The name Sir David Attenborough is synonymous with the world of wildlife, and for more than six decades the veteran naturalist has been bringing the wonders of nature into the homes and hearts of the masses – many of whom may never have the opportunity to experience it in real life. An inimitable force of nature himself, he has inspired millions to join him along the way on his cross-generational campaign for the conservation of the planet's vulnerable and endangered species.
Blue Planet II Breaks New Ground
Sir David Attenborough's latest documentary series, Blue Planet II, is (as ever) ground breaking; not just for the unprecedented access it provides into the secret life of some of the world's most fascinating marine species, but for the way in which it does it. The Blue Planet II team made use of the latest state-of-the-art technology to capture footage of wildlife in the most startling and vivid detail ever seen on screen.
Up Close and Personal with a Walrus
One of the most memorable episodes in the series is when Sir David Attenborough and his production team travel to a region further north than any film crew had ever been. The team went with the hopes of capturing close-up shots of female walruses with their cubs, but the extremely protective nature of the mothers made the task both challenging and dangerous in the harsh, dynamic Arctic environment.
In this expedition of firsts, the team deployed an innovative piece of camera equipment called the Megadome, which has a super wide-angle housing affording it the capability to simultaneously capture the field of view both above and below the water line. The rig required to deploy the Megadome weighs around 50kg and it took the efforts of three people just to get it into the water.
The surreal cinematic footage of two adult walruses sitting on top of an iceberg was the first successful shoot using the hi-tech UHD Megadome, and showed an iceberg in its entirety (both above and below the water) for the first time ever. Another outstanding sequence captured the intimacy between a mother walrus and her pup as they rest on a chunk of sea ice. In contrast with their ferocious appearance and behaviour, the footage reveals the female walrus to be one of the most affectionate and nurturing mothers in the natural world.
Experience Our Blue Planet for Yourself on a Wildlife Cruise
While Sir David Attenborough and the Blue Planet II team's innovative filming techniques have allowed us to see wildlife in our homes in a way previously unheard of, for anyone with a passion for the natural world, there's still no substitute for the real thing. A dedicated wildlife cruise provides unparalleled access to parts of the world many people only ever get to see in books or on film. Wildlife cruise itineraries take in everywhere from the dramatic wilderness of the Antarctic or the Galapagos Islands, to the exotic unspoilt beauty of places like north-eastern India, the Maldives and Australia and New Zealand. For the lucky ones, a wildlife cruise is often the culmination of a lifelong dream – for everyone else, there's Blue Planet II.
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer with a special interest in marine species. For nature lovers interested in dedicated wildlife cruise itineraries, Marissa recommends the tours organised by Naturetrek, which have brought her unforgettable sightings of a wide range of species in one of the most spectacular regions on Earth.