A Dream trip to Hawaii, March 2012

I had an amazing experience visiting Hawaii in March 2012 with my mom Martha and her good friend Jan. We visited the Big Island of Volcanoes and hiked to the lava which was pretty epic. We watched the ocean crashing against the shore and enjoyed lots of swimming and dreaming by the sea. Then we went to visit Maui, where we encountered humpbacks galore! We connected with the Pacific Whale Foundation in Lahiana, Maui, and went out on a few sunrise whale watching adventures and saw the humpbacks in their glory. They were breaching like crazy! Just imagine flying whales! That is what we saw. What an incredible experience. See some photos from our trip below. Oh and I must say, Hawaii is one of the most amazing places I have ever been, I highly recommend a visit!

more photos to come…

A Dream trip to Hawaii, March 2012

I had an amazing experience visiting Hawaii in March 2012 with my mom Martha and her good friend Jan. We visited the Big Island of Volcanoes and hiked to the lava which was pretty epic. We watched the ocean crashing against the shore and enjoyed lots of swimming and dreaming by the sea. Then we went to visit Maui, where we encountered humpbacks galore! We connected with the Pacific Whale Foundation in Lahiana, Maui, and went out on a few sunrise whale watching adventures and saw the humpbacks in their glory. They were breaching like crazy! Just imagine flying whales! That is what we saw. What an incredible experience. See some photos from our trip below. Oh and I must say, Hawaii is one of the most amazing places I have ever been, I highly recommend a visit!

more photos to come…

Waterfalls in Tennessee Cave – Magic

On our road trip to Florida – my parents and I decided to stop in Tennessee to see Ruby Falls. If you drive to Florida taking i75 – you might notice all of the Ruby Falls signs along the way. We decided to take a detour on Feb 20th 2012 to check out the falls. The falls are located 250feet underground deep inside a cave located at mountain lookout in Chattanooga, Tennessee. For about 15 dollars they will take you on a tour underground – via high speed elevator 250 feet down and then on a walking tour through the cave tunnel which leads to the falls. They are pretty magical. Click the photo to see more.

 

See images that inspire me on my Pinterest

I just joined Pinterest.com and started pinning images that inspire me on there. It is a cool place to see images and post images you like and share with others.  See my inspirational boards here http://pinterest.com/sparklestarr/ so far I have made boards for killer whales, wild places, true love, faces, dreamscape, animals in the wild, natural and winter. Check it out! I hope to add more images as I go…

 

 

 

 

 

Listening to Whales

I just finished reading the book – Listening to Whales by Alexandra Morton. I have always been fascinated with killer whales and it was such a treat to get the inside scoop from a woman who has researched killer whales for over 25yrs.

Alexandra speaks about her life photographing the whales dorsal fins and saddles which each are distinct and she eventually got very familiar with each whale and pod by name and category in the northern Vancouver Island waters.

She had experienced the Atlantic salmon farms rise up on the coastlines of the Broughton Archipelago where she lives and has witnessed the devastation to the natural eco system that they bring. The whales have fled the area because of the loud blasting noises the salmon farms had used to scare off seals and porpoises from the fenced in farms in the ocean (acoustic Harassment Devices (AHD). According to Wikipedia: After Alexandra Morton sent thousands of letters to the government opposing the use of AHD’s, and the salmon farmers finally withdrew their use in 2001 but the killer whales still have not come back to the Archipalago.

Alexandra continues to live in Echo Bay and she runs a research station in the small northern community. An environmentalist at heart she strongly believes in protecting the natural habitat and the eco system where she lives.

I realized after reading her book that I had actually paddled right by the research station in echo bay in the Broughton Archipelago. If I had only known more about Alexandra Morton at that time… It would have been wonderful to stop in and say hello and meet her in person. Maybe it will happen one day.

I came across a great article about Alexandra here: http://kickasscanadians.ca/dr-alexandra-morton

More info on Alexandra and her work can be found on:

http://raincoastresearch.org/

http://www.salmonaresacred.org

http://salmoncoast.org/

If you are interested please take a peek at a Delta kayak promo video that I assisted in filming while on an 8 day sea kayaking trip in the Johnstone Strait and Broughton Archipelago Marine Park - http://vimeo.com/12817311

A Whale Story

I was driving in my car recently I heard this amazing whale story on the radio. I was tuned into cbc radio 2 and they were airing a Radiolab podcast  called Animal Minds- tune into 5:10min into the podcast to hear the whale story. Click the Animal Minds link below to listen to the podcast on the Radiolab site.

