It's that wonderful time of year again when steller sea lions (and some Californian's) flock to the rocky shores of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Ready to feast on the herring that come into the area for their annual spawn, the sea lions are often the subject of many documentary projects. This year however we were pleased to be part of an ongoing alternative arts project that aims to capture and present the herring spawn in a very new and innovative way.
Our job was to assist fellow videographer Maxwel Hohn (seen above), and underwater photographer Tiare Boyes. Between Seaproof.tv and Maxwel, we've probably done more sea lion diving and video than anyone, and we've now become the go-to experts for most filming projects that feature sea lions on the west coast.
The final project won't be live until the end of the year but we'll post something here when we have more details.
In the meantime you can see more of Maxwel's incredible work here, and learn more about Tiare here.
Ah, the British Columbia summer. Lots of fantastic diving and snorkelling in the freshwater canyons, rivers and lakes. Camping, BBQ's, wetsuits, paddle boards and of course, lots of photos. Its a great time of year to explore lesser known parts of BC, including a nice little lake towards the top of Vancouver Island, home to tens of thousands of tadpoles.
At around 11am each day the tadpoles move from deeper water into the shallow, warmer water to feed, then around 4pm, they move back down. Its what we've been calling the daily tadpole commute. There are streams of them, like little dark highways weaving in and out of the colourful lily pads. It's incredible. I can hear a David Attenborough voice over talking about the "great migration".
Some of the tadpoles have little legs, some don't. Some are big and chubby, some are small. But they are all very, very cute! Snorkelling above them, just floating in the water looking down, you see the black highway of tadpoles beneath you, tens of thousands of the little guys on their way for lunch. Occasionally one will bump into your camera dome and their little mouth will try and see if it's edible. Each one has a little personality, like a character in a Pixar movie. If I could draw, they'd now be a children's book called Chadpole, telling the adventures of Chad, the tadpole, and his band of friends!
It's another great reminder that our precious freshwater resources also hold incredible marine habitats, extraordinary life cycles, and offer such great educational resources. It is a very fragile environment, and great care must be taken when observing, but it is such a unique and fascinating site to witness, one I wish others could see firsthand.
Since exploring the Bell Island World War 2 shipwrecks a few year ago, we couldn't wait to get back to Newfoundland and the good folks at Ocean Quest Adventures.
This year we had it all - icebergs, shipwrecks, whale skulls and marine life in abundance! This trip was purely for fun, but as always we had a camera with us!
We just dried ourselves off after a fun shoot with a fire department public safety team. The video, for Shearwater Research, will demonstrate how public safety dive teams can take advantage of their Near Eye Remote Display technology incorporated into their amazing NERD 2 dive computer.
We've produced a video for recreational NERD 2 divers, and we've been using the NERD 2 for about a year and a half now - and love it, but to see how it can be incorporated into safety diving has been really interesting. Displaying depth, tank pressure, air time remaining, NDL, and a compass - on the same easy to read screen, hands free, right where you need it, has become an indispensable tool for these teams.
We'll keep you posted for the final video release... but for now... back to the edit!
Maxwel Hohn is a local BC underwater photographer, drone pilot, commercial diving instructor and all round good guy. He's also one of our dive buddies and a fellow GH5 user. A few weeks back he invited us to head out with him and fellow photographer Ryan Miller to visit The Abyss, a freshwater dive site in Gold River, north west Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
The site is quite something. The soft limestone has been carved into an incredibly canyon by the Gold River's high winter water flow. During the summer the river calms allowing divers to jump in. Not only that but it's crystal clear and a lovely 20 degrees. Wetsuit time in Canada!
We never actually intended to make a video from this day, we were just out practicing and learning more about our Panasonic GH5 and Aquatica housing, but it soon became clear this site deserved a little bit of love! So we got a quick audio interview with Maxwel and slapped it together with a few clips. We think it turned out pretty well!
The GH5 is great in this environment. There's enough light to utilize the GH5's VFR mode - or slow motion as its also known. You still have to crank up the ISO, and noise does became a major factor in the blacks, but you can get away with some nice shots, especially for web audiences.
For more on BC visit our little site www.beneathbc.com - for more of Maxwel's work visit www.salishsky.com
Our most recent project for scuba diving brand Shearwater Research has seen us take to the skies. Not many scuba diving videos have an element of falling a few thousand feet through the air, but this one does. We can't say too much about it at this point, but the video should be out soon, and we're pretty sure Trisha will be singing up for sky diving any day now!
In this photo Seaproof.tv's Trisha and sky diver Krystal do a quick run through before take off.
We shot some fun 360's of the fantastic Under the Jungle store in Mexico, just out of frame - us hiding from the camera that sees all!
We've just returned from a week-long shoot near Akumal, Mexico, part of the Yucatan Peninsula. South of Playa del Carmen, this area is home to vast landscapes of incredibly beautiful cenotes.
A cenote is a deep well or sinkhole, formed by the collapse of the surface limestone, often exposing water filled caves. It is a beacon for cave divers and explorers from around the world, and at the center of it all is Under the Jungle, a unique cave diving operation, owned and operated by Natalie Gibb and Vincent Rouquette-Cathala.
Unlike a lot of dive operations, Under the Jungle aren't looking for a mass of tourists eager to strap on a tank and go for a guided dives. In fact, their very location makes it unreachable for most. Instead, they're much more focussed on providing top tier service for experienced, passionate, and responsible cave, cavern, and technical divers.
Our relationship with Under the Jungle began just over a week ago when we touched down in Mexico to begin a week-long shoot for an upcoming Shearwater Research project. Natalie and her husband Rory, were our guides, hosts, and models for the week. We quickly learned about the area, the cenotes, and the way they do business. To say we had a lot of fun, adventurous, and great experiences would be an understatement!
Such focus on quality rather than quantity is rare within diving, but these guys truly mean it. They want to promote safe diving, cenote conservation, and responsible diving practices. They have a respect for the land, the locals, and the future of the area. It shines through in their business and is an reassuring attitude to be exposed to.
Natalie Gibb is herself, fast becoming a well known figure in the diving world. Her years of work exploring Mexico's cenotes is substantial, and her attitude towards sharing it is infectious. Her recent speaking tour in the US and Canada was hugely successful, and her video work increasingly impressive.
We had a fantastic time exploring and shooting inside the cenotes with Natalie and Rory. We can't yet share the results with anyone as it's an ongoing project. But rest assured, we got some awesome video! We'll also be putting together an interview video with Natalie, so keep an eye out.
For now though, give serious consideration to joining the Under the Jungle team in Mexico, they have an excellent training program, great accommodations with their onsite Limestone Lodge, and unparalleled knowledge of the area. We can't wait to return!
Seaproof.tv's Trisha Stovel was recently part of a shoot for Volkswagen. The goal for the underwater team was to get a shot of their new car travelling over an ice road in Yellowknife, northern Canada. Discovery Channel's Daily Planet were also there covering the event, their segment screened a couple of days ago and you can watch it above, including Trish on camera - instead of being behind it!
Canada may well be known as the Great White North to some, but here on Vancouver Island the weather is pretty temperate. Until yesterday. In the last 24 hours the Comox / Campbell River region has seen about 12 inches of snow, and we love it!
This week we have the pleasure of joining Becky and David Schott from Liquid Productions on a shoot here in our own backyard. We'll be assisting and spotting for the Liquid Production team on their mission to film octo's, sea lions, tube worms, walls, reefs, wrecks and all manner of BC underwater wonders.
There's nothing quite like arriving at a dive site to see snow capped rocks, and clear emerald water, whilst a bald eagle feeds on shore, and an otter swims in front of you. You couldn't plan this any better!