From National Geographic: wild_life With Bertie Gregory Launches Wednesday, Aug. 3, on Nat Geo WILD’s YouTube Channel and NationalGeographic.com July 06, 2016 04:18 PM ET – WASHINGTON –
Nat Geo WILD inspires people to let the wild in every day. The network is dedicated to creating content for animal lovers everywhere to enjoy, whether it’s on TV, in magazines, or in books. Now, Nat Geo WILD is bringing the wild online with the launch of its first-ever digital series, wild_life With Bertie Gregory
, premiering Wednesday, Aug. 3, on the network’s YouTube Channel
, as well as on NationalGeographic.com
Join 22-year-old wildlife filmmaker Bertie Gregory (@bertiegregory
) as he journeys to the west coast of Vancouver Island in search of the elusive coastal wolves, a species that inhabits one of the last places on the planet where a wild forest meets a wild ocean.
For a sneak peek of the series, click here
“This series is as much about the adventure to get the shot as it is about the shot itself,” said Gregory. “I’m taking viewers into the wild and getting up close and personal with Canada’s sexiest coastal predators. The camera is always rolling. It’s raw. It’s real. It’s intimate. And I’m excited to be a part of Nat Geo WILD’s first venture into the digital space.”
Over the course of 16 episodes, Gregory finds that tracking down these wolves proves to be harder than expected … but he’s not giving up. He also attempts to get face to face with some of the other charismatic species that live along this pristine coastline. Each episode features Gregory’s encounters with epic animals, including humpback whales, bald eagles and black bears. He occasionally gets closer than anticipated, as he must untangle himself from a few sticky situations, like ending up with his head in the jaws of a playful 2,000-pound sea lion.
“We are thrilled to extend the WILD brand beyond television to reach our audiences wherever they are,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager, Nat Geo WILD. “Bertie is a great ambassador for us, and his adventures in this new series will be celebrated across National Geographic’s many platforms, including SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Nat Geo LIVE! and more.”
by Sean Setters
Before I go any further, I must make one thing very clear:
- The image above [closely] resembles the image I had intended to capture. It does not represent the reality of the event.
Having never attended an Independence Day celebration on Savannah's River Street before, I asked several people where exactly the fireworks were launched from. I was told the fireworks launched from behind the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa on the other side of the Savannah River. Therefore, my plan was to position myself on the east end of River Street near Belles Ferry, where I hoped I could include the Westin hotel and possibly a small portion of the Talmadge Memorial Bridge in my fireworks image.
The fireworks were scheduled for 9:30pm. Expecting a sizable crowd on River Street, my goal was to pack my gear so that it was minimally cumbersome and as light as possible. I knew that shooting fireworks would require some type of support, but the idea of carrying a full tripod downtown (even if affixed to the outside of my backpack) did not appeal to me. In this particular case, I didn't think my very-travel-friendly Feisol TT-15 Mini Carbon Fiber
would be a feasible option as I would likely have to utilize one of the concrete supports positioned by the river as the base, and having my camera atop a tiny tripod next to a river did not sound like a good idea. I wondered if I could cobble together a few odds and ends from around the house that could do the job.
So here's the solution I came up with:
Above you'll find older Cullman (my first) ball head with an Arca-style plate
attached to the bottom. Affixed to that is an Arca-style clamp
which has been bolted to an Impact Super Clamp with T-Handle
This setup can be broken down into two pieces (at the clamp) for compact backpack storage and, when assembled, affixed to just about any fence which borders the Savannah River along River Street.
Not knowing exactly which focal length might provide the optimal framing for the event, I packed a Lowepro Flipside 400AW
with my mobile support setup and the following gear: Independence Day
Amanda and I planned to meet up with a few friends downtown before the scheduled fireworks. Unfortunately, we ended up getting to River Street later than I had intended (8:45pm). As we descended onto River Street, I realized the crowd was much larger than I had anticipated. Almost every square inch of the fence bordering the river was accounted for. It took me about 20 minutes to find a gap along the fence where I could position my camera, after which I attached my support rig, 5D III, TS-E 24mm f/3.5L and TC-80N3 remote timer. With only 10 minutes left before the show, I hurriedly composed the scene and took a few pictures at 10x Live View to obtain proper focus on the hotel building (in this case, anything beyond 14 feet would be in focus because of the hyperfocal distance
). My camera settings were f/4.5, 5 seconds and ISO 200.
Unfortunately, my tardiness in getting to the location combined with the hot/humid Savannah night meant that condensation was inevitable. While I did wipe off the end of the lens before shooting my test images used for focusing, condensation immediately reappeared and caused halos around all the bright lights in the image. I decided to wait for the condensation to clear up in hopes that it did so before the fireworks show began.
At almost precisely 9:30pm, the fireworks started. However, instead of being launched from directly behind the hotel as I had been led to believe, they were actually set off several hundred yards to the east. I quickly rotated the ball head, re-leveled the camera and began shooting the fireworks (using the remote). Unfortunately, this framing led to a very uninteresting backdrop for the colorful display.
With my original plan out the window, I decided to try something I had used on a previous fireworks image
– compositing. I changed my camera settings to isolate the explosions from the surrounding background: f/5-6.3, 8 seconds, ISO 100. These settings allowed me to capture 1-4 bursts in each frame, depending on how fast they were launched. In post processing, I would overlay my favorite fireworks images with the original framing I had imagined.
At the end of the night, I was left with about 150 images of fireworks that looked like this: Post-Processing
Unfortunately, I only captured a few test shots of the hotel scene before the fireworks started. As such, even my best image showed very noticeable halos around the lights.
I selected my favorite fireworks images in post processing and composited them with my hotel image using a "Lighten" blending mode in Photoshop CC
. Note that this blending mode also allowed the fireworks' reflections in the water to be seen which was key to making the image look somewhat realistic. I also added a slight Gaussian Blur to the fireworks to simulate the type of halos/lack of sharpness visible in the base image. Final Thoughts
Things don't always go as planned. As photographers, we sometimes have to roll with the punches and do the best with the cards we're dealt. In this case, the fireworks launching location meant that I couldn't capture the scene I had in mind in-camera. And the lateness of my arrival, combined with the hot/humid weather meant that my base image in the composite didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. However, my mobile support rig worked very well and I'm not completely dissatisfied with the final image. The halos seem in the base image actually add a dreamlike quality to it; maybe it's a fitting look as the image never actually happened in real life, but only in my dreams.