Ok, so I ripped off the title for this trip report from Seth Kantner’s excellent book of essays about growing up in the “bush” in the Northwest Arctic. But I think he’d be ok with it since we guided this trip together, and we were in fact, shopping for porcupine.
Let me explain; German cinematographer Uwe Anders hired Arctic Wild to support him during filming for a German TV program on the National Parks of the US. He is filming the Gates of the Arctic National Park segment. This is a 2-year project and his goal for this trip was to film porcupines in winter. OK, I can hear you chuckling from my desk in Palmer, AK, but I’m here to tell you that porcupines are fascinating critters. “How so?” you ask? You’ll just have to watch the program, but I will tell you that they go to extreme measures, hanging on by one arm and stretching as far as they can just to pick that one spruce tree sprig that they have to have, only to get it and eat the top few needles!
Uwe has more patience than any human I’ve ever met. Picture sitting with your camera pointed up a porcupine at-10 in chilling wind for HOURS. It gave me a whole new appreciation for what wildlife film makers have to do to catch a 10 second amazing clip of that animal you saw on TV.
Working with Seth was equally as amazing. Seth grew up in a sod house with his “ back to the land’ hippie parents in about as remote country you can get in Alaska. I learned a TON from Seth, including how to find porcupine. Oh yea and we found some musk oxen and a lynx to film too. I love my job.
by Bill Mohrwinkel