A Flavor of Białowieża Honey. How I was shooting ”Heartbeat of the Primeval Forest” series (in Polish)

Author (text and photographs): Jan Walencik

Conception and editorial: Jan Walencik
Language consultation: Marta Sobocińska
Collaboration: AGENCJA HAJSTRA
Proofreading: Marta Kołodziej-Sobocińska

Volume: 224 pages
Format: 25 x 19 cm
Photographs: 257
Binding: hard full-paper

Scanning of photographs: Jarosław Chyra, CHYRA.pl
Graphic design, typesetting and page layout: ŻUBROWA 10
Production arrangements: Krzysztof Komar
Printing and binding: Białostockie Zakłady Graficzne S.A.

Publisher ŻUBROWA 10 JAN WALENCIK
Publication co-financed by the Provincial Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Bialystok
Year of release: 2010
ISBN: 978-83-930136-0-9

Front cover of Jan Walencik’s book A Flavor of Białowieża Honey. How I was shooting ”Heartbeat of the Primeval Forest” series. ŻUBROWA 10 JAN WALENCIK, 2010.

The book A Flavor of Białowieża Honey. How I was shooting ”Heartbeat of the Primeval Forest” series is the first publication of ŻUBROWA 10 JAN WALENCIK. It is also the first book on the Polish market of the making of type, describing behind the scenes of the creation of a nature film, i.e. How is it done? It consists of ten chapters (plus a preface and supplement):

  1. Instead of an Introduction: a Flavor of Honey  
  2. A Polish Nature Series?
  3. Who Needs the Screenplay?
  4. Twenty One Months In the Primeval Forest
  5. How To Make Things More Difficult For Yourself, i.e. Inventions
  6. Alone On My Own
  7. Not Always Wild, a Wild Nature
  8. Behind Or In Front of the Camera?
  9. What To Do With Thirty Kilometres of Film Negative
10. The Magnetism of Nature

Here is what the author himself says about the content of the book:

The profession of nature filmmaker, although original and rare – in my opinion the best possible one – is often judged as one continuous idyll in the bosom of Nature. Having had, together with my wife, some experience in this profession, I can say that apart from a whole load of great emotions and joys, but also frequent stresses, it is a regular, I emphasise: regular and responsible job. Maybe even more responsible at times, but also more abnormal than other professions.

It is generally thought that a nature filmmaker is someone rather haunted, who runs around meadows, forests and mountains or swamps with the joy of a bee. When he wants to, he rests (probably most of the time), when he feels like it, he shoots something, and when he has filmed, he puts it all together, snap – snap and it’s done. Nothing difficult, a beautiful life! Who wouldn’t want to! What’s more, you’re in Nature all the time and you get paid for it – for sure a lot of money!

Some people see in such work only the romance of contact with Nature. Yes, my heart is hammering and my hands are shaking with excitement when a pair of cranes with a young bird passes near my hide on the marsh, but this does not necessarily benefit for my camera and lens, because the viewer delighted with this wildlife observation will suddenly say: what a bungler cameraman, unable to maintain a stable image. (…)

In this book, I unveil the filmmaking workshop, showing from the backstage how the five-part nature television series Heartbeat of the Primeval Forest was made over three years. These are my usual reflections and observations. I have not described them systematically day by day, but have grouped them into several thematic chapters. I hope that these first-hand impressions will shed some new light, make the workshop of a nature filmmaker a little clearer and make it possible to understand how many different long-term tasks have to be undertaken in order to produce a few half-hour films.  I will be delighted if they find an addressee, especially among young people, who with their inherent excitement and passion want to discover Nature with photography and film in their adult life. With this book, I would also like to thank all those who have supported and helped us over the years of working with the camera – those without whom many of the films could not have been made, and certainly without their knowledge and kindness, Heartbeat… could not have been made.

Jan Walencik

We present twenty five original pages of the book A Flavor of Białowieża Honey. How I was shooting ”Heartbeat of the Primeval Forest” series –a full chapter of Twenty One Months in the Primeval Forest.