Filming Yosemite’s Secret Hunter
Deep in the valleys of Yosemite National Park lives a cat that most people never see, the bobcat. The filmmakers, Jan Henriksson and Joosep Matjus, set out to conquer the challenge of capturing intimate scenes of bobcats in the wild. This is incredibly tricky as these wildcats are notoriously elusive.
Equipped with highly sensitive microphones to record the cats voice from a distance, a remote camera for wide shots and a camera blind for cover, the filmmakers observed that much to their surprise the best time for spotting the bobcat was from late fall to early spring.
According to the filmmakers, the bobcat is typically a shy and active night creature. So there was a great deal of surprise when they found themselves interacting with a much different creature and often delightfully surprised at their encounters.
“The bobcats were surviving among masses of visitors and heavy traffic in the valley by keeping themselves invisible to the people. We had to make the eleven mile long valley loop several times a day, from early morning to late evening in order to get in contact with them. On average we saw a cat every fifth day, sometimes only for some seconds,” said filmmakers Jan Henriksson and Joosep Matjus.
After many days of long hikes and observing behavioral patterns, the team was able to learn the careful dance of getting the shots they need while not disturbing this private predator. Finally, their patience paid off after a few days waiting, a bobcat appeared with cubs in tow. Completely undisturbed from the presence of the filmmakers, the cubs steal the spotlight.
For more beautiful moments in Yosemite, tune in to America’s National Parks: Yosemite this Sunday, December 6th at 8/7c on National Geographic Channel.