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Wildlife Filming: A Way Of Life

An Interview With Film Maker Jeff Hogan
by Dan Hartman

Oct. 27, 2011

My good friend, Jeff Hogan, has just finished his latest film, “American Cougar” for National Geographic, airing December 11th. I thought it would be a good time to peek into his back-story and also get some first hand insight on his latest project.

I first met Jeff some 27 years ago when Cindy and I were living in Jackson, Wyoming. He came by our home one winters day and laid a short tailed weasel out on our living room floor. From that day on our shared enthusiasm for learning about wildlife has made us close friends, not to mention sounding boards for each other.
Recently, I interviewed three time Emmy nominated cameraman Jeff Hogan via phone, asking a few questions I thought the wildlife public would be interested in.
D.H. “Tell me a little about how you got started”.
J.H. “Jeff Foote who is a famous wildlife photographer and film maker happened to see a slide show I did on great horned owls. He was about to start a film on great gray owls so he hired me to assist him”.
D.H. “What was the first film you produced and filmed yourself?”
J.H. “Cutthroat Trout of Yellowstone”.
D.H. “I know you’ve worked on dozens of films including “Planet Earth”. How many have you produced and filmed yourself?”
J.H. “Let’s see. After the trout film I did “Yellowstone Wild”. Then “American Beaver”, “The Great Bear Rain Forest”, “Wings of Thunder” and just completed “American Cougar”.
D.H. “What has been your most rewarding film experience thus far?”
J.H. “Working with David Attenborough on “Life of Mammals” was definitely one of the highlights of my career. I even had him sign my lens.”
D.H. “Tell me about your latest project.”
J.H. “I was at a friends birthday party and got to talking with Howard Quigley and his cougar crew. Between us we decided to pitch the film to Geo. The new National Geographic Channel decided to take a chance on us.
D.H. “Filming mountain lions must have been difficult.”
J.H. “To be honest we struggled early. But once we figured out our home made camera traps and how to place them, we started gathering footage and things turned around for us.”
“This film definitely challenged me physically. Following cougars daily up through vertical cliffs was either going to kill me or get me in shape. The hard work
did pay off. We captured some never before filmed behavior. The rarest footage was probably when I located them breeding.
D.H. “What film project would you like to do yet?”
J.H. “I’d like to do my own great gray owl film with my son, Finn. Maybe someday he will follow in my footsteps.
D.H. “Why great gray owls?”
J.H. “Because that’s where it all began for me. It would be nice to do an updated version using high definition.”
D.H. “Finally, who have you always looked up to?”
J.H. “Frank Craighead”.
D.H. “Why?”
J.H. “Because of his work as a true naturalist.”

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View slide show

Jeff Hogan in Lamar Valley

Mountain Lion On A Carcass

Jeff Filming His Favorite Subject

Jeff Filming A Great Gray Owl Chick