Opening video for the annual conference 2019 of the Asian Development Bank in Fiji. The oceans of the Asia and Pacific region are exceptionally rich in biodiversity, support large and growing marine economies, and provide livelihoods and food security for billions of people. But oceans face major challenges, including climate change, pollution, unsustainable fishing, habitat degradation, and biodiversity loss, which in turn threaten development gains and future economic growth. Globally, ocean health has become an urgent priority, with Asia and the Pacific demonstrating leadership on action.
Asia and the Pacific are at the epicenter of a major crisis in marine plastic pollution, threatening the productivity of the region’s marine economies, which are crucial to poverty reduction.
ADB’s Action Plan for Healthy Oceans and Sustainable Blue Economies will expand financing and technical assistance for ocean health and marine economy projects to $5 billion from 2019 to 2024.
It will focus on: inclusive livelihoods and business opportunities in sustainable tourism and fisheries; protecting and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems and key rivers; reducing land-based sources of marine pollution, including plastics, wastewater, and agricultural runoff; and improving sustainability in port and coastal infrastructure development.
With support of a Regional Arts Development Grant, we recently produced a short time-lapse film on our home region, the Atherton Tablelands in Tropical North Queensland.
This is a slightly altered version of a commissioned promotion video, we produced for the Atherton Tablelands Regional Council.
The Kimberley is one of Australia’s remotest regions. It occupies the northern part of Western Australia, stretching from Broome with the Indian Ocean in the west, to Kununurra in the east. Due to the scant population in such a massive land area with close to no light pollution and low humidity, night skies are stunningly clear and crisp. The Kimberley is home to a number of indigenous groups and their stunning ancient rock art galleries or petroglyphs such can be found in various places.
We drove more than 4000km one way from our home in the Atherton Tablelands (from Tropical North Queenslands east coast) across the top Northern Australian continent to spend more than 8 weeks in the Kimberleys. While the main roads are as good as it gets, the Gibb River Road is in some places a severely corrugated off-road track. This had its challenges. In some cases I just saw things flying off our Troopy looking from the back mirror, or the other side mirror. But the Gibb River Road brought us to beautiful remote waterfalls and creeks, particularly the Mitchell Falls in the very north. The Kimberley coast has some of the biggest tide changes in the world, with the area of around Derby reaching up to 13 metres! The lowering tidal scene in this video shows an 8 metre tide change from Gantheaume Point near Broome and the rising tide in the mangroves at a full moon night is from further up north past Cape Leveque.
Even though it can be extremely hot in the Kimberley, the ocean is not a place one swims in. It is inhabited by countless huge saltwater crocodiles. Every now and then a hapless person is taken, not being careful enough to stay clear of the ocean’s edge. Salties are known to travel many hundreds of kilometres out into the ocean or up rivers. Rivers and streams far and elevated from the ocean are sometimes inhabited by the more placid freshwater crocodiles. In one of the Kimberley gorges, we found a large group of freshies – as they are fondly called in Australia. Every sundown, freshies were feeding on little red flying foxes that flew out from the innermost part of the gorge, as they flew and swooped down to drink from the billabong where the freshies waited. In order to drink, fruit bats dip their chests into the water while on the wing and later lick the water off while flying. Little red flying foxes are nomadic. Roosting together in huge numbers, they follow their food source, mostly where eucalyptus flowers are in bloom.
One of the most outstanding landscapes in the Kimberley region is the Bungle Bungles from Purnunulu National Park. The beehive domes are actually better seen from a helicopter or plane, but it is also a great place to go for short hikes along the dry river beds to get to stunning scenes.
The countless boab trees of the Kimberley have fascinated us for a very long time. These huge trees with their massive bulbous trunks can be as old as a thousand years or more! The trunks are in fact so big, some of the hollowed out trees have been used as prisons in a past long time ago. To the indigenous people boab trees have spiritual meaning. They also use the rather furry large seed pods as little storyboards and artfully scratch animals or natural scenes onto them. If you ever pass through Wyndham, you most likely may meet some aboriginal people sitting in the shade under a tree carving and selling a few of their art pieces.
Flying Foxes are mammals with wings. They give birth like any other mammal, just upside down. The mothers feed milk to their babies and carry them as long as they are not too heavy. When the babies grow too big, the mothers leave them in some kind of kindergarten, roosting in their forest, until they come back home to feed their babies with milk. Flying Foxes feed on fruits and nectar in the forests at night and roost in huge numbers for some reason, quite a distance away from their feeding grounds. After sunset they flyout as a swarm, like a river of wings towards their preferred feeding ground, which could be flowering eucalyptus forests, or trees heavy with ripe fruits. Bats are important pollinators and disperser of seeds. It’s quite simple, no bats – no forests.
