Natural Wonders

Tracking humpback whales with a drone


Tracking humpback whales can prove tricky, but using a drone enabled the divers to capture some beautiful footage in the Kermadec Islands

Our Big Blue Backyard is one of New Zealand's most celebrated and discussed TV series, produced by the world-renowned NHNZ - formerly Natural History New Zealand - based in Dunedin.

Newsroom is featuring some of the top moments from this incredible show, including behind-the-scenes interviews with underwater cinematographer Kina Scollay, and NHNZ executive producer Judith Curran.

“Filming humpback whales underwater is extremely challenging for any dive team. They swim around 12km an hour usually, but when they are a bit spooked they can get up to 20km an hour. We try to place ourselves in front of them to maximise the shots as they pass, so I figured out that we could use our drone to track from the air where the whales were and then use the chase boat to put the camera team in just the right place. This method got us some beautiful shots. It was also such a privilege to be able to listen to the songs the males sing as they follow females on their migration south.”

 Kina Scollay                                                                                                                            Underwater cinematographer

Drone Footage of divers shows how enormous Humpbacks are

This footage shot from a drone shows just how huge the whales are and how tricky it is to get the camera team close to them.

Kina is New Zealand's leading underwater cinematographer. His background as a shark researcher and 20 years of professional diving helps him capture extraordinary images underwater. He was director of photography and a producer on Our Big Blue Backyard.

*NHNZ series Our Big Blue Backyard was made for TV One with the help of NZ on Air

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