Category Archives: Uncategorized

On location: Salmon

On Location: Salmon

In further pursued of the documentary “Salmon Tails”  Subvision Productions went on the road early November to film salmon in the Alberni Valley. Every year a great migration of these two salmon species takes place in this area. We drove to the site and hiked the 10 minutes to the river bank.  The gear that we filmed with included the Panasonic GH4 with a variety of lenses, a GoPro 4 black and a DJI drone with a 4K camera.

In the early morning the Stamp river was loaded with large Coho and Chinook salmon . Fog was drifting over the water surface as the sun was climbing the sky and illuminated the water and the forest.

On location Stamp river panorama
Stamp river panorama

A nearby creek added cold run off water to the river and the fish assembled at the mouth of the creek. The water gave the small boulders in the creek a beautiful sheen.

creek
On location: creek

As the day progressed the light on location changed and so did the salmon activity.  The sun was sometimes obscured by clouds and  created a wide range of green hues. As the sun started to disappear behind the trees the water turned a vivid green. The salmon became even more active and the Coho were constantly jumping.

On location: Coho in the late sun light
Coho in the late sun light
On location: Coho duo breaking the surface
Coho duo breaking the surface

When the sun was gone so were we. On to the next “On location” destination !

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini series made into movie

Mini series made into movie

Explorer, film maker and adventurer Lawrence Wahba has recently released a new mini series called “Todas as Manhãs do Mundo”. This 6 part series made for National Geographic and produced by Canal Azul, (Sao Paulo Brazil) tells the story of life in the hours of dawn and the differences with day time in behaviour and environment.  Lawrence takes you on a journey that covers the Africa, South America and other iconic places. One of the great episodes is filmed on Vancouver Island, British Columbia in Canada. This episode covers the amazing trek of the salmon, the bears that feed on them and the rich, productive underwater life. As one of the Directors of Photography I worked closely with the team on a daily basis and filmed the encounters with wolf-eels, sea lions and other beautiful underwater creatures.

A black bear takes a nap after feeding on Chinook salmon

A French version of the series is due to come out in the spring of 2016. This will be produced by “Bonne Pioche” under the lead of Frédéric Febvre. This team received an Oscar for the movie “March of the penguins” in 2006.

Currently the Brazilian team is working on a movie version of the series and Subvision Productions has contributed essential footage to the salmon sequences. The movie version is set to be available in early 2016.

Salmon tails

Salmon Tails; stories of salmon and humans

 

Salmon Tails, stories of salmon and humans
Salmon Tails, stories of salmon and humans

The work by Subvision productions on the documentary “Salmon Tails” continues.  As the life cycle of the salmon comes to a pivotal point, filming of their great migration continues.

But not only the natural history of the salmon is an essential part of this documentary.  Humans with their stories of the intimate connection to salmon is the other important part of the film.  From First Nations to commercial fishermen and everyone in between, all have their lives influenced by the cycles of the salmon.

Through interviews and terrestrial and underwater images, “Salmon Tails” tells the story of the importance of a healthy salmon population and the many things we know and do not know.

salmon in raging river
salmon in raging river

Filming has been ongoing and the documentary should be finished by the end of 2016.

We have a growing library of salmon stock footage. Contact us for specific footage request or check out our Youtube channel.

National Geographic channel program

New National Geographic channel program:

The series “Todas as Manhãs do Mundo” on which Peter Mieras of Subvision Productions worked as a director of photography (DOP) for the British Columbia episode will start to air on National Geographic channel in Latin America on October 4th.

A series without sensationalism and a great presenter in Lawrence Wahba
https://www.facebook.com/events/825141790932665/

Todas as manhãs do mundo
National Geographic program

The series on the National Geographic channel is an exploration of the differences in night and day activities of animals in many parts of the world. It goes from tropical savannas to rain forests and temperate oceans. One of the episodes is about the marine life and other terrestrial creatures in British Columbia Canada.

Subvision Productions provided both logistical support as well as camera work under water and  on land.  The collaboration with “Canal Azul” from Brazil and Subvision resulted in a great episode and we are currently supporting a new documentary of Lawrence Wahba.  More information about that soon.

Lingcod video

Lingcod video

Lingcod (Ophiodon elongates) is one of the signature species of British Columbia, Canada and an important fish for various interest groups. First nations traditionally fished this species in times when other preferred fish were less abundant. Current commercial and recreational fishing by bottom trawlers and hook and line fishing underline the demand for this fish. Recreational fishermen appreciate this fish and recreational scuba divers consider this fish one of the most voracious species in BC waters.

juvenile Lingcod eats shrimp
Lingcod eats shrimp

Lingcod are only found on the west coast of North America, with the highest abundance off the coast of British Columbia. They typically live on the bottom and prefer rocky areas at depths of 10-100 m but are also found on sandy areas, particularly when juvenile.

It is easy to obtain Lingcod video as they generally don’t swim away when slowly approached. However knowing the life cycle of the Lingcod and its behaviour will helps to get Lingcod video with significant content. And of course with any underwater video luck and being at the right time in the right place is a factor in getting exceptional Lingcod video. These includes examples such as a Lingcod trying to catch a salmon, a Lingcod eating a painted greenling etc.

Lingcod eats chinook salmon
Lingcod trying to eat a chinook salmon

The Lingcod’s reproduction cycle follows a particular train of events and is well documented. Around October and November females which are gravid will migrate from deeper water into shallow areas and select nest sites. The males , like with all greenling family members, fertilize and guard the egg masses the females have laid. The egg masses look like chunks of styrofoam and because of it’s high protein content many other animals try to feed on them. Sea stars, crabs and other fish likes them but the guarding males are vigilant.  

Lingcod video of Lingcod eggs hatched
Lingcod video of Lingcod eggs hatched
Lingcod female pregnant Lingcod video
Lingcod female pregnant Lingcod video

 

 

 

 

 

Below are some links to Lingcod video I have taken over the years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiaC5IAp9tg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaHZYOKmgmU

 

2014 Adams river salmon run

2014 Adams river salmon run:

On October 19th Subvision Productions went on the road to film the 2014 Adams river run.

The following links have a video compilation of some of the stock footage we took :

Youtube standard definition  /  Vimeo 1080p version

 

This legendary sockeye salmon run is an annual attraction for millions of viewers from all over the world. Each 4 years an extra large run of sockeye salmon comes up from the coast and travels over 450 km up the Fraser and Thompson river. After crossing Little Shuswap lake the end up in the Adams river. The last big run was in 2010 and the expectations for the 2014 Adams river salmon run were very high.

sockeye salmon couple
Male and female sockeye salmon defending their nesting site

The dates that we went up to the river were ideal as we just hit the peak of the fish volume. The thousands and thousands of salmon were all over the river. Though the  numbers did not reach the expected levels nevertheless it was a large run.

The first day was spent in the fast flowing parts of the river. Using the Sony EX1 in a Gates Housing as well as a remotely operated GoPro 3 we were able to get very close up footage.  In this stage of their live the sockeye become aggressive towards each other with the females being more ferocious than the males. We filmed display behavior of the males like biting, yawning, chasing jacks ( smaller immature males) and air gulping at the surface. The females were seen chasing other males away as well as  females coming too close to their “redd” (nesting site).

female sockeye fighting
Female sockeye biting and fending off another female coming too close to her redd.

On day we went to visit shallow spawning channels and the exit of the river at Shuswap lake. In the lake we hope to film fish and other creature feeding on the carcasses of the dead salmon. However we did not observe this. Large numbers of sockeye were schooling in the fast current to get into the river.  In the shallower spawning channels we saw digging and courting behavior. However the actual release of eggs and milt (sperm) did not happen. I guess we will call that unfinished business for next year.

filming bears and salmon on Vancouver Island

Bear and salmon shoot on Vancouver Island

Early October Subvision Productions went on the road, together with Lawrence Whaba from Canal Azul, filming bears and salmon on Vancouver Island.  This assignment was part of the shoot for the National Geographic channel program “Morning-glory”.

Driving from Port Alberni to the outer West coast of Vancouver Island we searched and located Mercantile creek. There during the annual run of the Chinook salmon black bears benefit from the abundance in the shallow and small creek and get a lot of their winter nutrition.

