Finger Of Death

March 27, 2012 by staff 

Finger Of Death, The killer whales “bobbing” pack ice to dislodge seals by generating giant waves was one highlight. The sea of penguins as far as the eye can see, as seen from helicopter, was another. The mother polar bear menacing a cameraman, while her two cubs peered curiously over her shoulder, was yet another.

The “brinicle” was the star, though. Asked for an example of something truly unique that the filmmakers encountered during their 2,356 days of filming the world’s polar regions for Frozen Planet, program producer Vanessa Berlowitz and cinematographer Chadden Hunter kept coming back to the brinicle.

Berlowitz and Hunter, veterans of BBC and the Discovery Channel’s landmark series, Planet Earth, had heard of the strange ice formation, unique to Antarctica, but did not think they would find one, let alone film it.

Scientists working in Antarctica’s research stations had not seen one, despite working and living on the world’s coldest, driest, windiest continent for years, even decades.

The brinicle has been nicknamed “the icy finger of death,” Berlowitz explained earlier this year, from the comparatively balmy climes of Pasadena in southern California. “It’s an icy stalactite that grows down from the sea ice to the seabed and kills everything it touches.

We were able to get some shots from under the ice, and showed it to these scientists, who had been working there for 20, 30 years, some of them, and they were blown away. For us, it was just exciting to be able to give back to the scientists that we relied on so much to get these amazing sequences.”

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