Farewell Mike deGruy

| Mon Feb. 6, 2012 1:29 PM PST

I was saddened to learn of the death of cinematographer Mike deGruy in a helicopter crash off Australia Saturday. He worked wonders with underwater film and video on nature documentaries for Nat Geo, the BBC, James Cameron, and many others.

Now and then I'd run into Mike at great wild places around the world... places where manatees overwintered or whales migrated or corals spawned. We were always part of different film crews. Yet he was unfailingly generous in sharing what he knew of the place or of his latest cool equipment. He was a fun storyteller too. You can watch his TED talk on octopus here.

I admired his adventurousness in trying novel ways to get out his message about the ocean world he loved. Here's a great clip from a little known 1992 BBC series using an unsual documentary approach back then: underwater talking heads. Mike's the guy in the bubble suit.

  

 

In this TEDx talk you can hear Mike talk about his heartbreak over the 2010 BP oil debacle. He was from Mobile, Alabama, and felt the assault on the Gulf's people and wildlife keenly. (BTW, the scars on his arm visible in this clip are from an epic attack by a gray reef shark in the Marshall Islands in 1978.)

The ocean was helped immeasurably by Mike deGruy's work and life... Fair winds and following seas, Mike.

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