A cameraman's tales of the wilderness: Colin Stafford-Johnson coming to Newbridge

The award-winning videographer is bringing his new tour to Kildare

Sarah Peppard

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Sarah Peppard

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sarah.peppard@leinsterleader.ie

A cameraman's tales of the wilderness: Colin Stafford-Johnson coming to Newbridge

Colin Stafford-Johnson

You could say cameraman Colin Stafford-Johsnon has always had the travel bug.

The multi-award winning wildlife cinematographer has travelled all over the world capturing the wild, the weird and the wonderful on camera.

Colin will be bringing his new tour, Living a Wild Life to the Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge on Wednesday, November 15.

He will be sharing some of his wildest stories, and give a behind the scenes of films and clips he has made.

 At the age of 20, the Dublin native set off bag-packing around the world.  “I went to New Zealand, Australia — I did all sorts of jobs there - worked in a goldmine, ran a ski lodge, held a stop-go sign and picked strawberries.

“Then I walked through the island of New Guinea back in the mid 80s, sailed through Indonesia and backpacked across Asia, Central America, Southern Africa, all sorts of places.

“I didn’t have much money but I was just sort of trying to find any jobs I could to travel.” 

It wasn’t until the age of 24/25 that Colin decided to do a degree in England in biology and film-making.

“I’ve been sort of scrounging a living in the industry ever since.” 

In India, Colin explored the tiger population which is rapidly declining, and got up close and personal with the extraordinary species.

“I love getting to know them. The great thing about being a cameraman when you spend long periods of time observing an animal, is learning to predict what it’s going to do next. Reading its mind.

“Because as a cameraman you have to know what’s going to happen before it happens. That’s the secret.” 

As fascinating as it is, the work can be dangerous.

“I mean, you have to be careful. In the last few years I lost a friend of mine to a tiger so it’s beginning to pick up a little bit, the more humans come into the forest, the more trouble there is.

“You have to have your wits about you but like anything you learn to read the animal and what mood it’s in.” 

Colin spent 225 days in a field filming for a 48-minute documentary, and said some days he would be working dusk until dawn to capture the perfect clips.

Out of all the places in the world Colin has visited, he said Guyana in South America was by far the most interesting.

“I went to an uninhabited river, nobody lived within a hundred miles. It was a solid rainforest and the animals were tame, because they never interacted with people 

“You could get incredibly close to animals that you otherwise wouldn’t get near.” 

In his latest venture, Colin discovered ‘Wild Ireland’, and in particular the Atlantic Coast.

The documentary beat the likes of Planet Earth to win the Best Natural History Documentary at the Grierson Awards in London on Monday, November 6.

“It was pretty cool. It’s a good one, it’s the big one in the industry really.”