Monday, November 24, 2014

South Georgia's King Penguins

Glen Milner gets up close and personal with the king penguins of South Georgia

11 Sep 2014

Glen Milner, 31, has been a documentary filmmaker for nearly a decade, covering a range of stories from drug cartels in Mexico to the lives of inuits dealing with climate change in the Arctic. He recently returned from a video assignment in South Georgia, capturing the island’s dramatic landscape and wildlife.
According to Milner, “The first thing that really hits you about South Georgia is the cinematic beauty of the place. When our expedition boat, the Polar Pioneer, anchored in King Haakon bay, we were faced with panoramic views of glaciers, snow-capped mountain ranges and moss-carpeted hills. It had the feeling of a feature-film location that would be chosen for having a uniquely diverse landscape, which seems somewhat at odds with the extreme weather conditions. It felt like a fictional fantasy world.”

Glen Milner recently returned from South Georgia (Photo: Glen Milner)
Were there any challenges in getting up-close to animals that make South Georgia their home? “Being confronted by the odd bad tempered seal was the trickiest challenge for me, really. You can prepare yourself for working in the freezing temperatures of the Antarctic region but when you get the camera set-up and a male elephant seal comes into frame hurtling towards you, it can be a bit unnerving. They can launch out of the sea from nowhere and move really quickly for such big animals but most of the younger ones are pretty friendly and inquisitive animals.”

It is home to a huge colony of king penguins (Photo: Glen Milner)
It’s the encounters with bird life that will stay with him though: “Landing on Salisbury Plain on the north coast was a truly unique experience. It has one of the largest king penguin colonies in the world and you feel like you’ve stumbled across the world’s entire population of these birds. Thousands of them reach as far as the eye can see to a point where they become little white dots far-off in the distance. When you lie down with your camera and keep still they happily approach you to poke and prod in order to try figure out what you are. It’s a strange sensation but also one you don’t forget.”

"It felt like a fictional fantasy world" (Photo: Glen Milner)

His next projects couldn’t provide more of a contrast. “The next few things I have coming out soon include two shorts for Channel 4, one on a blind lady that goes to every Leeds United match with her teenage son and the other capturing one of the oldest married couples in the world - an Indian family based in Bradford. It’s not all penguins in South Georgia!”

"They happily approach you to poke and prod in order to try figure out what you are" (Photo: Glen Milner)


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