Nature up close: Filming nature

Mauricio Handler specializes in underwater videography and photography.

Aquaterra Films

By "Sunday Morning" contributing videographer Judy Lehmberg.

Acadia National Park is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River. Located on Mt. Desert Island in Maine, Acadia will celebrate its centennial in 2019 as one of the more popular parks, with more than 3,000,000 visitors last year, many of whom go to see the leaves change colors in the fall. This was beautifully on display in this past week's "Sunday Morning" Nature segment, shot at Acadia.

I have been watching "Sunday Morning" as long as it has been broadcast, and I've always wondered who was filming the ending Nature segments, so I decided to find that out. Filming wildlife in their natural settings is extremely difficult and time-consuming. Anyone who does it must have a real passion for it, and be a little crazy to try and make their living this way. Recently I've had the pleasure of meeting some of the cinematographers who film the Nature segments for CBS. They are unique individuals, but there is a common thread -- they are all extremely passionate and tenacious.

This week's Acadia National Park segment was filmed by Mauricio Handler. Although he specializes in underwater footage, Mauricio enjoys filming terrestrial subjects as well. He was born in Chile between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean and has always lived close to the sea.  He first discovered the undersea world where he attended college at the University of Puerto Rico, where he graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts.

His discovery of our ocean's wonders has guided his career path to this day. It has allowed him to travel the world and capture creatures from our shared mythology in both still and motion photography, from whales to wolves, from sharks to dragons. All have been the driving force behind his work.


Nature photographer and videographer Mauricio Handler.

Julia Handler

After college Mauricio honed his photography skills for 20 years both on land and underwater in the British Virgin Islands. It was there he developed his visual eye, in particular through publishing and photography, and had the good fortune to meet world-renowned National Geographic photographer David Doubilet, the father of modern underwater photography. It was an encounter that changed the direction of his life forever, as Mauricio assisted him for many years while elevating his own standards and visual perspective. He became a part of National Geographic's premier underwater photography team until 2009.

Although Mauricio made his living as a stills photographer, he always wanted to film "in motion" as this was truly the way he saw the world. He didn't begin filming fulltime until 2010. His ability to film underwater was facilitated by Aquatica, a Montreal-based professional housing manufacturer with whom he designed a new housing for his RED Epic video camera system.

During his years of travel to our planet's wild places, especially the oceans, Mauricio has seen tremendous change, and not for the better. He has seen how we've exploited the seas by overfishing and polluted them with the endless contamination of garbage, plastics, sewage and other chemicals. Global warming is real and we have caused it. It is our responsibility to assure our planet has clean oceans, clean drinking water and clean air. To that end, Mauricio now focuses more than ever on threatened ecosystems and the species dependent upon them.

Some of his next adventures include filming beluga whales in northern Canada, blue whales in Chile, and sharks in the tropics, as well as inspiring landscapes in Maine, Wyoming and Iceland.

Mauricio and his wife and business partner, Julia, are now based in Maine, which is obviously extremely different than the tropical Virgin Islands, but they love both areas. They own Aquaterra Films and Handlerphoto Expeditions. They lead wildlife trips especially for photographers and filmmakers, both on land and underwater. It is their goal to place their clients in the center of wildlife encounters.

Mauricio also produces original natural history motion content for documentaries and commercial use. His still photography can be viewed at National Geographic Creative and movie clips at

Here are some of Mauricio's recent Nature segments:

Judy Lehmberg is a former college biology teacher who now shoots nature videos.

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To watch extended "Sunday Morning" Nature videos click here!