I have never been to Florida, but the name brings a few things to my mind: Unbroken sunshine, sandy beaches, wetlands and alligators.

Merritt Island National Nature Reserve at Dawn

Thankfully, Drew Fulton, a photographer and filmmaker, has embarked on a journey to educate people like me and do away with these clichés.

‘Filming Florida’ is a 3 year project with an aim to capture the beauty and diversity of Florida’s landscape and wildlife. At the end of the project, there will be an exhibition, a movie and a book. Drew promises viewers will travel through a mangrove tunnel, fly low over the dry prairies, and dive deep into the natural springs. They will witness the regeneration of a landscape after fire, the diversity of insects found in an urban empty lot, and the interconnectedness of the state’s diverse ecosystems.

Feeding Frenzy at Orlando Wetlands Park

If anybody has the background to make this project work, it is Drew. He was born and raised in Florida and is looking back on an already exciting career. He was awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship which took him to Australia for a year. Then, a National Geographic Young Explorer grant saw him exploring the rain forests of Costa Rica. He went on to create an interactive panorama of a 200 year old shipwreck off the coast of Turkey and recently, he assisted National Geographic photographer, Tim Laman, during 4 trips to Australia. Just to name a few highlights.

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For ‘Filming Florida,’ Drew has set himself the ultimate challenge. I have worked on demanding projects myself, but producing a book and movie within a 3 year time frame, without a crew, or even an assistant, is a huge undertaking. And that doesn’t even count in the regular blog entries, behind the scene and nature profile movies updates, and posting a species profile every day which will make roughly 1000 species over the 3 years of the project. How he will cope with the obviously enormous workload remains to be seen. Below is one of the episodes from Drew’s series, “Behind the Lens.”

Behind the Lens: Eagles or Coots?

‘Filming Florida’ will take advantage of the newest technologies. The movie will be one of the first nature documentaries filmed exclusively on 4K cameras. Drew will also use extreme slow motion and long term timelapse capture as well as a multi-rotor remote controlled helicopter. This is if all goes to plan – Funding a project of this magnitude is a challenge in itself and the movie clips to date have been shot with a Nikon D800.

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Blue Jay (left) and set up for field studio bird photography

My favorite part is that the whole project is open source. Regular video and written updates on the ‘Filming Florida’ website gives a unique view behind the scenes and will also be shared via social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. This is not only about showcasing Florida’s nature and wildlife, Filming Florida is also about Drew’s journey of discovery and creation, his daily challenges and the highs and lows of a photographer’s life. It’s actually a bit like Big Brother, but with style and substance.

The project went live this January and I am looking very forward watching the story unfold. You can check it out too on the website.

CREDITS: All photographs by  Drew Fulton/Filming Florida are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.