Happy World Oceans Day
“FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES”
We had the privilege to catch a sneak preview of “Flight of the Butterflies” IMAX at Fernbank Museum of Natural History on Friday! Edmond was beyond excited because butterflies are his favorite!
This wonderful movie tells the story of Fred Urquhart, a scientist who worked for decades to discover the mystery of Monarch Butterflies and their migration. Fred and his wife Norah gathered a network of citizen scientist in the 1960s and 70s. They tagged and tracked butterflies from Canada to all over the United States and eventually to their migration home in Mexico.
The movie not only tells Fred Urquhart’s story, but it follows three generations of monarch butterflies in a year’s time. It is that third generation of butterfly that will make the journey from Canada to Mexico in one of nature’s longest migrations. Monarchs are just amazing!
Check out some of the fun facts we learned:
- Monarch Butterflies love milkweed, it is the only plant they’ll lay their eggs on.
- One female Monarch butterfly lays around 300 eggs.
- Monarch butterflies can fly up to one mile high.
These fun facts are just a few things we learned watching “Flight of the Butterflies”. This amazing story is told with beautiful visuals and of course a giant IMAX screen full of Monarch Butterflies is the icing on the cake! We highly recommend you take a trip over to Fernbank Museum of Natural History to check out this great movie! You can also learn more about monarch butterflies on the movie’s website!
Wow! Wow! Wow! On Saturday we went to catch the new IMAX movie “To the Arctic” from MacGillivray Freeman Films and narrated by Meryl Streep. It was an amazing and beautiful film all about the animals of the Arctic, in particular polar bears. The filmmakers were able to catch some amazing shots and stories on the ice and underwater. We highly recommend seeing it as soon as possible! We don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but just be ready for excitement! You can see it Fernbank Museum of Natural History in their fantastic IMAX theater, click here for show times! After seeing the movie, we had a chance to sit down with one of the amazing photographers from the movie, Florian Schultz. Here’s our interview with this fascinating photographer and explorer!
Us: We just loved the movie! Thank you so much for taking time to sit down with us.
How long were you in the Arctic?
Florian: I spent 4 months filming with the IMAX crew and have spent a total of 18 months in the Arctic over the past 10 years on several different exhibitions. I have been to Alaska, Canada and Norway.
*It took the film crew a total of 4 years to make “To the Arctic”, which is only about 45 minutes long. Whew, making an IMAX movie is a ton of work!
Us: Wow! That is a lot of time in the cold. What was the most amazing part of your trip with the IMAX crew?
Florian: While we were on the research boat, we found a mother polar bear and her two cubs that we followed for 5 days. It was summer and there was 24 hours of daylight, so it was like we got 10 days with her. She completed trusted us and we all felt like we had a connection with her and the cubs.
Us: That is so cool. We loved watching her and the cubs in the movie. What was the most difficult part of shooting the animals & scenery?
Florian: While we were camping, one person had to stay awake to watch for polar bears. You never have a safe point when both of you can sleep for a period of time. You can never relax and between having to melt snow for water and cooking food, photographing during good light and polar bear watching you start not getting any good sleep. You get so exhausted that you don’t care if a polar bear comes or not. From the film side, filming under the ice is difficult, because the water is 29 degrees and you have to bring the big camera housing through a small hole in the ice. You only get 3 minutes to film which also makes it difficult.
*Florian told us before the movie that the IMAX film and cameras can only record up to 3 minutes at time. You must change the film after those 3 minutes. The camera housing itself also weighs around 400 lbs! We thought that was fascinating.
Us: Wow, those conditions do make it difficult to work. How did you stay warm?
Florian: Layers are the key; you wear wool as the base, then fleece, then down and a windbreaker. If it’s really cold you wear another layer of down on top of that. You begin to feel a bit like a polar bear yourself.
Us: Haha, we bet you feel like a polar bear. It has to be hard to move in all those clothes. How do you keep batteries/cameras working in the frigid temperatures?
Florian: You have to imagine when you are out there that your cameras will freeze. But the big important part of that is that you cannot take the cameras inside the whole time, because condensation will build up on the lens and the housing and then you won’t be able to use it at all. I leave the camera outside, completely frozen the whole time. The only thing I keep near me are the batteries, so that they last longer. I use all Nikon cameras and they haven’t let me down.
Us: That is neat! Who knew frozen cameras worked! Were there any particularly dangerous incidents while you were shooting?
Florian: There were two times when a polar bear came close to our camp and he knew we were there. His eyes had a different expression and we had to fire a flare gun into the air. Then he came back and that was really scary. We had to shoot the flare gun again. And one of the other really scary things that happened was when I almost fell through the sea ice without a dry suit on. I was so focused on shooting pictures of these birds that I didn’t realize it how fragile the ice was. Later on I broke out in a cold sweat after I realized what a risk I took.
