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Unsung Heroes in the Background of the Wildlife Canvas

This blog, which is Part 1 of a two-part series, pays tribute to the often unrecognized photographers and videographers worldwide who capture breathtaking pictures of wildlife. Next month, in Part 2, we pay homage to the incredible artists and taxidermists who create life-like murals and models in museums and zoos.


What does the title of this article mean? We will explain that in a moment, but first, let's go back in time.


The older generation among us will remember with awe and affection the famous American Walt Disney Studios, starting in 1948 and continuing through the 1960s, releasing innovative and breathtaking short and long movies on various wildlife and nature topics.

Beginning with “The Seal Island” in 1948, these delightful movies were part of Walt Disney’s famous “True-Life Adventures Series.” This series included such masterpieces as “The Living Desert,” “The Vanishing Prairie,” and “The African Lion,” among many others. The last movie in this series, released in 1960, was called “The Jungle Cat,” set in South America.

Through these movies, audiences worldwide glimpsed different types of wildlife for the first time, not only from North America but also from various parts of the world. These were trendsetting years in wildlife audio and video!


It was extremely difficult to photograph wild animals in their natural habitat in those days. First, nobody had undertaken such a task before, especially on such a vast scale. Second, the photographic equipment was very heavy and, therefore, extremely difficult to carry around. The staff and photographic crew had to face immense physical and mental hardships when embarking on tours of various distant, often unknown places. Many jungles in Africa and South America carried deadly insects and diseases. The photographic and video equipment were not as sophisticated as today, so the photographers had to invent innovative methods to combat difficulties.


As can be imagined, all the movies were great hits worldwide! The visual aspects, the color, everything was flawless. However, there was one thing missing: the audience never got to know the names of the people who took the pictures! Even in the introduction section of the movies, there would be no mention of the actual photographers' names, which still happens today.


But we have come a long way from Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures Series. Audio and video technology are ever improving with the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 



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Even when the well-known British broadcaster, biologist, natural historian, and writer Sir David Attenborough introduces his latest wildlife documentary, his immensely talented group of photographers and videographers are busy translating his ideas into a supreme canvas of mindboggling digital art.

There are a plethora of individuals today who are extremely passionate and adventurous about wildlife and nature photography. Armed with sophisticated, lightweight digital audio and video equipment, they venture far and wide across the globe—from scorching hot deserts to freezing tundra, into high altitudes in the sky to the lowest possible depths of the ocean, climbing the highest possible mountains of the world, and going close to dangerous animals and erupting volcanoes to take out-of-this-world pictures and videos. They share these with us so that we can enjoy them from the comfort of our cozy homes.


So, to these unsung heroes who are invisible behind their cameras and video equipment, ONE BIG HURRAH!


Scientists employ AI (Artificial Intelligence) techniques to the sound and video recorded by audio and videographers who take wildlife data. Then they are, for example, able to discern minute chainsaw sounds or faint gun shot sounds in the mix. From these findings they are able to pinpoint areas of illegal logging or poaching. AI also helps detect individual types of wildlife species more accurately, and even the type of animal sound or song or vocalization. 



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