Tag Archives: salmon

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.

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