Us: Whew! Good thing that ice didn’t break! So what inspired you to become a wildlife photographer?
Florian: Nature and different environments are one of the greatest riches of this world. It’s so diverse and so wonderful and for me to be able to document it is one of the greatest gifts. There is so much to discover. When I was a teenager I started out with bird watching and with a telescope I would have best encounters with not just the birds, but other wildlife. I would tell people about it, but telling them didn’t quite describe it. So when I started taking pictures they got it. That is when I got more and more in to taking pictures.
Us: You have tons of passion for wildlife that is great! Wild animals are known to be difficult subjects to shoot, because they aren’t on your schedule. You have to have a ton of patience. What has been one of your most difficult shoots?
Florian: I spent 72 hours in a blind to shoot the snowy owls that are my book. (A blind is a cover or shelter that hides the photographer and his equipment.) It’s definitely a patience game because the sun wasn’t out or they weren’t turning their heads the right direction and that was really, really hard. Another thing that took a lot of patience was filming the big caribou herds, because it took 3 different expeditions to film them. On the first two trips I only saw one caribou and then on the third trip I finally saw the big herd and that was really rewarding. To be honest though I don’t get bored, because there is always something to discover, suddenly I see a bird’s nest or I hear the song of a bird and that intrigues me. And also I often have to make up the images in my mind first, so I spend time doing that. That gives that you that drive and energy to get the shot. You become more in tune and I love discovering things. The more you sit out in silence the more you learn and the more you discover.
Us: We love to sit and watch nature too, not sure that we could do it for 72 hours though. You’ve been all over the world, what has been your favorite place and where are you headed next?
Florian: I cannot pinpoint one place alone, for me whatever place is the most natural, the most intact is special. An ecosystem where all the different animals play together is where I feel at home. It seems like the world before we influenced it. Some of those places include the arctic or the rainforest of British Columbia, Canada where I watched spirit bears and whales, or it can be a desert where there are not so many animals, but all the animals that are there play together. I will go back to the Arctic one more time and then after that I will go to Baja California to start the Freedom to Roam project. You can check out his next project here!
Us: Your next project sounds so amazing! It is great that your images are also helping save animals and their habitats. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to us and share your great stories!
Don’t forget everyone- you can see “To the Arctic” at Fernbank now! You can also buy Florian’s book “To the Arctic”! We have it and it is full of even more amazing pictures and stories. If you like the “Welcome to the Arctic” Facebook page, you can get a discount on the book!
We’re wrapping up Rabbit Week with an interview with our pal Zack the Rabbit, who has an internet show called Cooks with Rabbits every Saturday! Let’s all sit down and get to know Zack and his pals!
E & E: Hi Zack! Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi, I’m Zackary Rabbit. I’m the chef on “Cooking with Rabbits – Rabbits are the CHEF; NOT the Meal!!” #cookinwifrabbits a twitter cooking show airing every saturday afternoon (3:30pmEDT).
I live with a bunch of stuffed bunnies on my Plushateer’s bed and take care of my Plushateer. We bunnies make short movies, take lots of funny pictures and I also draw a #webcomic called “It Must Be A Tuesday” that I post each Tuesday. In my spare time, I enjoy playing video games.
We like to make people laugh with our silly photos and just share our adventures with the rest of the anipal community.
E & E: Wow! All of those activities must keep you busy! That is so nice that you take care of your Plushateer and work so hard to make people laugh! How are old are you?
I’m going to be 12 in April this year! Holy bun, I’m an old rabbit! hahaha!!
E & E: You’re not old! Twelve is a fun age! Do you have any brothers/ best friends?
I have many brothers. Rufus is my partner in crime. He’s younger and a bit naive, but he’s good to have around when you need to blame something on someone! Haha! Rufus’ favourite thing is food – any food – and he helps me on my cooking show because he gets to eat at the end.
Big Guy or BG is another brother. He’s twice the size of me. Big Guy enjoys watching movies and cuddling. He’s second in line for plushateer-support.
I have many, many other brothers; you can see some of them here.
As for furrends, I have the most bunnderful furrends on twitter!! The community there is so magical. They are there to laugh with you and cry with you, no matter if it’s sunny days or cloudy days. Without them, I would not be the rabbit I am today. What more can I say?
E & E: Rufus is a great friend to have! Having so many anipals on twitter is great! They can make you smile!
We just love Cooks with Rabbits! How did you get started?
Cooking with Rabbits started in kind of a funny way. My ITGuy enjoys cooking, but seldom has the time. So every Saturday, we tried to put aside some time to try a new recipe, or make something different. We’d take pictures of the finished food and send them to ITGuy’s cousin to make him jealous! *giggles* (We kept inviting the cousin, but he was always busy, so we wanted to show him what he was missing!! Wahahah!!) As time went on, I’d include preparation pics and it became a series of how-to photos. Twitter furrends started enjoying the show so much; we continued to make them every week. This year is our 4th year!! WOW!
