I’ve been thinking about making a moving video of sailing down a river in spring with all the lush greenery and birdsongs for a long time. Finally it all came together and I figured out how and where to do it. I hired a kayak from a friend and together we traveled to this beautiful river in Strandja Natural Park, Bulgaria. I was a bit nervous as I had very limited experience in paddling in general and I didn’t know what to expect. There were also the questions of how am I going to attach the camera or what if it falls in the river… Fortunately it all came down together pretty well and the camera was attached onto a secured tripod on top of the kayak. Next thing was… paddling. At first it felt a bit unsettling feeling so unstable onto a plastic board in the middle of the river with a camera on top of all. Soon I relaxed into it and was paddling more and more confidently and with less effort, trying to make as less noise as possible, so that the sound is relaxing and the songs of the numerous birds along the way, can be heard clearly. All in all, it was a success and I am very pleased with the result: https://youtu.be/qZ0_aa6RxvQ
On a cold, gray winter day, I was wondering where I want to go next and I thought to myself: “I want to go to some very wild tropical islands, with no towns and cars and crowds of tourists”. So I googled “wild tropical islands” and started looking at the pictures that came up in the search. I saw one picture that looked amazing. After a quick research, I decided – “That’s it, I am going there!”. The islands, that I saw on the picture were a part of a big protected are in West Papua, called Raja Ampat and within the Borders of Indonesia. In order to get there I flew to Bali and then took an internal flight to the furthest eastern side of the Indonesian archipelago. I must say that this pristine natural paradise, exceeded my expectations – it is just a place of pure natural paradise.
The coral reefs there were the most abundant with life in all shapes, colors and forms, that I had seen. I was so blessed to dive into this incredible underwater world for more than two weeks. As I wasn’t a certified scuba diver, I didn’t hire any equipment and I just did snorkeling. Nevertheless, having enough experience in freediving, I managed to record some pretty amazing stationary underwater scenes by putting my camera with it’s underwater box on a tripod onto the ocean floor. It wasn’t an easy task and involved a lot of diving, but for the whole duration of my stay, I filmed a large enough collection of underwater scenes, that made it possible to make a three hour long relaxation video with no repeating footage in it. You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/uyb0wW0ln_g There’s also a one scene only version of it here: https://youtu.be/_05mQPHk46Q
Unfortunately, I also saw coral reefs that were dead, lacking their colours and abundant life. It made it clear to me, that coral reefs and in BIG danger and we can loose a whole world of incredible biodiversity in the length of just one human lifetime!
I was staying in different beach hut, with different hosts taking care of my accommodation and food. Conditions were very simple and I quickly learned to properly tuck my mosquito net under the mattress and to make sure that there are no holes in it so that I don’t get any unwelcome insect visitors at night.
The Papua people that lived on those islands, were nice and friendly. Be careful to arrange all prices in advance though, so that you are not unpleasantly surprised in the end.
The food was also very basic, but tasty and very nutritious. I have never in my life eaten so much fish and bananas in all sizes and shapes 🙂 It was so tasty though and I was so hungry from diving, that I enjoyed it every time.
What really liked seeing is the life that the kids there had. They were playing outside all day, swimming and fishing. They didn’t have ANY modern devices. In fact in many places there was even no phone signal. But those kids looked very healthy, warm hearted and cheerful. There were no cars or even roads in those villages. People were travelling only by boats… Which reminds me of my only disappointment… I came to these islands in order to escape from the noises from all the machines that exist everywhere in our modern world. I wanted to record clean nature sounds, but as it turned out, boats were travelling between the island all day long. So, after many frustrating hours of attempts, I managed to successfully record some good sounds and footage. Here you can see different scenes from an incredibly beautiful and wild beach, where I stayed for a few nights: https://youtu.be/UyZfCrrdbm8
On this same beach, twice I was woken up by a loud bird song around 4 or 5 a.m. The second night I got up and recorded it: https://youtu.be/lFVsoRmQWSc
This was the view from from the window in one of the guest huts on another island: https://youtu.be/zHD5kgHjKj4
Cows and Bells
As I wrote in a previous post, on one of my trips to Pirin National Park, I discovered a heard of beautiful free-range cows with clear sounding bells and decided to go back there the year after in order to make a relaxing video with them. I organised myself next summer and went there, happy to find them where I was hoping them to be. Talking to the shepard, asking for permission to film the cows, I realised that I was there just on time, as they have just moved to these high pastures a few days ago. I spend two days moving with the herd and filming different moments of the cows peaceful mountain life. The shepard was a very friendly young guy from the nearby little town and we chatted a lot about our lives, Bulgaria and so on. We even shared our lunch packs and ate together. At some point he filled my bottle with fresh warm milk directly from one of cows and it was delicious. I was very happy to have been able to make this video. You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/QhLMlA3Wb8w
Fields of White
The winter was not over yet, so I decided to go to Rila National Park for some winter footage. The hut is only an hour away from where you can leave your car, but still sits around 2000m above the sea level. Along the clearly marked path, on the way to the hut and back, I managed to film some nice shots and record some good sounds with which I made a few long videos. These videos can be seen here: https://youtu.be/CUaybv1jdHw, here: https://youtu.be/X-NY0YVmdg4 and here: https://youtu.be/0fHaQdacCmM
On the two days I spent up at the hut, I made long treks in the thick snow further up the mountain. I was lucky that on both days there have been other people that have walked up before me. I was walking over their steps, which made it much easier for me, as I still hadn’t bought myself some snowshoes. I filmed a lot of the pure raw mountain scenery covered in white snowy blanket. I tested my new drone’s abilities and was very happy with it’s stability, even in strong wind. In the end I made a short video of this incredible landscape, soundtracked by the amazing ambient music, so generously offered by Stellardrone: https://stellardrone.bandcamp.com/ The video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/2pmgu6Yfbb8