Saturday, November 6, 2010

Underwater Wonders In The National Park Service Channel Islands National Park, November 5-19, 2010

The final location in the Underwater Wonders in the National Park Service production is a spectacular group of islands lying just off one of the most populated areas in the world – Los Angeles. Channel Islands National Park offers the both the ocean diversity and remote islands ecosystem that is signifies the very mission of the National Park Service – to preserve and protect for future generations. Without that level of safeguard, who knows how far afield the shores of the Malibu crowd would spread and this vast resource would be available to the highest bidder and not held in trust for the American people.

To this photographer, Channel Islands is all about the kelp and sea lions. Sure the park offers a vast diversity of sea birds, endangered island mammals and plants. There are even a number of shipwrecks in the waters adjacent to the rugged island coastline. Although historical significant set against the proper context of westward expansion economical development of our West Coast, as a collection they lack the relief or visual appeal to focus the 3D cameras on. I was here a year ago shooting stills and captured the beauty of this place during a week long scouting trip. A selection of those images still remain among my favorite. I’m hoping lighting strikes twice, only this time in front of the 3D cameras.

Fellow NPS Submerged Resources Center members Susanna Pershern, Jim Koza arrived with me by Suburban by way of Lake Mead National Recreation Area where we were running a two week dive training. Maryann Kovacs and Lou Lamar from the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution flew into LAX last night. We departed Ventura Harbor this morning for Anna Cappa Island only to arrive and find green turbid water. Setback? It would seem that we have arrived on the back side of one of the largest swell events in recent years. 15-20ft swells rolled in and trough the five islands not even a week ago leaving unsettled waters and torn kelp in its wake. Everything seems to be unsettled.

Not to be discourages, we press to the west hoping to find clean water, hardy kelp and the frolicking seals and sea lions we have come here to shoot. It cant be this bad for next 10 days…right?

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