Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Impossible Shot + Sharkzilla - Shark Week 2012

So far so good…after watching three episodes I have yet to see blood in the water – and that is a great thing.  The Impossible Shot is just about that – pushing the limits of getting that new angle using creative and ingenious ideas + technology.  There was a nice integration of some of the pioneering shark U/W videographers such as Stan Waterman and how they have progressed over time. 

Both the GoPro and Phantom cameras were featured again as in the previous episode.  But this one added one more variable…45 HD cameras filming at the same time to create what is know as a time splice.  Some very interesting footage was captured as a result.  As of now, a lot of focus seems to be going into the capability of these new cameras and how to get views that have never been captured before.

I have to admit that I breezed through the Sharkzilla episode, as I personally did not find it that interesting.  However, anyone that finds, prehistoric sharks, engineering, and crowds chanting entertaining will enjoy this one.

What next…

Note: Unfortunately due to travel I will not be able to watch the other episodes until next week - will write about them then. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Air Jaws Apocalypse - Shark Week 2012

What can I say – I am highly impressed with the first episode of Shark Week 2012 and very much looking forward to the rest.  While Air Jaws as a concept is not new and breaching White Sharks are not novel anymore – the technology used to film this episode made for some stunning footage and made me feel like I was seeing these majestic animals up close again for the first time.

A Phantom camera was used to film most of the episode, which allows for extremely high quality video and the possibility to slowing down frames without losing any detail.  The camera can shoot at resolutions up to 2560x1600 pixels at anywhere from 10 frames-per-second up to 1,455 frames-per-second (fps).  To put that into perspective, my GoPro shoots at 720 pixels at 60fps. (Then again, my GoPro only costs a few hundred bucks – I believe the Phantom can go into the six digits).

Some other things I enjoyed:
  • Labeled sharks as highly intelligent, with individual personalities that actually learn from one another.  Good to hear when others speak about sharks having small walnut brains with only two modes – predator and not.  Anyone that has spent enough time in the water with these animals will know that sharks are adaptable, intelligent, and each unique.
  • GoPro seems to be a standard for all U/W productions these days one-way or another.  Fantastic product!
  • Luke Tipple and the VW ad – congrats on the work Luke!

There was only one thing I did not enjoy and that was the Jaws DVD release ad– give sharks a break.

Good stuff Discovery.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Shark Week 2012

Shark Week has now been airing on the Discovery Channel for 25 years.  Anyone that has been watching the last five years can attest to the degradation of the show year after year. Focused on sensationalism, it has lost its soul and passion that it once had way back when.  Of course television has changed as well - in a time of "reality shows" such as The Real House Wives of (insert city of choice) viewers are more interested in plastic drama than quality, while the executives in ratings / eyeballs / advertising money.  I guess the comparison can be made with The Real World (MTV) - remember the first season in NYC - compare that to the Real World St. Thomas (really???)

As I set my DVR to record the week, I am reminded of the past titles that are being shown as reruns, similar to those D horror movies that only make it to DVD.  

But among all the blood, gore, and sinister sharks apparently there is hope for this 25th anniversary - at least that is what the industry insiders are buzzing about...a bit hard to believe when teasers such as the following are being aired:

JAWS will never die…

This year’s conservation partner of the show is Shark Savers – solid organization that brings a lot of credibility and a definite plus.  

Hoping for a great week - one that will change perceptions.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Almost lost a finger thanks to a lionfish

About a month ago I was out with my friend Manuel Menendez diving / spearing - all in all it was a great day...but...in Manuel's own words:

"On July 4th I went diving with Felix Leander, Manny Dobal, and Nick Bernal.  We had a decent day and got a few fish for dinner.  When I got home the kids wanted to see the fish we caught.

Lifting a grouper out of the cooler I got poked by 3 spines from one of the Lionfish in the cooler. The pain was instant and intense. The Lionfish that stung me had been dead for 4 hours and was about 13 inches long.

I had my hand under running HOT water for 3 hours and couldn't stop literally stomping from the pain. I took 3 Tylenol extra strength and 2 percasets and my hand was still on fire and swelling.

By 11 pm I went to the hospital because my finger was turning black.  When I walked into the hospital the first doctor told me she was calling the hand specialist because she was worried I might lose all or part of my finger...every few minutes a different nurse or doc would come by to ask to look at my nasty hand...

I got admitted and was in the hospital for 25 hours all because of a STING FROM A DEAD LIONFISH, I felt like such a fucking idiot...

Anyway I had 5 antibiotics administered by IV and countless shots of hydro-morphine and other painkillers.

I had been stung twice in the past 2 years by lionfish and had very minor bee sting like reactions this time the spines went deep and I got hurt bad...I have probably killed between 500 and 600 of these fish over the last 5 years and have gotten a little too comfortable with handling them...I have participated in, planned and won several Lionfish tournaments in the Bahamas and South Florida over the last 3 years and perhaps I was a little too comfortable handling them...

I have been bitten by a moray, stung by stingrays, bitten by a nurse shark, stung by bristle worms, gotten rashes all over due to a scorpion fish stinging BUT this lionfish sting was BY FAR THE WORST.

It’s been 31 days and I still cannot completely bend my middle finger and it is still inflamated …

BEWARE OF THE LIONFISH (even dead ones)"

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Not much to say...

... as I have been feeling quite empty these last days and weeks.

Yesterday, I had to go through hundreds of negatives to find a determined photograph I need for a book, and I came across this moody one. 

I took the pic in South Africa in April 2008, and it really hit me to realize that this tiger beauty has most probably been killed in the shark nets facing Aliwal Shoal.

I dedicate this image, sadly, to the memory of all those beautiful, gentle sharks that have been caught senselessly in the nets.