The Fantastic Sea Mouse

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  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.

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Words by Andy

Arctic Charr run – Ennerdale

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.

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Images and words by Andy

Spider Crab Spectacle

After 2 years’ chasing this story in beautiful St Bride’s Bay, Pembrokeshire, BBC Autumnwatch broadcast a fabulous creepy edit of my film tonight. In it, Spider Crabs march in from deep water to the warm, shallow bay, where they use the safety of numbers to moult.

I loved Chris and Michaela’s demonstration using a russian doll and a painted sponge. What an inspired way to show how crabs emerge from their shells 30% larger.

The BBC team did a cracking job on the production of this film, from research, scripting, editing, colour grading to the music and all topped off with Martin’s excellent narration.

Sincere thanks to Lloyd and Ceri Jones at Haven Diving Services for all their support to film this story.

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Images and words by Andy

Shetland’s hallowed submarine

100 years ago the British submarine HMS E49 struck a mine in the entrance to Balta Sound, Unst, Shetland, and sank with all hands. A ceremony on 12th March 2017 will commemorate the loss of 31 men.

In 2012 I dived and filmed the wreck at 5am on a bright June morning. I think I captured more than images that day; watching it back I feel the reverence of this resting place. The wreck has been colonised by nature and wrapped in a shroud of white sand. This is a tranquil tomb now, and is a fitting memorial to the men who rest inside her.

The Shetland Amenity Trust have asked to use still images from my video on a memorial that’ll be unveiled in the centenary commemoration. It gives me great pleasure to do this.

I’ve uploaded the footage on Vimeo at best quality so it can be seen more widely. I’ve deliberately not cut anything from this film, so this is a 20-minute dive in full. I invite you to pour a glass of your favourite beverage and take the time to settle into this silent world. I hope that in doing so, you’ll experience the essence of this hallowed place.

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Images and words by Andy

Wildlife Trusts Collaboration

wildlife-watch-page-1

After the screening of our seahorse film at the BWPAwards last year, we got chatting to Emma and Leanne from the Wildlife Trusts. They asked us to get involved in a couple of projects for ‘Wildlife Watch’, the magazine for junior members. We gladly agreed.

Over the last few months, Jackie’s been working with Leanne to create a double-page article and design a wildlife filmmaking competition for kids. We’re both thrilled to be involved as judges and can’t wait to see the short-listed films later this year.

Here’s a copy of the article Jackie wrote and details of the wildlife filmmaking competition.

If your kids love the natural world, sign them up to Wildlife Watch here.

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Words by Jackie