A day after graduating from the University of Bristol (UK) with a degree in Zoology, the 22 year old was more than happy to travel the world with National Geographic photography veteran Steve Winter for an adventure of a lifetime.
From filming the elusive jungle cat in the jungles of Sri Lanka to capturing the beauty of a city dwelling leopard in the dusty streets of Mumbai, the young professional wildlife photographer and filmmaker Bertie Gregory has faced his fair share of challenges since being recruited by National Geographic back in 2014.
As the 2012 Youth Outdoor Photographer Of The Year and 2015 Scientific Exploration Society Zenith Explorer, Gregory not only got the shot when it mattered most, he also impressed those at the prestigious society enough to earn his first solo assignment which debuted in April 2016. The assignment, a 24 part series shot in 4K with the Sony FS7 using Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lenses, all supported by the Sachtler Video 18 – follows Gregory on a three-month wildlife adventure where he tracks down the elusive coastal wolf on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada.
“When people think of wolves, they think of animals in snowy mountains, hunting deer and elk. These wolves are different; they live on the beach and get 90% of their diet from the ocean, scavenging washed up whales and eating salmon and muscles,” said Gregory.
The University of Bristol graduate was able to comfortably maneuver around the natural habits of multiple coastal predators and capture those rare occasions on camera.
“One of the first things we wanted to do was produce a ‘Man with Nature’ series, rather than a ‘Man versus Nature’ series, based on this idea that nature is meant to be revered rather than conquered.”
With unpredictable tides, landscape, and weather conditions in this uninhabited, temperate rainforest, Gregory was very selective about both his survival equipment and shooting gear. To get cinematic shots, he relied on the Canon 200-400mm and Sachtler V18 to provide all the lightweight, robust functionality he needed.
“I like the Canon Lens – it’s pretty light and small for what it can do. And for the last year and a half, I’ve been using the Sachtler V18. I’ve taken it in little boats and big boats, put it in salt water and sand to get water level shots, had it in rivers and carried it 30 kilometers a day for ten days. In the past, I’ve had tripods where you take it on a windy beach, the whole thing just fills up with sand, and then I have to take it apart to clean it. I don’t know what Sachtler’s done with their gear, but whatever it is, it’s genius because I never have to worry about doing that.”
For Gregory, it’s also important to get close shots of his subjects and move quickly with equipment he can trust in extreme environments and weather conditions. In this case, the Canon lenses and Sachtler Video 18 fluid head fit the bill perfectly.
“The lenses are great because you actually have a range from 200mil to 560mil. Most of the time, I was shooting from the video tripod so the V18 was fundamental to getting silky smooth wildlife shots. It works because you can follow the action in frame while keeping it nice and steady. The moment you have a wobble in your shot, it breaks the magic.”
Today, you can find Gregory in Holland shooting a new wildlife film titled De Wilde Stad, which translates to The Wild City. Produced by EMF films, this project is very much in line with his fascination of urban wildlife.
“Lots of people think you have to go to the farthest corners of the planet to have great wildlife experiences. This film will prove you can have awesome wildlife experiences no matter where you live.”
Through his work and as one of the 2020VISION Young Champions, Gregory hopes to highlight the bond between human wellbeing and habitat restoration and to be seen as an ambassador for natural reverence.
For more information about Bertie Gregory and his projects, visit http://www.bertiegregory.com or visit www.Sachter.com.