Sapphires and lemurs: Filming in the rainforests of Madagascar

In June 2017 I was lucky enough to travel deep into the rain forest of Madagascar on assignment for the BBC.

I worked alongside another brilliant cameraman called Tony Smith and reporter Angus Crawford. Our piece was about the sapphire rush and how the miners are inadvertently destroying the last habitat of the Indri lemur.

Below is the behind the scenes film I made of the 9-hour walk to get there. Much of it was shot on an iPhone as I was too exhausted to carry my A7S in my hands the whole way. Lesson learned for next time is to shoot in 25p using an app such as Filmic Pro – the native 30p footage looks very jerky when cut into my project.

I’ve also posted a few of my favourite photos from the trip below.


An aerial view of the village that has grown up around the mine.
And this is why the miners are here…precious stones
These guys work hard in awful conditions.


The miners are slowly eroding the rain forest.
Panning for sapphires
The “main street” that has sprung up around the mine.

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