I'm excited to share the new documentary Giant Tree Hunters about the efforts to find and protect Canada's largest trees and grandest old-growth temperate rainforests on Vancouver Island! The film features the activities of Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners Ken Wu and myself; forest ecologists Dr. Andy MacKinnon and Dr. Sally Aitken of the BC Big Tree Registry; and tree climbers Matthew Beatty and Damien Carre of Expedition Old Growth. It was produced by Nootka St. Film Company for Telus Optik TV. Huge thanks to everyone who brought this project to life!
In his new 8 minute documentary titled No Degree of Scarcity, renowned US filmmaker Joe Callander highlights Big Lonely Doug and old-growth logging on Vancouver Island. Joe came to the island for a brief stint and followed myself and Ken Wu of the Ancient Forest Alliance through the clearcut around Big Lonely Doug by Edinburgh Mountain and to the Walbran Valley. He also spoke with Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce president Dan Hager about old-growth forests and the local economy. The video includes some of my photography and drone footage as well. Thanks to Joe for taking this time to cover this story. You can see more of his films here.
Here is the latest drone video that I filmed and produced with the Ancient Forest Alliance. It features the endangered ancient forests found at Echo Lake, which lies in the territory of the Sts'ailes First Nation band between Mission and Agassiz about 100 km east of Vancouver, BC. Since the introduction of HD video to DSLR cameras, photographers have increasingly become expected to produce video alongside stills. They really are two very separate things though that require you to think, frame, and shoot differently. Without formal training in film making, many of us photographers are having to learn on our own through searching the internet or asking our videographer friends for tips. This was the first video I've made that includes interviews with people and I've learned a lot through the process for next time. Many of the location visits that we do with AFA are shot under super tight timelines as well - usually a single afternoon visit - that involve running around the forest capturing photos, switching to handheld video for some clips on the fly, quickly flying our drone (DJI Phantom 3 Pro) for an aerial view, before speaking with someone about the issue and heading home! It makes for a challenging work environment to capture it all in one go on your own to say the least. I'm having a lot of fun flying the drone lately though and am excited to continue incorporating it into our conservation efforts. It's just a perfect fit! Hope you enjoy :)
Please take a second to send a letter to the BC government as well at: www.ProtectEchoLake.com
I recently had the pleasure of touring a journalist from Victoria's Shaw TV to both Big Lonely Doug and the spectacular, yet endangered Eden Grove right next door. Check out the two resulting news pieces below, which also feature some of my drone clips and new video from my trail camera of a black bear climbing a giant cedar tree!
Today I'm excited to have launched a new video which I filmed and edited featuring the Ancient Forest Alliance and Arboreal Collective's second climb up Big Lonely Doug, Canada's 2nd largest Douglas-fir tree! Doug has become the educational mascot of BC’s endangered old-growth forests - his massive size highlights their grandeur, while the dramatic contrast of the surrounding clearcut highlights the threat to them posed by industrial logging. The drone footage, captured using the DJI Phantom 3 Pro, of tree climbers (thanks to Matthew, Aaron, and Elliot!) in this sobering setting will help us raise the public awareness needed to pressure the BC government to protect what remains of the adjacent Eden Grove and endangered old-growth forests across British Columbia, and to ensure a sustainable second-growth forest industry instead.
- See and share the video with over 55,000 views on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/ancientforestalliance/videos/1094270450667541/
- See photos from the climb here: www.tjwatt.com/big-lonely-doug-2016/
- Global News: Drone video captures epic climb up Canada’s second-largest Douglas-fir
- CHEK TV: Spectacular video released of three climbers scaling one of the largest and most famous trees in Canada
- Times Colonist: From scientists to activists, everyone has eye in the sky
Earlier this week I toured the Port Renfrew region with CHEK News for a video about how old-growth forest tourism at the Avatar Grove, Big Lonely Doug, and other nearby ancient stands has transformed the local economy. Dan Hager, the Chamber of Commerce president, speaks up for a Tall Tree tourism economy, while Ken Wu and myself speak about the importance of saving the remaining old-growth forests. The news clip also features some of my drone footage from the Walbran Valley!
The story of how we're using drone technology to help raise awareness of endangered old-growth forests in the Central Walbran Valley landed on the front cover of The Province newspaper this week! You can read the full story featured on the inside page here: www.theprovince.com/technology/anti+logging+activists+using+drones+fight+information/11394855/story.html and watch the YouTube clip I filmed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyMPXHOjlK0
Earlier this year I picked up a DJI Phantom 2 drone to use with the Ancient Forest Alliance and our campaigns to protect endangered old-growth forests in BC. The Phantom allows us to explore and document areas that were essentially impossible to reach before. Now we can fly hundreds of meters over the tops of trees to examine new, at-risk areas or carefully work from the forest floor up to the canopy, showcasing the incredible beauty and complex structure of these ancient ecosystems. For me, it's the closest thing to a flying dream where you can float throughout the woods, going whichever way you may choose. However, flying the Phantom is a little more nerve-wracking ;) The Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal is paired with a GoPro Hero 4 Black to capture the best images possible. I'm still in the early stages of flying in this challenging environment but I'm confident the clips we gather will only improve with time and become evermore useful to the cause. So for now, check out the first video I've put together which highlights the imminently endangered Central Walbran Ancient Forest on Vancouver Island. *Be sure to watch at 1080p HD **Additional ground footage shot with the 5DMKII ***Read our detailed press release here.