Sunday, May 22, 2016

Close Encounters

I spent an amazing day at Glen Afric in South Africa, filming a new video for The Biblical Museum of Natural History. This was definitely the most dangerous shoot I have ever done!

First was Monty the lion. Now, I had filmed with him three years ago, for the video that we show at the museum. However, three years on, he was MUCH bigger, and vastly more dangerous. The trainers weren't even sure if we could do the shoot at all. Finally we worked out the safety procedures. Firstly, of course, there would be plenty of handlers around, with pepper spray and guns. The videographer, as usual, would be safely protected inside a cage within the enclosure, along with my good friend Jake Shepherd holding up my lines. Then, just to the side of what the camera could see, another cage was set up, with a person inside who would yank me in if things went south. After a safety rehearsal, the lion was released! He was clearly a much more powerful and dangerous animal than when I had last seen him, as you can see in this photo, when he got angry! (You can click on all the photos to enlarge them)


Then came the shoot with a beautiful leopard, Selati. She seemed mildly interested in The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom.


Although much smaller than the lion, Selati was still a highly dangerous animal, it was quite disconcerting when she suddenly strode up to me:


Then it was time to film with the cheetahs. Cheetahs are less dangerous than leopards, but can still be unnerving:



Finally the cheetah settled down and I got to have a good cuddle!


There was also an elephant that sort-of charged us, which we got on video, but it will take me a while to upload that. Fun!

10 comments:

  1. How much did the elephant sort-of chargge you? ;-)

    Catriel Lev, RBS-Alef

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  2. Is it really fair to the Monty to make him do a shoot where when he just does what comes instinctually causes him to risk being pepper sprayed or hurt?
    Wouldn't it be better to film it with a more docile lion, if such exists?

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    Replies
    1. Not to be negative, but I thought the same. If the photo shoot puts the animal's life in danger (kal v'chomer yours!) perhaps it is worth a second thought. But the photos are beautiful and it looks like a wonderful experience, if a bit harrowing

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  3. Have you considered photoshop and/or CGI? Just a suggestion.

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  4. I think I will stick with our ten domestic cats. ;)

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  5. the lion: are you nuts??????????!!!!!

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  6. I call for a caption contest

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  7. Too bad he didn't pull a Christian the Lion and lick your all over like he was greeting a long-lost friend.

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    Replies
    1. You don't want a lion to lick you. Like all cats, their tongues are very rough (they clean and groom their fur with them). Unlike small cats, a lion's tongue is very rough and very powerful - a lick could remove skin from your bones!

      See also http://blog.wildlife-pictures-online.com/lion-and-big-cats/the-lions-tongue/

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  8. your passion and pseudo-safety measures notwithstanding, why would you be men-aseh haShem before the arrival of the Navie's description of Messianic times?......
    Eli K

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