Behind the scenes with wildlife photographer Bertie Gregory

Behind the scenes with wildlife photographer Bertie Gregory
Behind the scenes with wildlife photographer Bertie Gregory

Bertie Gregory movies a fin whale off Elephant Island, Antarctica.Dan Beecham/Handout

At 29, British wildlife photographer and filmmaker Bertie Gregory has already documented a number of the planet’s most majestic landscapes and threatened species. He started his full-time profession in 2014 the day after graduating from college, when he travelled to South Africa to work on a challenge for Nationwide Geographic journal. The designated Nationwide Geographic Explorer has labored on a number of award-winning movies since then.

In his newest collection, Epic Adventures (Disney+), Gregory takes viewers behind the scenes as a part of the story, sharing what it takes to seize breathtaking encounters with wild animals on digital camera from Africa to Antarctica. Nevertheless it was a visit to Vancouver Island 12 years in the past and an unforgettable second with a coastal wolf that helped flip his ardour for photographing animals right into a occupation. Contemporary from filming Season 2 of Epic Adventures, Gregory took outing to inform The Globe and Mail about how he bought his begin.

Whereas out in his dinghy on the lookout for black bears, Bertie noticed this feminine gray wolf trotting alongside the shoreline on the west coast of Vancouver Island.Bertie Gregory/The Globe and Mail

Your {photograph} of the wolf is so haunting. What introduced you to that location in 2011?

I had simply completed highschool and I used to be going to check zoology at Bristol College right here within the U.Okay. I had the summer time and I actually needed to see bears. So I e-mailed a load of wildlife tour guides out on the west coast of Canada and stated, hey, I like taking footage and I’m younger and actually eager. This one man known as Mike replied and I got here out and helped him on his bear-watching boat, which he did cruises on. He additionally had somewhat 12-foot rubber inflatable and he mainly simply let me free on Vancouver Island. I discovered the best way to be round bears safely. I discovered the best way to discover completely different animals – whales, sea otters, the whole lot. And whereas I used to be there I got here throughout this pack of coastal wolves and simply bought obsessive about them.

When most individuals consider wolves, they consider locations like Yellowstone or perhaps someplace within the Arctic. And right here was this animal who will get as much as 90 per cent of its food regimen from the ocean.

How did you get the picture?

The alpha feminine of the pack is the one in that picture. I had a “bear field” for my digital camera – an indestructible housing that I had initially constructed to {photograph} black bears. It was a superlow tide that day. There was all this eelgrass that was very hardly ever uncovered. Once I noticed her from my boat I motored forward and put the field down. Then I jumped again within the boat and backed off with a distant set off for the digital camera. She walked previous the digital camera and that was that; it was an extremely fortunate scenario.

How a lot of a task does luck play in getting your greatest photographs?

There’s a Scottish wildlife photographer known as Lorne Gill. I bear in mind he wrote someplace that the extra you practise, the luckier you get. That basically sums it up. In the event you watch Epic Adventures, you’ll discover that we are likely to get the massive occasion, the factor we’re going for, in direction of the top. And a few of my buddies have stated, in fact you allow it to the top as a result of it makes a greater story. However that’s not it. It takes you that lengthy to determine how the animals work and what their cycles are. The tip is once you are usually in the appropriate place on the proper time to provide Mom Nature the chance to make you fortunate or not.

A gathering of Fin whales within the Southern Ocean.Bertie Gregory/Handout

There’s a memorable scene within the present the place you come throughout an enormous gathering of fin whales off the coast of Antarctica. What did it really feel prefer to witness it in particular person?

We had been anchored at a spot known as Level Wild on Elephant Island, which is correct on the north finish of the Antarctic Peninsula alongside the Drake Passage. It’s often terrible climate there however it was weirdly calm that morning. We picked up the anchor and headed out to the place we’d seen the most effective proof of whale gatherings earlier than. I lifted up my binoculars and on the horizon, filling my binocular body from left to proper, had been lots of of massive 20-foot excessive jets of water from the whales breaching on the floor, like cannons going off, backlit by the rising solar. It was some of the extraordinary days of filming wildlife I’ll ever have.

How is your exuberance at seeing such a tremendous sight tempered by the truth that a lot of the wildlife you doc is in danger?

The rationale that the whale gathering in Antarctica was so shifting for me was that it’s the most effective that it has been for many years. Because of the safety of whales within the southern ocean following the whaling period, the whales are coming again. That was actually hopeful and provoking to me. That is what occurs once you give wildlife an opportunity.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

A fin whale throughout feeding.Bertie Gregory/Handout

The Australis pushes out to sea to search for whales from an anchorage at Level Wild, Elephant Island.Bertie Gregory/Handout

Bertie Gregory swimming together with his underwater digital camera arrange.Johnny Rogers/Handout

Scallop Hammerhead shark.Bertie Gregory/Handout

Bertie Gregory rising camera-first by an enormous mackerel bait ball.Handout

Bertie Gregory on boat in harsh Antarctic climate.Will West/Handout