A good friend of mine Michael Muller has been working on this series for the Travel Channel on sharks as a photographer and filmmaker. I’ll be making sure to tune in on December 18th on the Travel Channel to watch this episode – here’s an official description of it followed by a quick Q&A with Michael that we did over e-mail – definitely sounds like a super exciting project mixed in with some very fun photography and filmmaking toys!
In this special, Mike seeks eight different species of sharks all converging in Fiji. Mike and his crew are high tech “MacGyver’s”, building big toys to get the perfect shot! They are bringing the Hollywood Photo Studio 70 feet underwater to capture these one-of-a-kind photos. The stakes are high; Mike and his crew risk it all to capture images that will shatter all of our misconceptions about the elusive shark.
SHARK SHOOT: FIJI
Hollywood photographer Michael Muller goes on the adventure of a lifetime – up close and personal with the world’s wildest animals in the world’s wildest places. Through Mike’s unique, irreverent, unprecedented point of view, you’ll see animals, places, and people in an entirely new way. He’s in constant demand as one of the top Hollywood photographers, creating famous portraits of stars like Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey, Jr. But Mike is more interested in a different kind of elusive subject for his camera. In fact, Mike wants us to get to know the real celebrities on this planet – and he’ll do whatever it takes to show us how passionate he is about his cause.
Together with his eclectic group of friends and fellow adventurers, Mike creates all kinds of specialized rigs, shooting platforms and lighting apparatuses to get the job done. These contraptions allow him to get as close as humanly possible to his unpredictable and extremely dangerous subjects – making it possible for Mike to swim with great white sharks, run alongside cheetahs on the attack, plunge into active volcanoes, dive with polar bears hunting seals, fly into the heart of a killer storm, or put himself between a mama grizzly bear and her cubs.
In a nutshell, if we’ve ever been told NOT to do something – that’s exactly how Mike plans to do it. Why? Because Mike has the determination, imagination and mad skills to do what others aren’t willing, or able, or brave enough to do. Mike’s goal is to convince the world that there’s more to these amazing creatures than typically meets the eye – but he needs to get the perfect shots to prove it.
Every mission means another location and a whole new set of challenges. Mike’s busy work schedule means that they only have a limited amount of time to come up with a strategy, build their rigs, travel to the location, set up their equipment, get the perfect shot and get back in time for Mike’s next assignment. Balancing his Hollywood career with his passion for high adventure and protecting animals is what keeps Mike’s life interesting, and always on the edge. SHARK SHOOT is an adventure series that takes the audience to some of the most exotic locations in the world for a unique perspective on animals, places, people and our place in the world. Mike Muller and his friends combine intriguing challenges, exploration of exotic environments and the thrill of the hunt with a quest to help us experience – and therefore appreciate – the natural world in an entirely new and deeper way.
MM: The show follows me and my team shooting sharks with 1200watt strobes that I invented with Lee Peterson and Erik Hjermstad. The gear allows me to bring a full blown studio to animals in their natural habitat. It is a process driven show that documents me and my guys trying to figure out how to shoot in ways that have never been done before. Overcoming Monsoon conditions, broken gear, and everything else mother nature and man could throw at us. It was the most gratifing shoot I have ever done, to be surrounded by 40+ very hungry bull, Tiger, and other species of sharks with NO protection at depths of 70-80 feet using lights, etc, Nothing has topped it in my 25 years of shooting.
VL: Is this the first of a series?
MM: This is the first of many expeditions that will take place above and below the water. This episode is running as a "speacial" and we are working on the getting the series underway
VL: With all of the "Shark" series out there – what makes this one different?
MM: No one has ever photographed sharks with 2600 to 4800 watts of lighting because these lights did not exisit until we made them. When you see these sharks lit up with strobes, it shows them in a way people have never seen before. You can see some sharks using these lights on my websitewww.mullerphoto.com
As for equipment, PHASE ONE gave me the FIRST 180IQ that was in the US to take with me….under water in one of the most amazing housings I have ever used called a Nauticam (http://phaseoneunderwater.com/ )which is mind blowing. PHASE ONE has been sponsoring me for over a year now. For SLR I use Canon with a Subal Housing system. Equipment is key when your working in these conditions.
You can check out a bunch of fun behind the scenes videos on the Travel Channel site.