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

sixgill shark stock footage

A short video clip of a sixgill shark.

http://youtu.be/Q8TXQaY1ces

This is some of our more rare underwater footage. Each year Subvision Productions participates in the annual shark survey week in Barkley Sound. The aim is to find and catalogue shark in this area. The main focus is the sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus). This shark has been around for approx. 150 million year and although its distribution is world-wide, it is a rarely seen shark by divers. In the last 10 years we have gathered quit a bit of footage of sixgill sharks, ranging from male adults measuring 12 ft to 2 1/2 feet long juveniles. All in their natural habitat and no feeding or other manipulation. 

Only in the summer months do sixgill sharks come shallow enough to been seen by divers. The rest of the year they spend at depth too great for scuba based encounters.  This underlines the difficulty to get this footage and the research connected with it.

More great HD underwater video stock footage on our Youtube channel.

Stock footage library

Here is a link to a short video compilation of our stock footage library:

http://youtu.be/r3PTRR00iEQ

About our  stock footage library:

Subvision Production has a range of stock footage. Our focus is high-definition underwater stock footage.  But we also offer above water stock footage. A growing  choice of samples from our stock footage library  can be found on our Youtube channel.  You will find a range of subjects like jellyfish, kelp, rockfish, manta rays, giant pacific octopus and much more.

The samples in our stock footage library are marked with a unique ID number and the description includes the format and other information.  If you want we can time-code the samples and deliver them to you via Dropbox.

High definition and 4K underwater stock footage (B roll) and camera services. Science Communications, Environmental Education, Community Engagement & Digital Media Production for aquariums and museums