Behind-the-scene notes from National Geographic expeditions


 
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In depth, exclusive, information about the shot of Tiger Shark filmed in Western Australia
Photograph of the equipment set up in Shark's Bay

Wind

For hunters—in this case, a film crew stalking sharks—the wind can be friend or foe. During the Shark Bay shoot, it was most definitely not friend.

High winds, rare for this time of year, often made it impossible to shoot. First, the wind could make handling the sharks too dangerous, given the small size of scientist Mike Heithaus’s boat. In a gale the boat would list harshly—risky at the best of times, infinitely more so when a 14-foot (four-meter)
shark is leashed to the side. Second, high winds stir up sediments and detritus, making it difficult to spot sharks, or anything else, for that matter.

For most of the weeklong topside shoot, a pesky 20-knot wind blew steadily across Shark Bay. The resulting downtime gave the crew a chance to
get caught up on some things. Batteries were recharged, rusty connections were resoldered, e-mail accounts were checked, telephone calls were made, filler shots (segues between scenes) were planned and filmed, passions for U.S.-rules football were tackled, flies were swatted, and iced coffees—lots of iced coffees—were consumed.

By the end of the week, though, even producer Greg Marshall, normally calm and collected, was visibly agitated by the wind’s persistence. “Even after the wind stops blowing,” he lamented, “it’s another two or three days before the visibility clears up enough to begin thinking about bringing the cameras into the water.”






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Photograph of the crew tending to a shark

Photograph of Marshall and Waymen working on a camera

Photograph of Buhleier checking her e-mail

Photograph of football on the beach

Photograph of a crew meeting

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