1920’s EARLY AFRICAN MOVIES CONT. : DUGMORE’S ADVICE FOR FILMING WILDLIFE (PART 1)
Pioneer wildlife photographer, Arthur Radclyffe Dugmore, documented his expedition filming elephants in his book, THE WONDERLAND OF BIG GAME (1925). And a would-be photographer such as Jade del Cameron or motion picture photographer such as Sam Featherstone might have asked him for advice as did Martin Johnson before he and his wife, Osa, set out to photograph elephants.
Dugmore offered advice on cameras (see last week’s blog) as well as how to hide to photograph the animals. He lists three “principal methods: stalking, working from a ‘blind’ or hiding place, and flash-light.” In his opinion, working from the blind was the “most satisfactory.”
As to stalking, he says it is easy if one is armed with a rifle, but much more difficult when one is “armed with a hand camera.” This is because the stalker has to approach to a much closer range and, with a sixty pound cinema outfit and difficult brush, the animal would likely see or hear the photographer before they could get in range to film. Add to this the necessity of being up wind. It helps if the tripod is partially camouflaged with tufts of grass or branches.
When one finally finds an animal, Dugmore cautions that no movement can be made when the animal is looking up. One must wait until they have their heads down feeding before you move. This is easier said than done. An animal may watch you for several minutes before deciding you were harmless. In the meantime, hundreds of flies and mosquitoes have found you.
All quotes are from A. R. Dugmore, Wonderland of Big Game, 1925.
Next week: Dugmore’s advice on hiding and filming part 2.
NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda