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South Africa Recap

We just returned from an unforgettable trip to Knysna, South Africa. It was our first time venturing to Africa and one thing is for sure – we can’t wait to go back! Our trip began in Cape Town where we were able to take in the beautiful ocean views and capture the beauty of the surrounding vineyards.

The highlight of the trip was our time spent at Head Over Hills Luxury Resort in Knysna, South Africa. Over the span of ten days, we are pretty confident we were able to capture on film every inch of the resort and the ever-changing view that took our breath away every day. We loved getting to know the friendly staff at Head Over Hills and our hosts, the Hanson family. We hope that our pictures and videos help share the beauty of this place with people around the world, but trust us, there’s nothing like seeing it in person!

The last part of our trip took us to a Game Reserve where we got the full safari experience. Lions, elephants and rhinos…oh my! The majestic beauty of these animals roaming freely was thrilling, albeit a bit scary when a rhino ventured only inches away from us.

 

Stay tuned for the finished videos in the next weeks!

 

HOH_PIONEER-5322Aerial view of Head Over Hills, situated on the jagged edge of the famous rocky cliffs of the Knysna Heads, with a view of the lagoon in the distance.

 

HOH_PIONEER_4508Breathtaking sunset as seen on a screen grab from a time-lapse, as you can imagine we were pretty glad we left the camera rolling that evening!

 

 

golfMartin showcasing the beautiful Pezula golf course in Knysna, and the swing that confirms why he was a pro!

 

 

HOH_PIONEER-4105It’s a pretty safe bet to say that this is the best seat in the house!

 

 

grapesBen capturing the grapes that produce the world-renowned wines of Cape Town’s Stellenbosch vineyards.

 

katinaKatina snapping some pictures of Head Over Hills from the lookout point, about as close to the cliff as you want to get!

 

 

HOH_PIONEER-8472Elephant posing for us while on Safari in South Africa, showcasing its majestic trunk.

 

ben and lionsOn our first evening at the Game Reserve, we were lucky to meet a lion and his two cubs, check out the footage captured on the viewfinder.

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A closer image of the lion, staring us down and making it clear who the boss is around there.

 

Fortress of the Bear

We just returned from our second shoot for the Tongass Wilderness Film and this one was all about bears!  We traveled by floatplane from Juneau to an area called Kootznoowoo (meaning Bear Fortress).  This island has one of the highest densities of brown bears on the planet!!!  Almost the entire island is preserved as federally designated Wilderness and here are some screen grabs showing it off!   Hope everyone enjoys these and more soon as we continue to three more remote locations in the Tonagss National Forest of SE Alaska.

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Looking down on Admiralty Island Monument (Kootznoowoo Wilderness)

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Two young bears greet for the first time in a few days.

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Play time!  Bears even kiss…

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We got a glimpse of a rare albino brown bear cub encountering a large male boar.

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Bald eagle enjoys the remains from a bear’s harvest.

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Cub cooling off.

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Lunge feeding in a large pool of pink salmon.

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Success!

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Cubs share in a fresh catch.

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The Tongass is part of the last and largest remaining temperate rainforest on the planet.  Some of these trees have been around for hundreds of years.

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Don MacDougall led us through the forest to this epic tree.

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Mother watching over her cubs.

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Young cub following in the sedges.

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While the other bears fished in the stream, this boar swam directly off shore into the ocean to get a fresh salmon.

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Juvenile bear swimming in a deep pool.

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Large boar munches on rotten salmon… lazy bum.

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One thing I love most about SE Alaska is the wild edibles and these salmon berries were ripe and ready for picking.

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Filming bears.

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Thats not a lens…this is a lens…

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The Crew! Ben, Justin, and Jane!

Into the Wild(erness)

The next month is going to be incredible.  I am excited to announce that production has started on a documentary film celebrating WILDERNESS in the Tongass National Forest.  I will get a full page online for the project in the next few weeks but here are some quick screen grabs from my camera from our first trip!  I am off to film bears today and will check in in a week or so.

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Alaskan Vacation

After six years working in Alaska I finally took a 10 day vacation and traveled up to Seward and Denali for some paddle boarding, kayaking, and backpacking.  It was an amazing adventure and I was able to see and explore some of the most incredible places on earth.  Now it is time to get back to work but hope everyone enjoys the snaps from the trip!

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Flying over the Tongass National Forest in SE Alaska.

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Reflecting lake on the drive to Seward from Anchorage.

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Not a bad day for a paddle in the ice.

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Ice wave – Bear Glacier Lagoon.

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Iceberg melting on a hot day.

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Katina ready for an adventure kayaking in Kenai Fjords.

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Aialik Glacier

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Taking in the view!

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Sea lion and bird sanctuary off the coast of the Kenai.

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Wildflowers in polychrome basin – Denali National Park.

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View down on the Toklat River.

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Taking a moment to enjoy the view before we worked down a narrow ridge.

