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Journeys in the Wild: The Secret Life of a Cameraman

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  401 ratings  ·  54 reviews
From Gavin Thurston, the award-winning Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II cameraman, comes extraordinary and adventurous true stories of what it takes to track down and film our planet's most captivating creatures.

Gavin has been a wildlife photographer for over thirty years. Against a backdrop of modern world history, he's lurked in the shadows of some of the world's remot
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published December 24th 2019 by Seven Dials
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Average rating 4.53  · 
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Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
There can’t be many people who have not seen one of the BBC’s masterpieces in wildlife documentaries. The gravitas of Sir David Attenborough helps, but what really makes them special, for me at least, is the photography. One of the guys behind the lenses and screens is Gavin Thurston. It is a job that he been doing for over three decades and he is probably one of the best in the world at it. Keeping solvent at the beginning of his career was like walking a tightrope. Thankfully he was saved from ...more
Thomas Land
At the start, I thought it was a little slow going. Just a smidge mind you. Another camera operator book dressed up in a fancy cover. I then got into the flow of the book, the way he writes in the moment, connects you with exactly what he is doing and when.....And I was quite simply hooked.

Each tale is another reason why we should protect our little blue marble in the endless dark of the universe, each story provides another reason why we should explore and celebrate our world. As a scientist wh
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Discovering the complexities of the natural world is addictive". Indeed, Gavin, indeed!

This book was fascinating. Full of unbelievable anecdotes from decades of work, some absolutely hilarious, this book left me in complete wonder. It was very informative and made me so curious to learn more - I googled so many things while reading this. I discovered the Duiker, which is a small antelope-like animal found in Congo, sometimes eaten by chimpanzees.

Also, I learnt the illegal wildlife trade is the
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A really enjoyable read thanks to Gavin's sense of humour, his great stories and his insight into the natural world. ...more
Mia Norris
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is incredible I think for readers from all generations. Journeys into the Wild conveys the vast range of emotions that people go through whilst experiencing the true nature of Earth. As a young person that hasn’t yet experienced the world as much as I intend to, I believe the book has sent me on a sort of Bildungsroman, leading me to see the power of humanity and the nature that surrounds us all. As well as this, it is written with humour, hope and experience, making it thoroughly enjo ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
The stories are very interesting. I like watching the documentaries, so it is very interesting to read the perspective from the cameraman. A tough life, but filled with adventure.
Emma Hamlet
Apr 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant book, it flows smoothly and covers decades of work around the world by Gavin. Each anecdote is not only interesting and amusing it also gives insight to the ever changing world, educating readers on people, animals and our need to protect the planet
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have one grievance about this book. It isn't ENOUGH! MORE! I want to read more! I want to know more. I want to hear ALL about it! Great book. My dream vocation, and even the scary bits just make me want it even more. Can't ever happen but while I was reading this, it was just a little bit like it was... ...more
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book! Brilliantly written. I recommend it to anyone that likes watching nature documentaries. You'll be pleasantly surprised!
Very good for learning about our planet and what we are doing to it too (sad part).
Rick Lindeman
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature
Wonderful travel stories from one of attenborough’s camera men. From the northpole to the deep ocean. He was there. It is more than just a making of, because you also get the life of a freelance cameraman and travelling in difficult countries as bonus.
Oct 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars

I don't think I can sum up in words how much I enjoyed reading this book. As a huge wildlife lover, birder, amateur wildlife photographer and someone that has worked for wildlife charities, I am the exact target market for this book and I thoroughly enjoyed every single story. Gavin Thurston has obviously had an incredible career in willdife filming and he succinctly takes us on his journey from the start of his career in the 80s to his most recent filming for netflix. The changes he has
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gavin Thurston is one of the relatively hidden geniuses who works behind the scenes to create the documentaries that have defined how we see and understand our planet. I don’t think you can overstate his contributions and achievements – and this is alluded to in the introduction by Sir David Attenborough. At the start of his career nature television was still about understanding how to tell stories about animals and environments. Now he is producing work that is at the forefront of how we unders ...more
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting book. I really enjoy photography and I loved getting such interesting snapshots (no pun intended) into the work that goes on to create these amazing documentaries.

Gavin has obviously seen and done so many amazing things and reading about his scrapes and near misses with both animals and humans was really fascinating.

