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Underwater in the Northern Territory Australia

Posted: May 12th, 2015, 10:47 pm
by saratoga
This is a video I shot in the Finniss River in the Top End of the NT in northern Australia. It gives you an idea of the variety of life in the upper reaches of this river system; mainly fish with a sprinkling of herps and crustaceans. The crocodiles in the film are Freshwater or Johnstone River Crocodiles although Saltwater or Estuarine Crocodiles also frequent the area but were not captured on film. As a result of the crocodile risk, the video was all shot without getting my feet wet; ie the gopro cameras were lowered into the water at various spots and were left to run for a while. The soundtrack was recorded above water on site with a small digital recorder

Re: Underwater in the Northern Territory Australia

Posted: May 13th, 2015, 8:24 am
by NACairns
Wonderful, what a great into to the natural history of the of the region. How many sets/ much runtime did it take to capture all that activity and diversity? Can you give us bit of a break down of the species? What species of turtles are shown: Elseya dentata, Emydura tanybaraga and Chelodina oblonga? We did a similar thing in Canada with relation to fresh water turtle bycatch but used time-laps setting and it was Canada so not quite the same.

Thanks for sharing, this made my day.

Re: Underwater in the Northern Territory Australia

Posted: May 17th, 2015, 6:57 am
by VICtort
Saratoga! (also the name of a town in California where I was raised)... Wow, this is really fun and pleasant, the sound recordings add a lot to it. As a diver and spear-o, it has sometimes frustrated me I can not safely enter the water in some areas due to crocs and water born bilharzia and other parasites, the Go-Pro is apparently the next best thing. Your shots were well done, most of those fish were very relaxed, with photos of the cats feeding, and the shrimps also. You sure have pretty Yabbies (cray fish) there and the large shrimp with the blue chelae is spectacular.

Thank you for sharing this, I will watch it again and again. Relaxing and a wonderful window into a world rarely viewed, so many photographers naturally gravitate to coral reefs but miss out on the often difficult to access/low visibility but fecund/fertile estuaries.

Well done, I loved it. How large were those barramundi (?), (the silvery Nile perch looking fish). Was this area difficult to access and do any of your party try angling or did you restrict yourselves to photography only. What precautions do you take to avoid Salt Water crocs, or is there risk in that zone?

Ditto on Nick's comments.


Re: Underwater in the Northern Territory Australia

Posted: May 19th, 2015, 5:24 am
by saratoga
Thank you for your replies.

I used 2 cameras for this with a total of about 40 hours of footage over a coupe of weeks. Believe it or not this was all filmed in a friends "backyard" which has a beautiful spring fed rainforest and creek system just 3 minutes walk from the house so access is not a problem! 40 hours is a lot of footage and I plan to make a much longer version when I get more time to edit in the future. Obviously there were times when I got nothing and times when I got fantastic things – it was always very exciting to download the footage and see what I got, as up until downloading it I had no idea at all. By leaving the gopro in place it is very hit and miss, but when you get things it tends be very natural, unlike when you are diving with an animal or baiting to attract them.

The turtles you named are correct although in one case Chelodina is now Macrochelodina oblonga. There are separate videos on my YT channel with some more turtle footage if you are interested.

I don't know the size of the Barramundi ( known locally as Barra ) in the footage, but I often saw ones around 70-80 cm ( ~30 inches) cruising around just below the surface in the billabong. No fishing there anymore, it's only a small waterhole and since my friend has got the property they are trying to keep the rainforest and creek as a bit of a sanctuary, so yes photography only. People used to come beforehand and catch the Barra and crayfish but no longer. The crayfish were Red-claw Crayfish (Yabby) and Long-armed Shrimp or Cherubin.

With regard to the Saltwater crocs no real precautions needed, just being sensible around the water and keeping a watchful eye out and staying out of the water. Obviously no sitting at the waters edge etc. It's not prime croc country but there is a resident 2.5m one along several hundred meters of the creek which my mate sees regularly.

You're right about the bluewater bias, there is very little focus on freshwater areas in terms of video. I have a lot of fun with my gopros in shallow water – often less than knee deep – and they can give quite good results. Not sure of the situation in the US but over here most of the video relating to freshwater is directly related to fishing rather then the fish and their habitats themselves.

glad you both enjoyed it



Re: Underwater in the Northern Territory Australia

Posted: May 28th, 2015, 8:32 am
by Field Herper
Great work Greg! I agree about the candid nature of this footage. So often in wildlife docos I see aquatic animals behaving in an excited manner which suggests feeding mode IMO.
What gear are you using? i.e what model Gopro and accessories if any?

Re: Underwater in the Northern Territory Australia

Posted: November 13th, 2015, 4:46 pm
by Porter
Just stumbled across this... The artistic nature of this vid is beyond words. What a beautiful obscure peek into the under-surface world. Color and angle balance to the murky shapes of bottom foliage is great. Thanks for sharing :thumb: