Kentucky is typically not the first state that comes to mind when discussing biodiversity in America, but one producer hopes to show that the state has more going for it than just squirrels and deer.
From ducks and eagles to Rocky Mountain elk and bison, “Kentucky Seasons” will show the true breadth of Kentucky’s ecosystems and wildlife.
“Kentucky Seasons” will air on KET on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m.
Producer Justin Allen said the story would be told without narration, beginning at the start of spring and running the gamut of all four seasons in Kentucky. He added that he and his crew worked “painstakingly” hard to ensure there would be no manmade objects in any of the footage and that viewers would feel fully immersed in the environment.
“We really made an effort to shoot it in a way that puts the viewer right in that place,” he said.
Allen said they managed to capture elk on film in three different locations, at times getting within 10 yards. Additionally, small herds of elk and bison could also be found in Land Between the Lakes. Though the animals in LBL were technically in a large fenced perimeter, he said they were very much wild.
In addition to iconic Kentucky locations like Cumberland Falls, Mammoth Cave and LBL, they also wanted to show places that perhaps Kentuckians may not know about, like Boone’s Ridge, Yahoo Falls, Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, the Pinnacles of Berea, Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, and Ballard Wildlife Management Area. He noted that Ballard County’s Wildlife Management Area was the only place they visited twice.
“We chose to go to Ballard more than once because it’s so different in summer than it is in winter,” he said. “In the summer, you can see all these various birds and eagles all the time, but in winter (you see) all kinds of ducks because of the Mississippi flyway.”
Allen and his crew underwent challenging shoots and early mornings to provide the best possible footage. One particular shot did not contain animals at all, and was actually time-lapsed footage of the sunrise from the pinnacles of Berea. For that, they hiked across miles of terrain with 40 pounds of gear, and they had to arrive before 4 a.m. to set up their equipment.
By the end of production, Allen approximated that they had hiked over 80 miles with heavy equipment, and drove over 9,000 miles across the state, from eastern Kentucky’s cold mountains, to the sweltering heat of western Kentucky.
“It really feels fantastic to have it buttoned up and finished, and reviews so far have been good,” he said.
He added the show could not have been done it without the crew, which included videographers, editors and the audio post people, which he considered “Hollywood caliber.”
Encore showings of “Kentucky Seasons” will also be broadcasted on KET2 on Sunday, Nov. 29, at 5:30 p.m., and once more on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6:30 p.m.