Tam's Tall Tales

- Attenborough in Wild Goose Chase

Attenborough in Wild Goose Chase

Sir David Attenborough, the veteran wildlife documentary maker, has been filming in Loch Lomond capturing footage of geese which will be used in a 3D series "Conquest Of The Skies" on the evolution of flight to be shown on Sky 3D and 2D. Attenborough has no plans to retire any time soon and says “I’m having too much fun and I’m just delighted to go on doing things till they stop wanting me to do them. I enjoy it.” The graphic here of Sir David is by Klaus Müller, via Wikimedia Commons

Attenborough has spent 60 years travelling the world to capture the marvels of nature for TV viewers. In the early days, his crews used tiny spring-wound cameras which could only shoot 160 seconds of footage at a time.

These days, incredibly sophisticated digital 3D cameras and other technological advances can offer stunning new angles and insights into the world. Using the latest hi-tech filming methods they will show a menagerie of insects, birds and mammals flying in spectacular slow motion so viewers can see precisely how their wings work. Other scenes include seeing starlings in Rome flying in organised swarms to avoid hungry peregrine falcons, how common flies fly like fighter planes to avoid fly swatters, and seeing how hummingbirds fly sideways. Attenborough’s favourite sequence captured on film is of a dragonfly in flight. “I’m hooked on dragonflies,” he says. “They are 300 million years old – the earliest fossils of anything that flies."

His passion for the job is as strong today as it was when it all began in the rainforests of Sierra Leone all those years ago. On Loch Lomond he was filmed zooming along on a speedboat trying to keep up with geese flying alongside.

Sir David, who is 88 years young, seems to have no intention of retiring. "Obviously when you see something for the first time, it's full of excitement for things that are new. And when you have seen it four or five times, you look at it differently. But it's still a great pleasure to do it."

There is an advertising preview of Sir David's new TV series on YouTube.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2014

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