I was born and grew up in Germany, where any wildlife encounter in nature is truly remarkable, even just a hedgehog in the forest or a little song bird. Winters are especially quiet because most creatures are either hibernating or have left for warmer countries. After moving to Australia, the one thing I notice first are the noisy birds with brilliant variety of colours, everywhere – a feast for the eyes and ears. A rather less liked, misunderstood but fascinating creature are fruit bats or flying foxes. I was captivated by them the first time I saw a colony in Komodo Island in Indonesia many years ago, while looking for Komodo Dragons. The flyout from the mangrove forest in the evening was something you will never forget. At home in Tropical North Queensland we are so fortunate to have quite a few colonies that we can observe on occasion in different times of the year and season.
From home we see quite a few different species, but the ones that belong nowhere else but here are the vulnerable Spectacled Flying Foxes. We also get the nomadic and more abundant Little Red Flying Foxes. Being nomadic, the little reds move from place to place in rather big numbers. Every so often a colony pops up not too far from our home and stays for a few weeks. We take this chance to film and photograph them often. We are so fortunate to be able to witness one of nature’s magnificent spectacles! On a recent trip to the Kimberley in North Western Australia we were also surprised by a large little red flying fox colony and their encounters with freshwater crocodiles.
Quite regularly flying foxes get snagged in barb wire cattle fences and will die miserably without help. In case you see a bat in a fence: DON’T TOUCH IT!!! Call a wildlife carer for help. They know what they are doing and are immunised against possible diseases. Here in the Atherton Tablelands, the Tolga Bat Hospital is the place to call. This bat haven is also a wonderful place open to visitors in the afternoons. But give them a call first to make sure they are open to accepting visitors and are not inundated with important bat caring work. tolgabathospital.org
Our first time-lapse video. Although the title sounds like some Arctic cold place, it is in fact from a very tropical Australian region. Sandwiched between two World Heritage Sites of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics, my wife and I have been living in Tropical North Queensland for more than 10 years now. This part of the world has some of the most beautiful places on Earth. On the eastern side of the beach is the Pacific Ocean, hosting the largest coral reef system on the planet. On the land side is the world’s oldest rainforest with the Daintree National Park. Then heading west after passing the narrow belt of lush green forests, the red of the Australian Outback greets you with dark skies that show millions of stars.
This is a short timelapse journey from the Great Barrier Reef to the rainforest of the Wet Tropics and the clear night skies of the red outback. The fungi are actually bioluminescent. Their natural lights turn on when darkness falls.
When have you entered a tropical rainforest at night and be lucky enough to walk into an enchanting sight of ethereal green glowing in the dark? Have you ever chased fireflies when they suddenly appear out of nowhere in a forest? Here are two glorious subjects that delight us and they can only be seen in the dark of night when no human lights distract us from their natural wonder. They are glowing fungi and fireflies that come out in the hot humid summers in the forests of Tropical North Queensland and the coast of Camarines Sur in the Philippines.
The light you see is called bioluminescence. It is one of the most beautiful and mesmerizing miracles of nature. Scientifically, it certainly is not a miracle. The light that living creatures emit is caused by a chemical reaction that involves the light-emitting pigment luciferin and the enzyme luciferase. Bioluminescence is not a very strong light, but it’s easy to pick up if you turn your flashlight off regularly to get your eyes used to the dark.
Time-lapse sequences and video taken from various locations in Tropical North Queensland – Australia and Camarines Sur – Philippines.
Hong Kong has long been one of our most favourite big cities in the world. Unfortunately it’s close to impossible to compress any deep content into a 2-minute film, so here is a short time-lapse journey through an amazing electrified city.
Marvel at the LIGHTS, MOVEMENT and ENERGY of Hong Kong – this throbbing, pulsating metropolis that never seems to sleep. The activities one can do is staggering and all you have to do is watch this short video to take it all in!
This quick time-lapse tour brings you to a magnificent view from the luxurious swimming pool area of Genting Dream cruise ship steaming away from Halong Bay, Vietnam and entering the Port of Hong Kong all lit up at night. Followed by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Around the Island Race with a regatta in full open sails charmingly coming in to the harbour. The evening’s spectacular lightshow with wonderfully choreographed laser lights brings gasps and awe to locals and tourists alike admiring the Hong Kong skyline seen from the low vantage point of the Kowloon Promenade and way up from the lookout of Victoria Peak! Cruise ships and Star Ferries come and go along the busy harbour. Then the buzzing city full of people walking the busy streets to the super efficient MTR underground that manages to move millions of people every second, every minute, every hour, every day! There is order in the seeming chaos. And for the finale, follow the jaw dropping non-stop activity of Hong Kong’s Kwai Tsing Container Terminal, the 6th biggest container port in the world that never ceases operations except only during a bad typhoon. The container yard looks like a huge Lego set with automated movements of stacking cranes while massive container cranes travel the length of the quay on a rail track filling the ships with containers all systematically computer organised! They totally look like Autobots in the Transformers about to uphold justice and freedom throughout the galaxy!