The long awaited South African episode of French Television’s “Ushuaia Nature” was broadcast in April 2007. Shot during the winter of 2006 it covered the Natal Sardine Run and white sharks. The climax to the story was when Nicolas Hulot, legendary French adventurer / presenter and Laurent Ballesta, a marine biologist, swam unprotected with white sharks near Dyer Island. We had spent many hours underwater but the white sharks, while ever present, had never come sufficiently close for that critical shot. As we were about to leave the water, a large white shark suddenly turned sharply and sped towards us. Fortunately my HD camera was on standby with iris and focus set, so my first reaction was to hit record.
As I swung the large camera housing to frame the shot I realised that the other two were unaware of their predicament. It was one of those moments where one experiences a “time warp”. In that split second that seemed like minutes, while I was deciding whether I should hold the shot or warn the other divers, Laurent spotted the shark and grabbed Nicolas’ arm. Less than a metre from them, the shark, possibly sensing that the divers were now aware of his presence, veered off and swam into the setting sun (literally). We had the shot.
Charles was a 2002 Primetime Emmy Award winner in the category Outstanding Cinematography for work done for The Blue Planet: Seas of Life, produced by the BBC / Discovery Channel.
In 2006 Charles filmed rays feeding on squid for the BBC's Planet Earth: Shallow Seas.
Charles Maxwell is proud to have worked with the below companies:
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- Sir David Attenborough in his narration for the BBC's "Shark Coast"
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