A View Through a Lens - Series 2 - Episode 4

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Wildlife cameraman John Aitchison often finds himself in isolated and even dangerous locations across the globe filming wildlife, and in this series he reflects on the uniqueness of human experience, the beauty of nature, the fragility of life and the connections which unite society and nature across the globe. 4/5. In the footsteps of Emperors. Having learnt how to build a snow cave in which to sleep, and completed a series of training courses to equip them to survive in the hostile conditions of Antarctica, a team including wildlife cameraman, John Aitchison, fly up the coast from the American Base at McMurdo Station to a colony of birds; birds which John never imagined he would see in the flesh, birds that he has flown half way round the world to see, Emperor Penguins - the tallest and heaviest penguins of all. John is here to film the penguins entering and leaving the sea through ice holes in the frozen landscape. It sounds easy enough, but following the penguins across the frozen terrain is far from easy, as the landscape is not flat, and the skidoos are not designed to travel across the chaotic, jagged, terrain that is thrown up by the sea, wind and ice. And then, there's the weather to contend with. Fierce snow storms force John and his colleagues to take shelter in their camp for several days. With time and supplies running low, the pressure is on. After a few last minute changes to the complex slow-motion camera (involving a saw), John and the team set off. They are finally rewarded with an amazing and magical encounter: shambling penguins are transformed into beautiful divers, as they disappear into the blue, sun dappled waters beneath the ice.