Black bear falling asleep after eating salmon
Black bear full of salmon takes a nap

On the day of filming we set up our cameras and we did not have to wait too long before the first bear showed up. Shooting with Sony Ex1, Sony Z100, Canon C300 and even a GoPro 3 a great deal of excellent footage was obtained.

We observed and filmed bear behavior like feeding, fishing, stealing food from other bears and more. The Chinook salmon going up the creek provided jumps in the calm water of the creek but also spectacular schooling and. jumps at the waterfall further up the creek.

During the day the tide came in and more Chinook made it into the estuary and the creek.  A bear mom and cup showed up and after being concerned with our presence for a little while she settled down and determined that we were not a threat.  In total there were around 5 different bears and the action lasted from dawn to dusk. Amazingly the bear were active during the entire day allowing us to film different bear behavior.

The alternate rain and sunshine provided stunning light variations and close quarter encounters with the bears ensured very detailed shots.

The episode of the program will be edited and is expected to air around June 2015.  It will be aired in the Spanish / Portuguese countries.

wild Chinook salmon smolts

Recently Subvision Production filmed wild Chinook salmon smolts,  in their smolting stage. The resulting footage is now available.  A time coded version is available on our Youtube channel.     wild Chinook salmon smolts

Still frame out take of another clip of wild Chinook salmon smolts

Below is a short overview of the life cycle of Pacific salmon in general. Enjoy! Pacific salmon species vary in terms of their life cycles. The most known species are Sockeye, Chinook, Coho and Chum. Some spend little time in streams, some spend years, some mature at two years other at five. Their lifespan differs too from 2 -5 years. But all of them are terminal spawners, meaning once they have spawned they die. However some, like Steelhead and Cutthroat, can spawn more than once..

All Pacific salmon are anadromous. This means they start their lifes in freshwater (streams, lakes, rivers, creeks etc.) after which they migrate to the ocean, and finally return to spawn and die in the water they were born in.

Adult salmon often travel for hundreds of miles in order too return to the waters they were born in . IF they make it back, after avoiding predators like sea lions, salmon sharks and g all kind of obstacles ( water falls, dams etc.), the males and females court, and ultimately breed. When they spawn,  the male releases sperm and the female releases eggs.

The eggs and sperm float in a cloud of milky substance called “milt” and settle into a “redd” a nest the female has prepared. It is usually covered with gravel that will protect the eggs until they hatch.

The salmon that spawned die (usually days after spawning). Their bodies remain in the water or along the shore. Bears, eagles, wolf and other animals will feed on them and parts of the carcass will even serve as nutrition for trees.

The eggs:

Of the many eggs that the female has released, some will be successfully fertilized by the male’s sperm. The eggs are fragile and many eggs will be destroyed.Inside the egg is an embryo tat feeds on the yoke. When it gets big enough it will break free of the shell and become a little fish with the yoke still attached.

Alevin

Alevins’ yolk sac contains sufficient nutrition for their early development. They remain under the gravel for protection against predators until their yolk sac is fully used. It is nearly impossible to see alevin in the wild!

Fry

Once it has absorbed its yolk, the alevin becomes fry. Small and vulnerable, fry spend a lot of their time avoiding predators. They head for dark pools in protected spots (e.g., under overhanging shrubs) . After a certain time, they begin their migration toward the ocean and a that stage they are called smolts

Smolts

This is the stage at which our latest footage of wild Chinook salmon smolts was filmed. Smolts actually go through a physical change to cope with the transition from fresh to salt water. This process is known as “smolting”. One of the main changes is that they get a silvery coating over their scales to camouflage them from predators.

Adult Salmon

Once the juvenile salmon enter the ocean , it will spend many months or years in the ocean. The length of time salmon spend in saltwater depends on how old they were when they entered, their species, marine conditions, and many other factors.

When they are sexually mature they return to the waters they were once born in. Their instinct is so strong that even if they are horrendously wounded they still try to reach the spawning grounds. Many don’t make it but those who do represent the strongest and toughest of their species