Cinematography Mailing List - CML

15 Days At Sea

Greetings Gurus,

I just got in this evening from an incredible adventure shooting a trip on two brand new Nordic Tugs that we delivered to Juneau, Ak from Anacortes Wa. via The Inside Passage.

The boat (The ChriSara 42' Nordic Tug) that I was on had 4 hours on it when we boarded. I was also part of the crew. I set up all the navigational equipment. GPS, Sonar, & Radar, and Auto Pilot. I went to school for two days in Anacortes, Wa. to learn the finer points for the operation of the nav gear. Once we got out to sea I was on my own. Boy did I have my hands full with nav and shooting the 23 hours of footage that I shot in 15 days. What an incredible adventure.

I got some absolutely stunning footage of scenery, wildlife, sea life, historical landmarks, good times, one day of 12 twelve foot seas and a few mishaps that were very exhilarating. We had sunshine, and blue skies on our side as it only rained two of the fifteen days. This is absolutely unheard of in the month of April.

The biggest problem that I had was keeping my camera dry and clean. Keeping it dry was not so much an issue, as I used a Kata Raincoat that worked extremely well under the circumstances. I had a heck of a time keeping my filters clean from the salt air. I kept a filter on my camera most of the time so it wasn't an issue for the lense because it was protected by which ever filter I was using. My best shooting was between 6:30a and 10:00a and 4:00p and 7:00p. I used a circular polarizer with a 812 warming filter combined (Moose's Filter) most of the time with the outdoor shots. It worked very well for the glare from the water, snow, glaciers, the aqua coloured icebergs, and shooting the footage of hundreds of dolphins swimming along side our boats. At one point of the trip we had several hump back whales and dolphin porpoises swimming 5 feet from our boat. I've seen it on tv, but when you shoot this in person it is absolutely amazing.

We also naved up Tracy Arm to Sumner Glacier. We put the nose of our boat right on an aqua coloured ice berg that was 4 times the size of our boat. We took turns sitting on the bow of the boat to take photos and touch the iceberg. It was so sharp that my partner cut his finger touching it. We decided to go up the arm as far as we could go without running into and iceberg, which was about a mile and a half from the actual glacier. We shut the motor down and sat on the bow of the boat in awe. We then heard a sound like thunder. The sound came again after about five minutes, then 3 then two. I got the footage of the Glacier calving.


We decided to celebrated by netting a small crystal clear chunk of an iceberg and had cocktails with 4000 thousand year old glacier ice. I'm talking cocktails at 9:00a with the oldest purest ice on earth. It was really cool. No pun intended. It took a sledge hammer to crack that ice after being under so much pressure for thousands of years.

All of the shoot was pretty much run n gun so I shot in standard mode with a shutter speed 1/60, 1/8 FD and various manual iris settings with a monopod and a 3025 head. Under the present conditions a Steady Cam Jr was out of the question. It was way too dangerous to take the risk of falling in 45º seas with a steady cam jr. I got my sea legs and learned very quickly to roll with the boat and the seas. I also had a awesome captain who was willing to do what I needed to get the shot.

I would like some ideas for cleaning lenses and filters while at sea, and not scratching them in the process. Salt air is sooooo abrasive you don't even have to touch the filter to scratch it. Needless to say I will be replacing my Moose's Filter this week.

I'm shooting another trip from Juneau through Greentop, Hoonah, Pelican Cove, Elfin Cove, Glacier Bay, and Sitka August 1

I am sending my DVX100 in for a thorough cleaning this week.

Thanks in advance for any input,

Marten Benatar
Rio Media Services
Northern California

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