Chasing bears and making movies

Wildlife videographer shares experiences with ASU

By Jeremiah Devereaux
On November 8, 2019

 Photo by Ian Saint: Skip Hobbie, wild­life videographer, presented his current works and sneak peeks of future projects. During his presentation he spoke of close calls, greatest moments, and what it takes to make it in the world of wildlife videography.

The ASU biology depart­ment on Nov. 1 hosted a special presentation by award-winning wildlife videographer Skip Hobbie in Room 100 of the Cavness Sci­ence Building.

In his presentation titled “Filming in the Wild,” Hobbie discussed the obstacles he has en­countered while working in harsh conditions.

One challenge Hobbie faced while filming his documen­tary was creating an emotional connection with his audience by filming animals at a comfortable distance and getting special shots.

“My colleague and I filmed a bear only 10 meters away,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time talking to experts about bears learning how close is too close and their body language. If you got too close, they would let you know so we gave them their space and showed them respect. In re­turn, there would be days where the bears would let us follow them all day long, up and down the mountain slopes, sometimes hik­ing for 2 or 4 miles.”

While this meth­od worked in certain habitats, other challenges arose for Hobbie when at­tempting to film bears in the desert.

“In other habitats like the desert, bears are more skittish and won’t tolerate you being as close,” he said. “Trying to follow them wasn’t an option. We had to use dif­ferent techniques like so­phisticated camera traps.”

Hobbie said his next film will be titled “Deep in the Heart” and will highlight the wildlife in Texas.

“I have been so fortunate to travel all over the world with my job, and the more I’ve done that, the more I’ve realized Texas is this amazing, biologically di­verse place,” he said. “No one has hardly ever done any wildlife film­making here, so I want to share a lot of the great stuff we’ve got in Texas.”

Sophomore Conrado Jimenez was one of the approxi­mately 70 people in attendance for the presentation.

“I loved the quality of the images and the story it told,” Jimenez said. “It makes me curi­ous about what being a wildlife filmmaker is really like.”

At the end of the presen­tation, a raffle was drawn, and five contestants won prizes like T-shirts and stickers. Those in at­tendance also enjoyed snacks and beverages provided for them.

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