"What was amazing was to sit among the tide pools, on the rocky shores of San Juan Island, and see the life contained in the waters of the Salish Sea.
We saw harbor seals a plenty, a Steller sea lion, vibrant orange starfish (healthy!), a family of river otters (there are not usually sea otters in Puget Sound, just river otters), bald eagles and scores of fish.
We spent more than six hours filming from those precarious rocks.
At the end of the day we shot a dramatic time lapse of the fiery, orange sunset.
We did not see killer whales (though now I know where they were yesterday) but it was well worth having made the trip. Every animal we filmed is a part of this story. None of that is "wasted footage."
Going into next week, we're trying to knockout three key interview in one week.
Apparently, there's no rest for 'Operation: Clandestine Sea Panda.'
...and we wouldn't have it any other way!"
Even with temperatures hovering around 20-degrees, Shari and I went out in search of salmon yesterday.
They weren't hard to find....well, mostly because we went to a hatchery in Bellingham.
The salmon restoration efforts of the hatcheries factor into our story.
There were only a few stragglers in the holding tanks yesterday. The bulk of the runs have ended and the rearing of new fish won't be in full-swing until after the turn of the year.
What we were there for, though, was the human element. We met up with a biologist at the hatchery and discussed our film and the salmon at length.
The folks at Belllingham Technical College are very accommodating for opening their operations up to us.
As the skies above cleared and the sun started to peek out (though the bone-chilling temps remained), we decided to try our luck shooting sample footage and scouting out nearby creeks where salmon runs will happen this spring.
The leaves were frost-covered and announced our presence to the world via loud "crunching" as we walked along the wooded path down to the creek.
I took our HD underwater camera and tried to position it just below the waterline. Within the span of two seconds, the rock I had knelt on shifted forward and the newly-arranged center of gravity propelled me face-first into the creek. At the last possible moment, I twisted my body to where I'd land on my shoulder and arm. I did not do that so much to save myself injury from a face dive into a stony creek. No, I was trying to rescue the camera.
Aside from getting a bit wet and muddy, I'm pleased to say that neither the camera - nor I - were much worse for the wear.
The crew spent the day yesterday on San Juan Island. The mission was to do some location scouting, shoot some B roll and hope an orca or two dropped by.
Sadly, the killer whales did not get the memo. Still, we had some great success and it was a BEAUTIFUL day!
One thing we were about to do was shoot 1.5-minutes of underwater footage in the kelp forest that is one of the haunts of the Southern Residents.
The vibrant colors and hauntingly beautiful lighting gave us goosebumps after we reviewed the raw footage. This is going to be incredible when we finally do get lucky and get orca in the shots.
I'll be posting a short clip of our sample shots soon.
- Rick W.
Film director Rick Wood and co-director Shari Macy have worked on several multimedia, television and film projects.