Filming wildlife is rarely easy

Filming wildlife is rarely easy.  Time is always a valuable commodity for a wildlife cameraman.  Our last shoot was to Dorset and the New Forest.  A glance down the call sheet revealed several tempting wildlife subjects and I could hardly wait to get there.

We arrived on the coast of Dorset.  Then we sat in the vehicles for just about the whole day waiting for the rain to stop.  Some subjects work OK in the rain, but when the subject is dramatic landscape and scenery which is shrouded in mist and rain… what’s the point!

Raft spider at Arne Reserve in Dorset

The following day we returned to the coast and completed our first shots of Durdle Door.  At least we had something in the can.  We moved on to the RSPB reserve at Arne.  What a great place to go watching wildlife.  Despite there being rain in the air just about all day we managed to film both wasp spiders and rafts spiders.  There were also some quite obliging sika deer amongst the pine trees, just at the start of their rut period.

This wasp spider has just caught and wrapped a fly

Later in the day we also filmed water voles and kingfishers at Arne.  The old apple trick worked for the water voles – that and quite a lot of patience before the sun finally went down.  The weather was never really that helpful throughout the trip.  Butterflies and dragonflies were on the hit list, and frankly it was almost always too cold for either to be active.  We’re talking about August here.  The same applies to smooth snakes and sand lizards, but a timely burst of sunshine did bring the sand lizards out to play, and we filmed males and females.

It is strange looking back at that filming trip.  From a wildlife cameraman point of view it felt that we were almost always up against it with the rain, cold and wind.  In hindsight we achieved a lot, and apparently the rough cut of the material is shaping up to be the best of the series.  None of us would have thought that as we say in the vehicles on day one, occasionally activating the windscreen wipers so that we could see out.