The folks behind BBC’s Planet Earth and other shows go to great lengths to get those marvelous wildlife shots we all know and love. They’re ready to take a hit (quite literally) from a fascinating archer fish.
Recently, a cameraman got hit by this extremely precise creature right in the eye. The video doesn’t only show the fascinating precision of the archer fish, but also just a fraction of what these people go through on their daily jobs.
The Planet Earth III team spent every day for five weeks on a boat packed with camera and diving gear. They were sailing across the mangrove habitat in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, with one goal – to film all those “weird and wonderful creatures” living there. One of them is the unique predator —the archer fish – which hunts its prey by spitting water on them with extreme accuracy.
“So I’m just about to jump in the water and check whether there’s any archer fish around,” one of the crew members says. But this is more difficult than it sounds. These fish can be pretty timid, move fast, and they’re small. They don’t like being near people or their cameras. Because of all this, it’s not easy to film them. Not to mention that there are also crocodiles in these waters, so the crew has to be on high alert.
“The theory is that crocodiles don’t like being watched,” explains camera operator Roger Munns. “So while we’re filming, our fake eyes are sticking out the back of our head, and the croc will just turn away because it thinks it’s being watched.” This looks very weird, but hey – it works!
The story of eyes leads us to the funny moment one of the archer fish tried to “hunt” for the cameraman’s eye. While he was having an interview about how the shoot was going, he made a crucial mistake while in the presence of archer fish — he forgot to look down. And pew: the fish hit him straight in the eye at 1/10th of a second. And he wasn’t the only one. In the video, you can see another crew member as he got hit right in the eye, too!
Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt, and no eyes were damaged. You can see both crew members laughing while rubbing their eyes. After all, it was all worth it. The team ended up with some splendid shots that show the beauty, diversity, and weirdness of the world around us.