Cuckoo egg predation

This is my all time favourite shot. It would not have been possible without the help of an expert, here, Oxford cuckoo guru Mike Bayliss. The aim was to film a cuckoo laying in a reed warbler's nest, and several times we had come very close. After many hours in the hide I heard this female land heavily in the reeds to the right of the nest - I can still hardly believe it happened.

Cuckoo egg predation

Komodo dragon

This type of filming has been about 80% of my work these last couple of years...presenter led programmes with a good percentage of wildlife filming. Gavin Thurston was on RInca Island 2 weeks before the rest of the crew getting the 'meatier' sequences.

Komodo dragon

Talk of the Town

There were two of us working on this one, the other cameraman being Keith Brust. Filming often brings with it privileged access, and this was one of those times. I spent many days on my own on the Vermejo Ranch in New Mexico, ticking off shots from the list. Other times I was with a crew and a team of scientists trying to unravel the mysterious language of prairie dogs.

Talk of the Town

Seasons – Alan Titchmarsh

Autumn and the Wye Valley makes for a wondrous combination. The locations here are just a few miles up the road from our house. We can't take the credit for nice light and conditions, but you can make your own luck by being out there early as often as you can in the best locations.

Seasons – Alan Titchmarsh

Camargue flamingoes

Not being very big can be a massive advantage sometimes. Imagine a small rowing boat with a wooden hide on board and a small slit to poke the lens through. Then knock out the bottom of the stern of the boat. Cram yourself inside with a tripod and start walking slowly towards the flamingos whilst occasionally vanishing into holes in the bottom of the lagoon. I love this job.

Camargue flamingoes

Harvest mice

Over the years I have done quite a lot of set filming. In all honesty I find it quite stressful, as the priority has to be the well-being of the animals. In any case, if they're not relaxed they're not going to behave naturally. These little chaps were on loan from a research project. We were always hoping that they would breed while in our care, but they never did.

Harvest mice

Wildlife Cameraman Blog Snippets

Iolo Williams – M4 relief road will plough across Gwent Levels

Iolo Williams – M4 relief road will plough across Gwent Levels

Iolo Williams – M4 relief road will plough across Gwent Levels.  For several years the Welsh Government has threatened to drive a new motorway through the Gwent Levels.  It’s the sort of thing that governments do.  Perhaps they think that they will leave a legacy of some sort.  They give little consideration to clean air and can only think in terms of growth, building and destruction.

For more information about nature conservation in Gwent take a look at the GWT website.

The Video

Making videos like this is something I encourage anyone involved in wildlife television to do.  Anyone can do this, not just wildlife cameramen.  Iolo volunteered his time to do this and so did my wife and I.  It’s a simple video delivered with the passion and common sense that we’ve come to expect of Iolo.  I count myself lucky to work with him as wildlife cameraman on many television projects.

The Threats

Iolo Williams - M4 relief road will plough across Gwent Levels
Water vole on the Gwent Levels

There are so many threats to our environment that it can feel overwhelming.  Politicians do not think far enough ahead.  What will it be like to live in this area of South East Wales if they have their way.  Apart from the environmental destruction the road will cost more than our little country can possibly afford.  Predictions tell us that traffic will reduce in the years to come, so where is the sense in a completely new road.

Future Generations

Soon the Gwent Wildlife Trust will release a video of children talking about the proposed relief motorway. I feel privileged to have worked on this video.  Soon you can see it here.  With any luck you will see it everywhere.  Young people shouldn’t have to look forward to a land of roads, trading estates, tightly packed housing and air that’s unfit to breathe.  The Welsh Government needs to wake up and introduce a bit of imagination into its thinking.  You cannot build yourself out of everything – eventually you will build yourself into a corner you cannot escape from.

Great Welsh Parks Margam Park

Great Welsh Parks Margam Park Great Welsh Parks Margam Park was broadcast on Monday night,  BBC One Wales.  You can catch up with it here on BBC iPlayer.  Memories of being a wildlife cameraman usually revolve around the difficulties and circumstances of capturing a particular sequence. However, at Margam, I don’t think any of the… Continue Reading

Graham Horder - wildlife cameraman

I'm a freelance documentary and wildlife cameraman, wildlife photographer with a track record for filming blue-chip natural history and presenter and contributor led documentaries for the BBC, ITV and other major television channels. Most of the time I film TV programmes with natural history as the subject matter, but I happily film sport, music videos, drama and other types of television documentary.

It is slightly inaccurate to say 'wildlife photography' as a description for 'wildlife filming', but all wildlife cinematographers become used to the alternative title. Being a wildlife cameraman is very different to taking still photographs, though the principles of getting close to wild behaviour and respecting the subject are exactly the same.

From the outside a career as a wildlife cameraman looks like a very attractive way to live. It is, but it doesn't suit everyone. For young people, take advice from someone who is doing it, then see if you can assist them in any way. You will have to persevere... and persevere.

Filming wildlife is something that I love. Like many colleagues I'd happily do it for nothing... and sometimes I do. Many of us would continue to film wildlife as a hobby if it were not our profession.

This article by Matt Hamilton is a really great description of a part of a filming trip we went on last year.