It’s all in the film…
This 2 minute segment of film may look like your typical nature channel fish footage but for me it’s been a two year odyssey of failures and waiting. Finally, in two minutes everything changed.
These 10-40 pound Chinook salmon are known as ‘springers’, They migrate hundreds of miles up the Columbia River to the Wenatchee River, the river of their birth. They swim to this same giant deep hole and then they hunker down and wait though the summer months. Never eating, they are living off fat supplies earned from 4-6 years in the ocean.
In short, they are waiting to spawn, waiting to die. I waited for them to arrive, waited for the spring high water to subside and waited for the water to clear up and then I failed. Numerous attempts met with blurry shadows of these giants as they glided by just out of frame, just a little farther. Not to be.
My only chance to film the school was to not be in the water with them. My GoPro camera with dive housing was mounted to a custom built 5 pound slab of rubber coated lead. Heavy yes, but essential to remain firmly in place in the strong currents. I dove deep, to the deepest, fastest, darkest slot and placed the camera. This had better work. With lungs bursting, I cling to a boulder 15 feet under a rushing river while I carefully place the lead sled GoPro camera in a hopeful direction. Time to get out and wait.
There was some question as to what to do with the footage. A short edit for short attention spans is the typical E-mentality. This time I say just watch. It’s only two minutes. Watch them wait for the rain.
The song was an 11th hour gift from my wife who saved the project from a dub reggae soundtrack when she found “Veloma” by Fabrizio Paterlini. This composition is a beautiful accompaniment to the images.
*Note- this was to be a rough draft, but I uploaded it for my parents to watch. I took off for the weekend to find it had been played almost 600 times. Whoops, I’ll adjust the privacy settings next time!