As the old adage goes: “never work with children or animals.” It’s a phrase meant to indicate the unpredictable nature of toddlers and wildlife which – however delightful – aren’t always the most cooperative colleagues. While many of us would revel in the sort of Disney’s Snow White scene that sees wildlife flocking to you when shooting on location as a photographer or videographer, the curiosity of wild animals can be something of an obstacle.
In what can only be considered a gift to the Twittersphere, Joaquin Campa recently blessed his timeline with a 40-strong thread of “animals interrupting wildlife photographers.” Featuring animals from all over the globe, including meerkats, seals, and penguins, the thread is a soothing brain balm for doomscrollers everywhere. Some shots are reminiscent of Naruto the crested macaque, whose “selfie” became the focus of a years-long legal battle between the photographer David Slater and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who were arguing that since Naruto took the photo, the image couldn’t be copyrighted by Slater. The unusual case culminated in a settlement, in which Slater agreed to give 25% of profits from Naruto’s selfie to groups that protect crested macaques and their habitat in Indonesia.
But anyway, enough legal talk. Here are a few of our favorites from Campa’s thread.
You look fantastic, Mr Fox.
Who needs a weighted anxiety blanket when you have a literal seal on your back?
I would pay good money to watch a documentary made entirely by penguins.
Some monkeys are actually capable of bartering to give your stolen stuff back.
DAM you look good (sorry not sorry).
Imagine the condensation on this.
Nothing worse than a backseat photographer.
Your chances of being papped by a monkey are slim, but never none.
Blue-chip documentaries featuring David Attenborough have in recent years turned the camera on their crew, revealing the bizarre, impressive, and sometimes dangerous lengths photographers and videographers must stretch to in order to capture the once-in-a-lifetime shots that make up the award-winning series. Attenborough’s most recent series with the BBC, A Perfect Planet, is a fine example of the grueling efforts made possible by hardy camera operators and the assistance and knowledge of local residents.
One such example is the first episode of the series, Volcano, which featured the charismatic flamingos of Lake Natron. The species of interest in this sequence were unfortunately surrounded by caustic soda flats which required a hovercraft to navigate, the skirt of which (that’s integral to its function) was repeatedly shredded by the razor-sharp terrain. Fortunately for the crew, the Maasai tribe of Lake Natron are highly skilled in multiple crafts including stitching, and with their generous support, the team were able to get their craft back on the flats ready to be torn up all over again.
Wildlife photography and videography is undoubtedly a career that will take you to places that other people might never see, but that doesn’t mean it’s always enjoyable. In a press release about the series, camera operator Matt Aeberhard said, “I’ve had many months of experience on the flats [at Lake Natron] during filming operations. Even so, even taking all the precautions and following strict protocols, we had several moments on the salt that were very difficult. Engine failures are not fun. Physically sucking fuel through blocked filters to open up lines to the engine isn’t fun.
“On one excursion, we came extremely close to being caught out on the flat which would have meant helicopter rescue and craft abandonment. But I managed to clear the craft onto free water from a salt area, and then had to physically power the forward movement of the machine myself by dropping into the lake and kicking through the water and mud, really not fun...”
I guess there are worse things to face than a macaque stealing your camera.