Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shooting Elephants...Seals

We have anchored up behind Santa Rosa Island for some protection from the swell and wind. In a last minute decision late in the evening we decided to mount a 3D landing party on the island to film elephant seals. As the sun was rising we launched our little dingy. Not knowing the terrain or ability to actually make a land fall we took only the essential personnel. Myself (the director), Lou Lamar (a very talented 3d shooter) and Maryann Keith (the WHOI 3D specialist who is on all my films) all boarded the small craft destine for greatness. Greatness is what we got! 

As the sun rose higher and the morning light was spectacular we filmed the most majestic (and easy going) animals I have ever seen. The beach was covered with 50-75 young juvenile elephant seals that were for all that we could tell were living the good life. Even as juvenile they were massive animals weighing around 500 lbs. They were basking in the sun until the urge to play spar or frolic in the surf overtook them then they would so indulge. There lives seemed so laid back. I can relate to that level of lifestyle. As an apex predator the concerns within the food chain were pretty minimal. Short of an occasional great white the life was pretty good. As we filmed set up on a high ledge overlooking the beach they rolled and wrestled in the pools below with each other 15 ft below us. Every now and then they would look us over and give a growl out just to let us know they were checking us out. It was one of the most memorable of adventures. Very wild and untamed.

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