ponds and lakes are still frozen but the birds are still arriving and landing on the few patches of tundra that have melted clear of snow.

I did get some rather interesting if not some what funny footage. I could see a large flock of swans headed in my direction so I lined up on them and let them fly into frame then followed them for a bit untill they settled and landed on the tundra. Later that evening when I was viewing the footage on my monitor I realized that what I had was a group of ten swans and one lone goose flying in formation....one mixed up goose LOL.

Other than that I picked up some footage of arctic foxes but stll no close ups on the swans.

Brian
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Old May 24th, 2006, 10:53 AM   #24
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Last Chance

Well this is it most likely my last shot at getting the footage/audio of the swans. I took a few days off from work and will head up the coast after lunch today and stay until Sunday evening.

The cracks in the sea ice are getting wider by the day and soon will be much too wide to cross safely by skidoo. Then we're in the stuck in town time of year until the river water depth drops then we can get out again by ATV the only other possability is to go by chopper but a 180 bucks one way it's not likely I'll do that for a weekend, for a week yes but no way for two days.

I packed the whole works this time every lens I own up to and including the
500 mm.

Wish me luck.

Brian
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Old June 30th, 2006, 10:10 AM   #25
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One Lucky Guy

The May 24th trip up the coast was just about my last trip anywhere on this earth. I post this because I know many of you are like me, out there on your own trying to capture that perfect wild life footage. So here's my story:

I loaded up my sled with all the gear and did notice that I was a little short of breath while I was hauling the gear from the house to the sled but no big deal I just brushed it off. Once loaded up I headed out, it was a great day for the trip lots of sunlight so the shadows showed the bumps etc. Along the way I saw some seals suning on the ice and lots of geese flying over so I'm thinking this is great I'll gather a ton of footage.

About two miles from my camp I started to feel a bit sick, light headed with a slight cramp type feeling in my chest. I started thinking hell did I pull a muscle or what....no big deal I just kept going.

By the time I had covered the two miles the slight cramp in my chest was replaced by a tractor trailer parked on my chest and a pain that I can't describe....yep you got it guys a heart attack.

So here I am in the middle of no where. alone with no way to get back to town for medical help. I made it to the cabin tried the radio no reception tried the sat phone.....sun spots no go. I remembered reading somewhere that if you think your taking a heart attack you should take aspirin, I dug around and sure enough found a couple in a first aid kit.

I climbed into a sleeping bag and remained as still as possible said more than a few prayers even thought about setting up the camera a making a farewell tape to leave for my wife....but realized the heck with that the cup is half full so I just spent the hours consentrating on staying alive. Believe me the time was going slow, I thought about trying to drive back but knew there was no way....the pain was way to much to permit me to drive.

Finally I heard a skidoo off in the distance, I crawled out of bed grabbed my binoculars and sure enough I could see a skidoo two miles away pulling up to my father in laws cabin. I pulled on my outer clothing and made it to my skidoo drove the two miles to the other cabin. Thank you God it was my brother in law....in minutes he had me packed into his sled and we're ripping across the sea ice at break neck speed headed back to town. Straight to the health center.....time line, the heart attack started a 2:30 PM I arrived at the health center at 9:00 PM it took the doctors and nurses untill 1:00 AM to get me stable enough to load on a plane headed south to a hospital a 3.5 hour flight later and I'm admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

Three weeks and a couple of stints later I was discharged and am now back home recovering.

I post this with a suggestion to all of you that spend days or weeks alone on the land like I do....maybe just maybe that once a year check up isn't often enough it may be a good idea to double it up and while your at it tell your doctor about the amout of time you spend alone away from medical help.

