With the gorgeous and rugged peaks of Banff National Park as the backdrop, camera assistant Darren West and the team anticipated an idyllic summer shoot: Pika preparing for winter
The high mountain slopes are prime pika habitat. Pikas are tiny members of the rabbit family that gather food and stack it in elaborate piles to prepare for winter. “We spent days searching the slopes, sitting and waiting, and were eventually beaten back by the weather. Not your typical summer showers, but early September snow!” says Darren.
Pikas need to thermoregulate so when the temperature drops they stay below the rocks to keep warm. The crew made a retreat and spent a few days enjoying the spectacular scenery and filming some stunning time-lapse sequences.
Finally, the stars aligned, and the weather warmed up. Cinematographer Justin Maguire was finally in position and it wasn’t long before the pikas emerged to resume their harvesting. “Their curious nature makes them overcome any fears they have and they became comfortable with us,” remembers Darren. “Over the next week, we were treated to an insider look at the life of the pika and we were able to capture some magical moments.”