Archive for October, 2009

Hunting Mobulas of Misool

Posted in production, travel, video with tags , , , , , , , on October 12, 2009 by shawnheinrichs

I just received an update from Marit at Misool Eco Resort in Raja Ampat. Looks like this year the anchovy shoals have arrived in full force. Feeding on them are squadrons of Mubula Rays, pelagic fish and sharks. I was there last year during this season and what I witnessed rivaled the baitballs of Cocos and Sardine Run. Below is an update from Marit and a quick video I shot of some of the hunting action.

From Marit:

“September sees the annual migration of anchovies north from the Banda sea to Misool in southern Raja Ampat. This year has been a bumper season with huge numbers schooling on the reefs all  around Misool Eco Resort. Since the inception of MER’s no take zone, none of the anchovy fishing boats are around. Good news for divers. The anchovies don’t come alone. Schooling Mobula rays of up to 50 individuals round up the anchovies into bait balls then storm in for the attack. Spanish mackerel, giant travelies, schools of jacks, tunas and sharks are all there for the feast.

Swimming out from the wall, divers instantly are surrounded by the pulsating mass of fishes, sometimes so thick that you lose sight of the reef just feet away. It’s a mesmerizing sight with so many fish moving in unison, alternatively flashing on and off as they catch the light each time they turn. The action goes on well into the new year as the mobula and hunting fish feast on their abundant prey.”

Landscape Timelapse – Tetons

Posted in tips & technique, travel, video with tags , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2009 by shawnheinrichs

I just returned from the Jackson Hole Wildlife Fillm Festival. This bi-annual festival is probably the most significant gathering of wildlife and conservation filmmakers anywhere. Though I had very little time to enjoy the films featured at the festival, I did connect with a lot of old and new friends. Probably the most inspiring part of the festival was seeing how many filmmakers were concerned about environmental issues and how to reach audiences with these messages.

Between meetings and session, I spent some time playing with my Sony EX1 which I had fortunately brought with me. Given the incredible fall landscape opportunities that the Tetons present, I couldn’t resist setting up some fun time-lapse shots. With my tripod sitting in my closet back at the office, I had to make due with a backpack and some padding as my camera base. Unfortunately with the wind blowing, it was all but impossible to get rock solid shots with this set up. That said, I did manage to get some quality results.

After a few rounds of experimenting, I found some settings that I felt really worked. Among the takeaways were:

  • Very slow shutter works best to smooth motion
  • Fixed aperture slightly under-exposed works to offset any over-exposure risk as sun moves in and out of clouds
  • Less frames and more frequent record intervals creates smooth motion
  • Don’t use “-3 Gain” as it clips highlights
  • I nice picture profile with optimized gamma curve requires minimal post
  • More clouds and wind create more dynamic sequence
  • If it’s even remotely possible someone could walk into your frame, they WILL!
  • Next time remember the tripod 😦


SEAL Sardine Run

Posted in production, travel, video with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by shawnheinrichs

This June we began work on a film about the Sardine Run. Incredible numbers of dolphins, sharks, cape gannets and whales converge on the Wild Coast during the Sardine Run. Ready to great them are a select group of people who have planned their lives around this extraordinary event. This is a story about the Sardine Run and how it has shaped the lives of both the marine creatures that depend upon it for their survival and the people who can’t escape its call.

The target audience for this film is wildlife enthusiasts, dive tourists, eco tourists, adventure travelers. For this audience we intend to offer a new perspective on the Sardine Run, where viewers become part of the chase and are drawn into the lives of the people who have committed themselves to the Run. Viewers will be captivated by heart pounding action and mesmerized by stunning footage of diving gannets, charging whales and dolphins, swirling baitballs and hunting sharks.  At the same time they will discover how the pioneering work of certain individuals have made the Sardine Run accessible to the common man, that the Sardine Run is so much more than baitballs, and that once it gets in your blood, you can never escape its pull!

Blue Sphere Media teamed up with Sea-Air-Land Expeditions (SEAL) in 2009 to film this documentary, with the goal to capture the essence of the Sardine Run  through the eyes of SEAL, their crew and guests. With more filming to do in 2010 to complete the documentary, we created a short musical piece of 2009’s adventures, a film that captured the motion, excitement and incredible energy of the Sardine Run!