Brian
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Old July 1st, 2006, 04:35 AM   #26
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Brian, let's hope that won't be your last trip out there, but maybe it could be your last trip alone. I also hope you can find the exact, underlying cause for your heart problem and be able to work out a longterm plan to counteract it. I would bet you won't again ignore the warning signs you got. I hate to admit it, but I'm so stubborn, I might have done just the same thing. After you have passed through your recovery period and if you have a condition that responds well to a good program of diet and exercise, keeping active may be healthier than lying around the house. Keep us posted about how you are doing. Many of us may profit from your experience and will thank you for sharing it with us. I imagine that we all envy you for being able to do these things in such a natural and spectacular place and will be pulling for you to be able to do it once again. Best wishes.
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Old July 4th, 2006, 11:40 PM   #27
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Hi Brian,

I just got back from a two day trip down a fairly remote section of the South Saskatchewan River and I was stunned to read your post. It brought home some thoughts that I was reminded of on my journey.

I wasn't alone this time, but I have recently travelled solo through some very wild country, where I didn't see another soul for days at a time. My back was killing me when I left, so I drugged my way through a week of backpacking. I knew that I was taking a risk, but I went anyway because if I wait for someone to go with me... well you probably know how it is. A herniated disk and nine months of sciatica were my reward.

You are not the only one who ignores symptoms when a goal is in sight and you are doing something that you love. I'm sure I would have denied that there was anything wrong if I felt chest pains - just like you.

Your story is a timely warning. I'm no spring chicken any more and you have inspired me to go get a checkup.

I hope you are feeling better and that you have access both to good physicians and facilities up there. Take care of yourself, buddy!
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Old July 8th, 2006, 10:56 PM   #28
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Steve and Phil, your comments regarding Brian's experience are very important. I generally travel in a far different geographical environment (East and Southeast Asia) than you three but I find many similarities in our plights. One thing that has aided me over the years is that my physician(s) know what I do and they keep that in mind (or at least in my records) so that when I come in with a problem which needs diagnosis or specific action they are aware of my medical history.

In the early 1970s my first physician at the HMO I belong to noted I travel in "developing" countries a good deal. That has stuck with me, or with my record, ever since. I find that when I go in for a check up my current physician is sensitive to my lifestyle and always asks what have I been doing recently, where, and is there anything she (in this case) should know before she starts whatever process I am due for. I've found that even for a standard physical exam this has been important.

Of course, something as immediate as a heart attack or a spinal injury is a particular experience but prior knowledge sometimes will help us in coping with that reality if and when it does occur.

Sandy
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Old July 9th, 2006, 09:01 AM   #29
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Hello Once Again:

Sandy your right on the money, all to often we take things for granted and maybe we're even nieve enough to think....ah shit that could never happen to me....well guess what it can....I found out first hand.

Steve and Phil thanks for the kind words. The recovery plan is now in play and I'm doing what I'm told, both by the doctors and my wife LOL...believe me she's now in the drivers seat hahahaha.

They say that from all bad things will come some good, well in this case it's the opportunity to catalogue my footage in a data base so I can find things....been putting that off for a very long time.

I'm considering entering Video Challenge 6 to help pass the time as well but I'll see about that....I'll need my wife's approval LOL.

Things are going reasonably well considering.

Brian
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Old July 12th, 2006, 10:09 AM   #30
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What impresses me about your story and other's is the passion that
seems to drive you (many of us on the list) to ignore ALL kinds
of warnings/common sense in order to document wildlife and nature.
When I tell people of what it took to produce,
"An Osprey Homecoming", both in
terms of time, commitment and personal MONEY, most, although impressed,
probably wonder about my sanity.

I also want to comment about the swan you saved Mr. McDonald.
First, I am very stirred by that story. Most lay people
have no idea just how much alike we inhabitants of the Earth are.
Many birds are far more intelligent than anyone would ever credit them.
They have and demonstrate many of the same 'good' qualities that
we humans aspire to achieve. You find that out when you spend a lot of
personal time with them. Loyalty, bravery, work ethic, ingenuity, kindness,
gentleness, playfulness etc., etc.

They are not unthinking, unfeeling beings . . . just the opposite.
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