E &E: Wow, four years is a long run! We hope to enjoy many more!
Which episode is your favorite?
My favourite episode…it’s hard to choose, I loved making so many of them.. hmm…but I’d probably say Chocolate Chip Cookies or Banana Bread. Those are some of my favourite recipes, and the more “risqué” pics in those episodes got a lot of attention (and giggles from the “pawdience” hee hee).
E & E: We love the Banana Bread episode too!
Have you ever had an accident in the kitchen?
I’ve never had an accident cooking in the kitchen, but one time plushateer (who carries me all the time, everywhere), opened the fridge to get something, and someone had left a half-drunk bottle of raspberry cooler open in there. She accidentally knocked it, and in trying to catch the bottle before it smashed on the floor, the pink coloured cooler landed mostly on my face!! UGH!! I had to have a spin in the dreaded washing machine after that to get out the smell and colour!! Grr!! (I hate the washing machine, if you haven’t figured that out yet. heh.)
E & E: Ack! The dreaded washing machine is scary!
You’re always dressed so nice! Do you have a stylist?
Yes, I do have a stylist! Snuffy Norton (@snuffynorton) is the designer of Bearmani clothing, custom clothing for stuffed bears and animals. He makes a lot of my clothes for me. Otherwise, if I’m feeling lazy, I’ll wear BABW (build a bear workshop) jeans and hoodies. http://shop.bearmani.com/
E &E: Snuffy knows how to make a snappy outfit!
What’s your favorite part of doing the Cooks with Rabbits show?
A Cooking with Rabbits shows take about an average about 6-8 hours to make. Making the food, and posing for each pictures, then editing photos, creating animations, or adding backgrounds if required… all take quite a long time to do. Not to mention, the hare and make up before and clean up afterwards! Heh. But my favourite part of making my cooking shows? Paws-down, is reading the comments that people leave afterwards. It makes me so happy that my show brings laughter and smiles to so many people. When I see those silly comments by furrends and fans that makes me feel like it’s all worth it. 🙂
E & E: Wow! It sure takes a long time to make an episode! We sure are glad that you work so hard to make them! We sure do love them and we know that there are loads of fans out there that really enjoy them too! Thanks for doing an interview with us! You’re the best!
You can find Zack the Rabbit products on his zazzle page- with the #cookinwifrabbits pics.. http://www.zazzle.com/zackrabbit the aprons are quite popular as are the mugs! *hugs*
You can follow Zack on twitter @ZackRabbit and be sure that you check out his website for new episodes! Zack also has a YouTube channel with some AMAZING videos! The Mission Impossible Video is our Favorite!
Ellie and Edmond Go to the Movies!
We’re starting a new feature today! We’re going to review animal movies every other week! We love animals and animal movies! We’re kick-starting Ellie and Edmond Go to the Movies with “The Lorax”!
“The Lorax” is based on the famous book by none other than Dr Suess himself!
The premise: A boy named Ted lives in a town named Thneedville. Thneedville has no nature, no trees, no bugs and no flowers. (Man who wants to live in such a horrid place!) Ted has a crush on a girl named Audrey, who dreams of a town full of real live trees and fresh air. Ted’s grandmother tells him of the Once-ler who lives outside the city walls. Ted goes to visit the Once-ler to learn why Thneedville is void of trees. The Onceler tells Ted a tale of the how Thneedville was stripped of its famous truffula trees how a little forest creature named The Lorax tried to protect the forest and its inhabitants.
Now that’s a very basic premise, but you get the idea and we don’t want to spoil any part of the movie for you! We have always loved Dr Suess and his books and we love “The Lorax” because it’s about protecting our planet. The movie does a good job of conveying the message that nature is important for many reasons, including for our health. When the Once-ler comes to the forest there are birds and fish and bears who live there, but once he cuts down all the truffula trees the animals no longer have a habitat. Also once the trees are gone, the people of Thneedville must buy fresh air, because there are no trees to clean the air!
Wow, can you imagine a world with no trees? We really liked the movie. The characters were great, especially Ted’s grandmother and The Lorax. The bears in the forest were really funny, especially the large round one! And our favorite was the singing chorus of fish! We would have like to have heard more of the original lines from the book, just because nobody beats Dr Suess on rhyming. The music was great and Edmond was tapping his toes on the way out of the theater! We definitely recommend checking “The Lorax” out! We love the message that just one person can change the world and we especially loved the dancing and singing animals!
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” –Dr Suess’ The Lorax
Ellie give it 3 trunks up out of 4 for a great message!
Edmond gives it 3 horseshoes out 4 for great tunes and singing fish!