The beginning of the author’s adventure with a camera – filming wildlife across the world for the BBC Natural History Unit and other major TV companies – began in 1978 when he joined the RSPB’s film unit. Untangling the Knot gives an in-depth look into what is involved in capturing the sequences needed for a natural history film, using comprehensive diaries and over 200 photographs. Mike describes the stresses of international flying with 20 cases of film equipment, sometimes alone, to distant corners of the world. The hardships of living and working for weeks in remote regions, avoiding tropical diseases, the onslaught of forest insects, long hours of waiting from dawn to dusk, and of frustration and disappointment when the elements or circumstances conspired against him. There are times of great elation too, when animal behaviour never seen before is captured on film. Working with top biologists and highly-experienced pilots was an essential partnership in understanding the subject to be filmed, often in remote regions where the challenge was reaching the subject in rainforest canopies, on remote islands or in featureless arctic tundra. In a career spanning 35 years, several of the programmes in which he was involved have won major awards. He describes filming Attenborough in Paradise in New Guinea with Sir David Attenborough as a career highlight, where he filmed behaviour of Birds of Paradise that had never been seen before. His last programme, Jewelled Messengers was the fulfilment of an ambition to make the ultimate film on hummingbirds with producer Paul Reddish, using the latest high-speed, high-definition cameras, and which was shot mainly in Brazil and Ecuador. The story concludes when he realizes his dream of visiting the Ross Sea region of the Antarctic. Mike considers himself lucky to have worked in so many spectacular regions of the world and this book enables readers to travel with him and share his incredible experiences.
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