Ironically 'Journeys in the Wild' makes me want to 'watch the movie' in the sense that there's now a number of these programmes I'd like to watch that
Sally Murning
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
This book is a very special glimpse behind-the-scenes of the goings on in the natural world that not many people will be lucky enough to witness in their lifetime. Through diary entries you follow Gavin's career and share once in a lifetime moments, written in a way that you feel that you are witnessing them too. There's funny, laugh-out-loud moments but also times of heart-racing, near death experiences.

I enjoyed the little insights into working alongside David Attenborough, it's nice to know
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am not usually into non-fiction, and I never thought I would be interested in the life of a cameraman. But the documentaries he has filmed are among my favourite ever and so I thought "hey why not". Best choice ever. This books is very well written, funny, cynical at times and yet hopeful. And this man has lived quite the life! I found myself being scared for him, excited, anxious, sad and sharing his small victories and defeats as though they were my own. It has been an amazing read and i wou ...more
Michael Kott
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature
This was a welcome change of pace and a unique story. If you've ever watched Nature programs/films and wondered how the photographers got those shots, this is your book. Gavin does a great job describing the long hours/days/weeks it sometimes takes to get the perfect shot. It's interesting, never boring and exciting. When I first saw a remark about the book, I said that looks different - It didn't disappoint. ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
This is such a great book if you love animals and nature documentaries. Gavin has lived such an interesting life all over the world which makes for amazing reading. It made me laugh out loud, made me bookmark things I couldn't wait to tell other people, and really made me think about what humans are doing to the world. I especially enjoyed the Attenborough mentions and I'm very jealous that Gavin spent so much time with the legend himself. ...more
Feb 22, 2020 rated it liked it
A very enjoyable read.
Ever wondered just what it takes to bring the images we love on Blue Planet and other wildlife shows? This book will certainly open your eyes to the process.
It certainly reinforced my knowledge that as much as I love taking photos of wildlife, the life of a wildlife photographer is not for me. I will continue to enjoy my hobby.
Hatice Kose
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! I loved reading about Thurston's journeys in the wild all over the world. His storytelling skills and humour made me feel a part of his journey. This book increased my awareness and appreciation of what goes into capturing naturing on camera so that ordinary people who can't, can witness it at home. ...more
Aoife Walsh
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
This book was such an insight into the life of a wildlife cameraman. As someone who loves natural history this book showed me just how difficult a career in this area is. Extremely witty writing brings you back to the present moment and his crazy adventures had me hooked. This book renewed my love of nature and brought me to places I can only dream of visiting one day!
R G Routledge
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wasn't sure I would enjoy this Christmas gift but once I got into it I found it a throughly and well written tale. Following a diary format, it gives a tremendous insight into the high's and low's of a cameraman. Anyone wishing to enter this industry should read this book first. A good balance of humour, excitement, danger and boredom (no the read - the job). ...more
Hanna Stentoft
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Fascinating insight into the world of wildlife filming. A kind of book version of all the behind the scenes at the end of David Attenborough documentaries. A charming read. Highly recommend!
Anne Macnamara
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So many stories that are familiar from watching BBC wildlife documentaries over the year, Gavin’s book gives the behind the scenes view. Full of amazing adventures, travel to the most remote parts of the world and plenty of danger along the way.
Charlotte Simpson
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book, I'm sad to finish it! Hugely entertaining and very well written. Highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a good 'no way!' story. Also gives a great new perspective on the goings-on behind the scenes of nature documentaries. ...more
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To paraphrase a description in the book: It's like a whole book of that 15 minutes at the end of the show where you see the behind the scenes tales of how the shows are shot. A very apt description for a very well written book. ...more
Hariharan Rajagulasingam
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. Wish there was photos for each stories. There are some photos. But Gavins' descriptions of the places and stories felt like you were there in person. Highly recommend for people who love reading travel books or memoirs. ...more
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-read
Great read. An entertaining, informative read about the behind the scenes adventures of some the best known natural history programs.
Gracel lee
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read

Gavin explained much about his wildlife photography and it was very eye opening. He has an excellent sense of humour too.
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book! So interesting to read the lengths to which these nature cameramen go to, to get the sequences in nature documentaries.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed listening to this on my commute. Having him relate his adventures gave me even more appreciation for nature as well as put my modern day inconveniences into perspective.
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