Archive for whales

Tonga – Ocean Voice Great Whales

Posted in conservation, photography, production, travel, video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2011 by shawnheinrichs

I just returned from several weeks of filming in the Kingdom of Tonga with my partner John Weller. We are working on a global project, The Ocean Voice Film Series, addressing conservation issues and strategies at all levels of the ecosystem. This stop of the project took us back to the Kingdom of Tonga, located as far as one can get from a continent in the South-Central Pacific.

With the invaluable help of our good friend Tony Wu, we returned again this year to complete the filming and documentary work. As with last year, the weather proved to be a real challenge. For all but perhaps a day, the wind howled over the islands, driven by a strong high-pressure cell to the south of us. Fortunately for us, and in stark contrast to last season, this year was a banner year for mothers and calves, with total ID’d calves running at twice the running average. Capitalizing on this, we managed some stunning encounters which again, created lifetime memories for both John and I.

The following are a selection of images. Enjoy!

Vava'u Island Group in Tonga Kingdom

Calf Rises Slowly to Greet Us While Mother Watches from Below

Humpback Calf Playfully Approaches in Tonga Blue Water

Humpback Calf Breaches As We Pass By

Mother and Calf Swim over Reefs in 40 Meters of Vis

Calf Playfully Swims Past as Mother Chase After

Tail Shot from Zero Meters - How Small is Baby Compared to Mom!

Calf Rises into Sun Rays With Mother Tailing Behind

Water Pours from Mothers Mouth as She Breaches

Breaching Whale Throwing Scissor Maneuver

John Weller Likes Big Lenses

Marshall Lally Grinning After Day with Whales

Stunning Hard Coral Formations of Tonga Reefs

Calf and Mother on Surface Over Shallow Reef

Mother and Calf Drifting By

Mother and Calf Humpback Rise from Shallow Reef

White Sided Mother with Calf

Humpback Calf Twirls Below

Curious Calf Playing on Surface

Calf Rolls and Twists on Surface

Close Up of Curious Calf

Calf Rolls Over for Better Look as Mother Swims Below

Good Bye Whales 😦

HDR View of Harbor in the Morning

HDR Pigs - They are Everywhere in Tonga!

Enormous Spider That Could (and Would) Eat You!

Close Encounter With Yearling - a First for Us

Nose to Nose with Mother and Calf

Fisheye Lens - VERY Close to Pectoral Fin!

Calf Injured by Unidentified Source

Mother Rises to Great Playful Calf

There are Mantas (alfredi) in Tonga!

Islet with Abandoned Military Post - Surrounded by Tonga Blue

What Can I Say!

Tidal Pools with Perpetual Waterfalls

John Weller Filming One of the Most Beautiful Islands We Have Visited

Harbor View from Paradise Hotel

Milky Way Over Harbor with Diver in Water

Till Next Time!

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!

San Diego Undersea Film Festival – Show Opener

Posted in conservation, news, production, video with tags , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2008 by shawnheinrichs

Sardine Run: Charging Dolphins – Breaching Whales earned the special honor of being the show opener for this years San Diego UnderSea Film Festival.

Charging Dolphins – Breaching Whales” 5 minute preview of the full film drops you into the sardine run with the dolphins and whales taking center stage. The day begins on the shores of the wild coast. Moving off shore, we join a group of humpbacks migrating north. The activity heats up as common dolphins trap a shoal of sardines. Joined by cape gannets, they launch an all-out assault on the baitball.  Further offshore, pods of bottlenose dolphins catch wind of the activity and charge in. Will they make it in time for the feast?

Video: Charging Dolphins – Breaching Whales

Dive Photo Guide – Whale Wisdom Feature

Posted in conservation, news, video with tags , , , , , , on July 10, 2008 by shawnheinrichs

A new conservation short film, “Whale Wisdom – a Mother Humpback’s View” has just been released by Shawn Heinrichs, an award winning independent filmmaker. The film has been produced in English and Japanese with a Spanish version coming soon. With the International Whaling Commission meetings kicking off later this month in Chile and the recent announcement by certain nations that they are resuming trade in whale meat despite a UN ban, the film seeks to reach a broader audience and encourage them to take a stand for whale conservation.

Online Article: Dive Photo Guide

Video: Whale Wisdom – A Mother Humpback’s View

 

DiveFilm Podcast – Sardine Run and Whale Wisdom

Posted in conservation, news, production, video with tags , , , , , , , on June 5, 2008 by shawnheinrichs

With the International Whaling Commission meeting just around the corner, DiveFilm“` HD Video Podcast has released as its latest episode, Shawn Heinrichs’s “Whale Wisdom – A Mother Humpback’s View.” This short film evokes the world of a mother and calf as whaling resumes in much of the world’s ocean.

Other great episodes of DiveFilm Podcasts recently released include Irish filmmaker Vincent Hyland’s homage to the ocean life off the South West coast of Ireland, and more of the award-winning video entries from the 2008 Our-World Underwater / Wetpixel / DivePhotoGuide Competition, including Simon Spear’s “Porbeagles in Peril” and Shawn Heinrichs’ “The Sardine Run.”

Shawn Heinrichs is a conservation filmmaker based in Longmont, Colorado, USA.  To learn more about Shawn and his work, please visit his website, BlueSphereMedia.com.

-Mary Lynn

Video: Whale Wisdom – A Mother Humpback’s View

Video: Sardine Run: Charging Dolphins-Breaching Whales

 

Australasia – Whale Wisdom Featured

Posted in conservation, news, video with tags , , , , , on June 5, 2008 by shawnheinrichs

Australasia Scuba Diver features the latest conservation film by Shawn Heinrichs. “Whale Wisdom – Mother Humpback’s View” opens with a mother humpback whale resting below while her calf ascends to the surface and explores the wonders of this strange new world. She offers her calf encouragement and assurance, but also warns of dangers to come. She recalls how commercial whaling all but wiped out many whale species and how even now, over 20 years since the ban on commercial whaling, the killing continues. In her parting thoughts she worries if this year they will take her only child.

Shawn Heinrichs is a conservation filmmaker based in Longmont, Colorado, USA.  To learn more about Shawn and his work, please visit his website, BlueSphereMedia.com.

Video: Whale Wisdom – A Mother Humpback’s View

Silver Bank – Conserving Whales Project

Posted in conservation, production, travel, video with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2008 by shawnheinrichs

Over the past century most whale species have been hunted to the brink of extinction. Commercial whaling was banned by the International Whaling Commission in 1986 yet over 25,000 whales have been hunted since then. With nations such as Japan, Norway and Iceland pushing for the legal resumption of commercial whaling, the situation is critical.

In March of 2008 I lead a charter group to the Sliver Bank of the Dominican Republic. In the months of January to April each year, humpback whales gather in the thousands to give birth to their young and mate. In all directions whales are breaching, tale slapping and diving.

Below the surface, mother humpbacks care for their young calves. Words cannot describe the magic of these encounters. While the mother whale rests below, the calf will rise to the surface to breath, frolic and explore its world. We the guests become babysitters if we are careful enough to earn the mothers trust.

The footage from these encounters captured some of this magic. From this, the concept for “Whale Wisdom – a Mother Humpback’s View” was born. The goal was to step back from the political and racial debates that rage on about whaling and simply present the whales view on the issue.

The trip was a great success, leaving a lasting impression on all the guest and creating a foundation for my conservation film.