Posted on June 24, 2017
Every now and then, a joyous diving experience is born from the most unlikely circumstances.
After dreadful weather tossed us around on the open sea, Cricklade took shelter in Salen, Loch Sunart. Our dive plans were bust. I contacted George Brown, seeking last minute recommendations to save my filming trip. And boy, did George come up trumps.
Below the waters around Sligneach Mor, a small island on Loch Sunart’s north side, a steep rocky habitat is fed by a tidal stream. It is home to a number of priority marine features (PMFs) and it is fantastically photogenic. I would have been happy to spend a week filming the treasures in this dive site. I’ve edited some highlights into a short reel for you. Music is by Moby, courtesy of Moby Gratis. Album “Hotel Ambient”, track “The Come Down”.
With thanks to the Cricklade crew, George Brown, and the bloody awful weather for helping me find this very special dive site.
Words by Andy
Posted on June 19, 2017
I’m just back from a 2-week tour of Scottish lochs. Heavy rain and wind made the trip challenging at times, but I managed to film rare and beautiful animals that cling to existence in these wild western habitats.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll share short films and blogs about some of these amazing creatures.
First up, Loch Duich. An old favourite – and the home of Psolus Phantapus, one of the stars I filmed for BBC Springwatch, 2015. But – Psolus was gone! Not a single Sea Cucumber to be found. I knew they only appeared for a brief period each Spring, but it still came as a surprise to discover what had been a forest of animals now just an empty mud bank.
I turned my camera on the other jewels in Loch Duich’s muddy depths. I’m glad to introduce the rare Fireworks Anemone – Pachycerianthus multiplicatus – in two colour forms. Their feeding method is a lovely spectacle. They brush food particles onto the “pom pom” at their centre. I hope you find Fireworks as mesmerising to watch as I do.
Words by Andy
Posted on March 29, 2017
One of my favourite bits of UK coastline is Ravenscar on the southern cheek of Robin Hood’s Bay. It’s been a special place for me since I was a teenager. I always feel connected and content there, and I know the terrain like the back of my hand. Over the years, I’ve spent many happy hours there, often without seeing another soul. I’ve shot a lot of film around there, topside and underwater. One of my favourite Ravenscar subjects is its burgeoning Grey Seal colony, which I’ve watched grow from a handful to hundreds of animals.
Imagine my joy when a production company took an interest in the Grey Seal material I’d shot, wanted to buy some and commissioned me to shoot more. I loved every minute of this shoot. Thanks to Duncan Chard of Tigress Productions for giving me the opportunity. This is the first topside natural history story I’ve filmed for broadcast.
The seals feature in Episodes 3 and 4 – Autumn and Winter. They go out on Tuesday 4th and 11th April at 9PM on Channel 5. Settle down with a glass of wine and come to Ravenscar with me to see what happens above and below the water when no one else is around.
Special thanks to Zoe Frank, Park Ranger, National Trust and The Raven Hall Hotel for all their help.
Link to My5
Words by Andy
Posted on January 6, 2017
I first filmed sea mice ten years ago. They’re fascinating creatures. Covered in brightly coloured spines, they sparkle like rainbows as they wriggle along the sea floor.
I filmed them again last year in UHD at Loch Fyne and captured their incredible colours with a 5 x macro lens.
So I was delighted when the BBC One Show team decided to make a film about Sea Mice. I’d been reading about the significance of their colourful spines – watch the film to find out just how magnificent they are!
The team shown on the TX card pulled it all together with help from Dr Andrew Parker and @thembauk to make an intriguing story I’m delighted to have played my part in.
Thanks to Malcolm Goodchild of Loch Fyne Dive Charters for all his help in getting the footage that made this feature possible.
Words by Andy
Posted on November 30, 2016
I returned to Ennerdale last week to film the Arctic Charr run. I always get a warm welcome from good friends at the Environment Agency and in the local community.
Incredibly, it’s 3 years since Jackie and I made our film “Arctic Charr: Relics of the Ice Age”. Since then, I’ve upgraded my camera to UHD. I was keen to see what my Sony PXW-FS7 could do with these beautiful fish in crystal clear water.
Arctic Charr survive in a handful of places in the UK – at the bottom of deep, cold lakes where they’ve been trapped since the Ice Age. After the ice receded 10,000 years ago, warming seas imprisoned the lake populations and they evolved independently. Ennerdale’s Arctic Charr are the only English population that still swim upriver to spawn – once it’s cold enough. The first snow on the mountaintops shows the time is near.
Arctic Charr are supremely equipped for the cold. Their northern cousins roam the Arctic circle and fatten up at sea like salmon.
Last week’s Lake District weather was perfect (freezing!) and I was treated to several encounters with these stunning fish. Here are rare 4k images of very rare fish.
Special thanks to Peter, Sam, and Martin from the EA who made me feel part of their team again. Their dedication to the cause is amazing and often goes unsung and unseen.
Images and words by Andy