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‘Tales by Light’ Takes Audiences on Global Adventure

Cinematographer Abraham Joffe documented the lives of five world-class photographers as they captured incredible images for the National Geographic Channel series Tales by Light, following them through 15 countries over the course of a year.

Abraham Joffe during filming of Tales by Light
Photo by Wayne Osborn

“We filmed in such a diverse array of locations, ranging from the peaks of the Himalayas to the jungles of Uganda,” recalls Joffe. “We filmed grizzlies in Alaska, elephant seals in Antarctica and migration scenes in Kenya. When we were not working with wildlife, we were capturing action sports sequences in Vanuatu, Utah and Colorado, as well as meeting local communities in Papua New Guinea and Ethiopia. It was quite an adventure, and I hope viewers will feel as much a part of the journey as I did in capturing it.”

To achieve the variety of creative shots he was after for the series, Joffe relied on a Canon EOS-1D C camera and a range of Miller carbon fiber tripods, including the Compass 12 Solo 75, Compass 15 Solo and Compass 25 Sprinter II.

“Filming snow leopards in the Indian Himalaya required a Canon 600mm lens with an extender, and Miller’s Compass 25 was perfect for keeping it rock solid,” he says. “Additionally, most of the wildlife in South Georgia and Antarctica is up-close and low the ground. The low spreading nature of Miller’s solo legs was used on many locations around the world, as the tripods’ range capacities provided an intimate perspective.”

Working as a crew often as small as four people, Joffe and his team had to keep the gear light and compact, since weight was a constant concern. They generally carried the majority of the cameras and lenses on their backs, with stabilization equipment, tripods, monopods and sound equipment stored in the haul of the plane during travel.

“The lightweight Miller Compass tripods got the job done and were the most practical for travel, as they could easily and quickly transition from setup to breakdown,” Joffe concludes. “Also, as we were shooting in 4K, the resolution was never forgiving for missing focus. The solid build and reliable movement of the Compass fluid heads enabled me to keep my shots solid through the whole project.”

Tales by Light Official Trailer HD from Untitled Film Works on Vimeo.

This series follows in the footsteps of five adventurous photographers as they travel around the world for their craft. Shot in 15 countries over the course of one year, Tales by Light is an insight into what it takes to capture images that tell powerful stories. Produced, directed and shot by Abraham Joffe in collaboration with Canon Australia. Airing on National Geographic channel in Australia and New Zealand May through June 2015.