An award-winning Survival cameraman, Dieter Plage was renowned for his dedication, always going to great lengths to capture unique wildlife footage. Passionate about photography from a young age, Dieter focused on wildlife filming after watching Bernhard Grzimek's Kein Platz für Wilde Tiere (No Place For Wild Animals) (1956). In 1958 he left his native Germany for South Africa, working in a camera store and living on a shoestring whilst trying to make his own films.
His affinity with animals and natural dexterity with a camera quickly brought him to the attention of Grzimek, and after a period working for the famous zoologist, he moved to London in 1968. Grzimek recommended him to Anglia's Survival series and Dieter rapidly became one of their major contributors, working on numerous projects for them over the next twenty five years.
His first production was Survival: First Catch Your Unicorn in 1969, a study of the straight horned oryx of the Namib Desert. Taking risks his entire career, he captured astonishing and dramatic footage, with close encounters with male gorillas, tigers, charging elephants and volcanoes.
A committed cameraman, Dieter often sacrificed his comfort for his footage. For Pelican Flyway (1995) he donned a wetsuit and disguised himself as a pelican in the caustic soda lakes of Ethiopia. He also spent 72 consecutive hours perched in an 80 foot high tower waiting for fishing eagles to perform for Survival: Okavango (1970).
Dieter won many awards throughout his career, including ones for Gorilla (1974), Orang-utan Orphans of the Forest (1976), The Leopard That Changed Its Spots (1979), and Cold on the Equator (1988).
Dieter's prolific filmmaking career came to a premature end in 1993 when, while filming for a Survival documentary, he fell from an airship over the Sumatran rainforest. Plage's enormous work collection continues to be broadcast to this day.