The Search For The Coastal Wolf

Bertie Gregory

Author: Bertie Gregory

Published 25th April 2016

by Bertie Gregory Issue 112 - April 2016

Bertie Gregory, 2012 Youth Outdoor Photographer Of The Year and 2015 Scientific Exploration Society Zenith Explorer, is a professional wildlife photographer, filmmaker and presenter whose first solo assignment for National Geographic will debut in Spring 2016 on their new online platform.

This 24 part series, shot in 4k using Canon lenses all supported by the Sachtler V18, follows Gregory on a wildlife adventure where he tracks down and seeks to film 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 oceans - they scavenge washed up whales, they eat salmon and muscles."Whether Gregory actually captured the coastal wolf in all its glory during this three-month shoot, he\'s not telling; you\'ll have to watch the series to find out.

He does share however that during this adventure, he encounters many coastal predators in their natural habit and, as a professional formally trained in Zoology, knew how to behave in that habitat to capture those rare occasions on camera. One of the first things we wanted to do with the series was to produce a Man with Nature Series rather than a Man versus Nature series with the idea that nature is meant to be revered rather than conquered.\'

For Gregory, it\'s important to be able to get close to his subjects and move quickly with equipment he can trust in extreme environments and weather conditions. For him, the Canon cannon lenses and Sachtler V18 Fluid Head fit the bill perfectly.

\'For the last year and a half, I\'ve been using the Sachtler V18. I\'ve taken it in little boats, big boats, I\'ve put it in salt water to get water level shots, had it in rivers, and carried it 20 kilometers in a day. I take it onto beaches, full of sand. I\'ve had tripods in the past where you take it on a beach, and it\'s windy, and the whole thing just fills up with sand, and you have to take it apart to clean it. I don\'t know what Sachtler\'s done, but whatever they\'ve done it\'s genius because it doesn\'t get filled up with sand.\'

Gregory, along with his assistant spent three weeks living off the land on a remote island accessible only by floatplane. With unpredictable tides, landscape and weather conditions in this uninhabited temperate rainforest, Gregory had to be very particular about both his survival equipment and shooting gear. To get the cinematic shot, he relied on the Canon 200-400mm and Sachtler V18 to provide all the functionality he needed in a lightweight form factor to carry around.

I like the Lens Cannon 200-400, it is pretty light and pretty small for what it can do. You actually have a range from 200mm to 560mm. Most of the time I was shooting from the video tripod and the Sachtler 18 was fundamental to getting silky smooth wildlife shots. It works because it allows you follow the action in frame keeping it nice and smooth because the moment you have a wobble in your shot, it breaks the magic.\'

Today, you can find Gregory in Holland shooting a new wildlife cinema film titled,\'De Wilde Stad\' which translates into\'The Wild City\'. Produced by EMF films, this project is very much in line with his fascination with urban wildlife.

Lots of people think you have to go to the wildest corners of the planet to have great wildlife experiences; this film shows 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 communicate the link between human wellbeing and habitat restoration and be seen as an ambassador for natural reverence. For more information about Bertie Gregory and his projects, visit


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