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Alaskan weather…rain, sun, fog, mist, wind…

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I have never been anywhere that rivals the scale of the landscapes in Denali – truly spectacular.

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Midnight on the Toklat.

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Mt. McKinley gives us a brief glimpse of her base before fading back behind clouds.

Learning to Spawn?

Today was a day filled with filming!  It started with the grand opening of the new salmon exhibit at the Sitka Sound Science Center which was awesome.

After the opening, kids were invited to partake in the “Salmon Olympics” which entailed:

1. Sprint and grab nets

2. Scoop up two of the same color water balloons (same salmon specie) but one has to have water (male) and the other one has to have water and beans (aka, eggs).

3. Pop the two water balloons into a sanitized bucket and mix (aka make babies)

4. Sprint to an incubator and pour the mixture in

Science Center Kids - Chaos - Alexander Crook (1 of 3)

Teaching the game

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Running away from super intense kids!

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Judging by her face, this game was life and death…

Photos by Alex Crook

Update from Sitka

Well it has been almost a year since I updated the blog so I wanted to start off strong with a series of screen shots from footage I have been filming here over the past few weeks.  I am shooting a number of different projects in Alaska this summer (3 tourism videos, 3 public service announcements, an 8 minute promotional video about Sitka and Salmon, and a documentary film about wilderness in Alaska.)  I am going to be sharing a lot of media over the next few weeks and look forward to posting some great stuff soon.  Below is just a taste of Sitka so far!

Sunset Magic Island

Sunset from Magic Island

Fireworks over Sitka

Fireworks on 4th of JULY!

First Fireworks of the Nigh

4th of July Parade

4th of July Parade

AMERICA

AMERICA!!!!

Fishing Boat at Sunset

A fishing boat returns at Sunset

Fire Clouds

Firesky

Sunset over the Harbor

Sunsets in Alaska are pretty amazing!

***No Color correction on any of these photos (screengrabs directy from the video!)

Gateway to the Tongass

Almost immediately after arriving in Sitka I had the amazing opportunity to go hike and film on Kruzof Island near Sitka.  Kruzof is home to a dormant volcano and is a world class destination for hiking and camping.

I am producing and shooting a film for the Sitka Conservation Society to promote Sitka as a gateway to the Tonagss National Forest and this place is one of the most incredible and accessible destinations around.   Below is a teaser screenshot from the film (COMING SOON!) and following are some fun production photos by the talented Alex Crook.

Teaser

Teaser Screenshot from the Commercial!

Leaving Sitka

Headed out from Sitka

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Captain Ryan Kauffman

Gearing up for the trip

Prepping gear on the Boat

Shirtless filming...it was hot

80 Degrees in Sitka?

80 Degrees in SITKA?

Pushing for Crater Ridge!

Getting some throws in

Alpine Throw Session! Not sure it gets better than this…

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Gleb dumping his head in mud for a portrait

Edgecumb in the Background

Edgecumb in the Background

Fun with the new Setup

Macro eye shots!

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The Team

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Let there be FIRE!

Textures!

Filming Textures of the Muskeg

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Heading Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOOSE!

I have spent six summers filming in SE Alaska, but this summer started off different with a one week shoot filming MOOSE for National Geographic Television in Anchorage.  Moose are incredibly powerful animals and I spent the week tracking them throughout this urban jungle.  This time of year moose have calves and they must learn to navigate neighborhoods and highways to survive.  Below are a few pics from the shoot but stay posted for showtimes and more urban wildlife!

Mother and Calf

Filming a mother and calf

Meta Moose?

Meta…Moose

Black Bears

Black Bears in a Backyard

Slider in Anchorage

Slider over some ducks

Sleeping Calves

Calves Sleeping in a Backyard

Nursing in a Backyard?

Nursing!

Recess for the Moose

Moose Recess?

Slider in the Sewer

Getting dirty!

Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun in Anchorage

The Narrows – Texas Land Conservancy

In May I had the incredible opportunity to film again for the Texas Land Conservancy.  Check out the first video I did for them here:  Protecting the Nature of Texas

This year we decided to do a one minute point of view film that would highlight some of the best areas that TLC has conserved.  The Narrows was one of the top places I had the privilege to visit and below are some photos that show off its beauty.  Photos by Nicole Mlakar and Will Mederski (and myself).

Video will be released in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

 

Prepping the shoot

Gearing up for the Hike in

Photo by Nicole Mlakar

Looking as ridiculous as possible (camo hip-pack, Gopro headmount…)

 

Photo by Nicole Mlakar

Reflections in the blue pools

Pristine Pool

Ferns in the Canyon

Nice shot eh?

I liked the shot, how about you?

Photo by Nicole Mlakar

The First Jump!

Photo by Nicole Mlakar

GOING PRO!!!

 

The Narrows - Filming

 

The Crew!

The Crew

***For those who are curious, this is a private property and is not open to the public.  These land owners are working to preserve their land through easements to help ensure that the Hill Country and other areas in Texas remain wild and healthy.