Planet Earth II – Living Wonders of our Natural World

snow leopard in planet earth II

It is not often that you can find amazing, visually stunning and fascinating content that is mostly appropriate for the entire family. But Planet Earth II is exactly that. Over the holidays, our family was riveted watching some of the new BBC documentary series that is a sequel to the original from ten years ago. The trailer, below, gives you a sense of the dramatic scenery, wildlife and incredible quality.

This version takes us even closer to the wildlife in breathtaking locations using new technology such as 4K high definition footage, low light and thermal cameras and drones that can capture close-up imagery of animals such as this sword-billed hummingbird, below, the only bird in the world whose beak is longer than their body.

sword billed hummingbird in planet earth IIYou will feel that you are immersed in the mountains, jungles, deserts, islands and the many other locations covered in the series. Mountains was a favorite and features some of the most elusive animals in the world such as the beautiful yet solitary snow leopards and the ibex. I was on my seat’s edge as I watched the baby ibex’s precarious descent down the steep hillside, escaping the predatory fox, below.

David Attenborough returns as Planet Earth II’s narrator, with dramatic music by Hans Zimmer, exploring how animals meet the challenges of surviving in habitats around the world, including even cities. The episodes take you through a full range of emotions from fear, and trepidation to wonder, amusement and even humor. This scene of grizzly bears in the Canadian Rockies scratching to rid themselves of their winter coats was funny during the episode but I loved this hysterical clip BBC did to advertise the series.

Not only are the actual episodes of Planet Earth II full of beauty and incredible stories of our natural world but they also include amazing behind the scenes peeks at the crews and how they captured their amazing footage. Shot in 40 different countries with 117 separate filming trips using 42 different cameras, the series was four years in production with some episodes over a year in the planning. David Attenborough (currently 90 years old) starting the series off flying over the alps in a hot air balloon.

David Attenborough in Planet Earth IIphoto: BBC

But that seems almost tame in comparison to some of the remarkable feats accomplished by the filmmakers in shooting the series. From Sherpa-guided treks into the heights of the Himalayas to place 20 motion-activated cameras with hundreds of battery packs ready to film the elusive snow leopard, below,

snow leopard in planet earth II to working with Jacques Oliver-Travers who trained an eagle how to fly over the Alps with a tiny Go-Pro harnessed to its back (filmed over 7 months), to the men who actually filmed while paragliding, to the crew members hanging 50 feet above the ground to rig cameras in the jungles of Costa Rica, below,

planet earth II filmingthe stories behind the series are almost as captivating as the actual episodes. For those in the states, stay tuned as Planet Earth II premieres here on February 18th!

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