As I was listening I knew that it was a whale story because of how they were talking about seeing the tail and trying to cut it free. I stopped my car and just listened until the story ended.

Listen and see how the whale thanked the divers personally for saving its life. It is such an amazing story.

Banff Adventure Filmmakers Workshop 2011

I was so excited and inspired to attend the 2011 Adventure filmmakers workshop in Banff. I attended the event from Oct 31-Nov8th.

photo by Natalie Lucier
Banff, Alberta

I have officially returned from my trip to Banff and it was amazingly fantastic! I took the Adventure Filmmakers workshop at the Banff centre and was blown away! Sooo inspirational! I learned from BBC cameraman Keith Partridge who also shot Touching the Void 

one of my FAV docs! And also Michael Brown who runs Serac Adventure Films in Boulder Colorado and he has summited Everest 4x! They were so humble and down to earth and really helped us realize that anything is possible you just need to decide what it is you want to do! And then go make it happen!

A photo with Michael Brown (Left) and Keith Partridge (Right)

They made us realize as filmmakers in the workshop that we needed to learn from each other and that we all have different talents and knowledge to share.

Adventure Filmmakers (some of us!) photo credit - Cam Stoltz

By learning in an inspiring environment, amongst talented filmmakers in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies – it was a vital moment in my life.

I was reminded about the basics of filmmaking. After taking Advanced TV and Film at Sheridan college, I was feeling very overdone with analyzing film and documentaries. But instead of analyzation of what we thought about film and how we sometimes over-think the question of “what is the best camera to use”, instead I was reminded about the importance of simplicity. The art of filmmaking is simple.

  • great story
  • great picture
  • great sound.
And to think about things like who is your audience and where is this film going to get seen? Are key questions to ask.

Bringing it back to basics was the most important thing that could have ever happened to me.

After trying to keep up to speed with the new digital era and the use of green screens, iphones and DSLR’s now I am finding myself going back to the original idea of filmmaking. Coming up with a story that matters to me, planning out the shots, and then going after it. In the end,  sure I’ll make some mistakes but I will learn from them and make it better the next time. The only way to start doing something… is to just do it.

After taking the 2 yr radio broadcasting course at Canadore college –  I learned all there is to know about quality audio and sound production techniques; recording quality audio by using different microphones, microphone placement, learning how to make an interviewee comfortable by learning different interview techniques, recording voice overs, creating sfx, using music beds, recording in WAV, editing in ProTools and exporting as a mixdown track.  When it comes to audio – I do know a lot. I need to stop second guessing myself and use the knowledge that I know.

A lot of it is common sense – for example – if you are shooting an interview, and a big bus drives by as your shooting and doing the interview – what is the best thing to do?  STOP THE INTERVIEW, WAIT FOR THE BUS TO BE GONE AND RE-SHOOT THE  INTERVIEW QUESTION YOU JUST ASKED. Take a moment and gather yourself and let the interviewee know that you are sorry – for cutting them off but you’re going to have to re-shoot that question because a bus just went by and the audio is not going to sound good.  Pretty easy stuff. You can always get lazy and keep the camera rolling and try to edit the audio in post – but it will never sound as good as it can if you realize the problem right away and fix it on location.

After taking radio, I studied Advanced TV and Film at Sheridan majoring in producing and documentary filmmaking. I guess I did learn a few things in school but the most key thing I took away from my time at Sheridan was the 5 week placement period at the end of the school year where I got to intern with Rob Stewart and his film production company Sharkwater Productions in Toronto.  Learning first hand about making documentaries. I was very inspired there!

Now, I after taking the Adventure Filmmakers Workshop – and still yearning for more film education, I realize that I have learned a lot in the past few years. 2 years of radio and 1 year of film and now completing the 8 day adventure filmmakers course in Banff…I do have a lot of education in filmmaking.

I think it is about time I start making some films… eh? (that is for my American friends).  haha

Well… here we go…

Wish me luck!

:)