Palau President receives Ocean Heritage Award
Johnson Toribiong, President of Palau, has been awarded the Ocean Heritage Award by the Shark Research Institute. This reflects his creation of the worlds first shark sanctuary by outlawing shark finning throughout the entire Palau exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This will comprise some 237,000 square miles. At a recent UN General Assembly meeting. President Toribiong said:
“The need to protect sharks outweighs the need to enjoy a bowl of soup,” and went on to say, “these creatures are being slaughtered and are at the brink of extinction unless we take positive action to protect them.”
Nordic Photo Event has a Viking flavour
As a photographer it is always good to absorb local influences, but perhaps the photographers on Alex Mustard’s photo workshop in Norway may have taken things too literally by dressing in traditional Viking clothes. The Nordic Photo Event is organized by Fotografit at Gulen Dive Resort and, in addition to Alex Mustard’s workshop, also features talks by Norwegian photographer Christian Skauge. Although the photographers have been out on the boat each day, there have been no reports of raids on local villages yet.
Schooling rays image wins CIWEM award
The Telegraph has reported that an aerial image of an amazing group of Munkiana Devil Rays has won the CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2010. They were photographed in Baja California Sur, Mexico, by German conservation photographer Florian Schulz. He described how he was able to capture his jaw-dropping image named Flight of the Rays:
“During an aerial expedition I came across something I had never seen before. Not even my pilot, who has surveyed this area for 20 years, had seen anything like it. As we got closer we started to discover its nature: an unprecedented congregation of rays. The group was as thick as it was wide, all heading towards the same direction. I have asked around why this took place but no one has been able to explain it to me.”
Gates releases housings for Sony CX550 and XR550
Gates Underwater Products has announced that they are now shipping their housings for the Sony XR550 and CX550 camcorders. Both housings feature mechanical controls and use the cameras 3.5” LCD monitors, via large viewfinder windows, as framing and focusing screens. The controls give access to the touchscreen functions on the camera, including white balance and Telemacro functions, and a range of port options are available.
Animals are being set up to succeed: Chris Palmer
The Washington Post has reviewed and commented on Chris Palmer’s book; Shooting in the Wild. The article cites examples from the book, and from the wildlife film industry, wherein animal behavior has been manipulated to get the filmmakers desired outcome. It cites the proliferation of channels and communication media as causing much tighter deadlines, which in turn forces filmmakers to come up with footage in a much shorter time. Maggie Burnette Stogner, an environmental filmmaker who works with Palmer, says:
“When I first started at [National] Geographic, filmmakers were in the field for three years,” and goes on to say “Now it’s compressed to ‘Go out and get it in a month.’ Well, it doesn’t happen that way. The sharks don’t show up.”
The Post article also mentions the genre of “reality” nature programs, where the traditional documentary emphasis on animal behavior is replaced by showing a persons interaction with nature, and points out that this shift tends to give program makers more latitude about how they use animals. In many cases the animals being portrayed as wild are tame, and the human “hunting” activities are staged by pre-positioning the prey. Palmer feels that this should be pointed out to the audience, but as the article states:
“Who wants to watch a tame nature film?”
Dr. Sylvia Earle calls for more Marine Protected Areas
In a Time magazine special, Dr. Sylvia Earle has renewed her appeal for the establishment of more Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). She highlights the fact that while 12% of the earths land is protected in some way, this applies to less that 1% of the oceans. MPAs would serve as “sanctuaries for everything that swims”. She goes on to state her belief that we have treated the oceans as a “supermarket and a sewer” and that the change in the oceans chemistry due to climate change and acidification will have disastrous consequences.
More information about Gates LED lights
Gates Underwater Products debuted two new LED video lights at the recent Blue Ocean Film Festival. Called the VL8 and VL24, the lights were developed in collaboration with Sub Aqua Imaging Systems, are designed to be self contained and can hence be detached from the housing. They are designed to be neutrally buoyant, so will also be suitable to use with video DSLRs.
New housing Leak Detectors available
Underwater Leak Detector has just expanded their range of housing leak detectors. These simple devices can now be fitted to a wide range of compact and DSLR housings, including models from Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Sony. The Leak Detector comprises a self-install kit, with a very bright flashing LED that will warn of leaking or excessive moisture in the housing and full installation instructions. (Via DivePhotoGuide.)
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