Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Kroschel Films Wildlife Center-Haines, Alaska

My senior did this tour a while ago. She mentioned how great it was. It involved animals. Usually anything that involves animals we do because passengers love it, and when its shown on TV we usually sell more.

>Now, we docked in Skagway… which meant we had to make our way to Haines. I don’t really like Skagway…but the port has the best tours. Going into town is weird though. Lol.

With the Skagway Dock its like forever long!! It takes more than a few minutes to get from the Ship to where you meet up for your tour. I do like it though cause there is a ton of room. Some docks are so small and cramped.

After meeting up with the guide, we had to take a 45-minute ferry. While on the ferry I’m thinking to myself “what’s the big deal about this place?” It’s a wildlife park. Now, if I have to go see wildlife in a park, I don’t consider it wild. I don’t know something about the “park” aspect of it. I was like “This is gonna be lame.”

I didn’t shoot anything on the ferry. I don’t know why I decided not to. We got to Haines finally, and I was like yay…finally. WRONG. We than hopped on a bus to get to the place, which took 45 minutes! I’m thinking Its 1 ½ hours to get to this place… which I have to do on the way back. 3 hours in transit didn’t make me a happy camper. At this point I’m already at the cranky stage. It took me awhile to wake up that morning. But the Bus driver started talking about Haines, and I took in the scenery and I woke up quickly. I Became very alert. I started to forget about time. I forgot about how long of a day I would have. I just enjoyed. I again did not shoot anything on the bus ride.

The decision to not shoot anything was a funny thing with me. I started to argue with myself in my head because... the 45-minute ferry, and 45-minute bus ride was all part of the journey. It was part of what the passengers experienced. The transportation wasn’t bad, because you took in nature, and knowledge about where you were visiting. All the time I was kinda unsure what to do. I didn’t shoot, because the edit was going to be about the wildlife center … and that’s it. I hated this thought. It was weird for me not to shoot while in transit. I usually do.

We drove down the only highway in Haines- “Haines Highway” lol. And the whole way I got a nice view of the Chilkat river, and mountains, birds. It was awesome. Than we made a left turn down Mosquito Lake rd. The Bus driver starts to tell us about this place. She tells us how at the end of the road there is this beautiful lake. Gorgeous View, Just lovely. But, the lake- its totally bombarded with mosquitoes! Eeeek. Well As we kept traveling down this road I kept thinking “I really hope this place is not right near this lake.” We just kept going and going. I’m getting more and more uneasy about how I have to deal later with getting eaten alive while shooting. Than we finally stop. “Thank goodness!” I think to myself. We got off the bus, and the bus driver gives us a drop of this bug repellant stuff that smells like lemons. She says “put it on the back of your hands, and ears and you won’t get bit.” I, right away was thinking yeah that wont work for me. No matter what bug repellant I use, I still get massive bites. I take the drips anyway. Why not, right?

We all are off the bus now, with the lovely scent of lemons all around us. There is this cheery, small guy waiting for us. Steve was his name. My first thought was how he just jumped right into it, than it was ”how am I gonna stop this guy, and get this mic on him?” It was not windy, and he had a good speaking voice ... not much noise around where we were so, I let him go awhile without a mic.

He tells us how he got there doing what he does. He used to play and take care of animals since he was a small boy. His parents use to rescue orphaned animals, and he’s been doing it ever since. As he spoke I grew to really like him, and feel his passion for what he does. It got me excited for what I was gonna see.

He took us in, and the first thing he tells us was about big foot. Yes, Bigfoot. Lol. He said some time ago he went out on a search for this creature. He had some drawings from this artist that did those descriptive drawings. People would go to this lady, and tell her what they saw and she drew it, like those police drawings of suspects. Well we went on to tell us how he was out doing research for a few months in northern Alaska. He went to the areas where people say they have seen them. He says he actually found some interesting things out there. He found primate hair, which there are no known recorded primates in Alaska. He found footprints that were massive, that had fingerprint markings within them, like our feet. He talked to residents, and one guy said that since they have the big camera with them that Bigfoot would never come around if there was a camera around. They got no photographic proof, but I still loved the fact that he shared the story. I feel like it made somewhat of an argument. There are lots of animals out there that we don’t know about, or haven’t discovered yet. Man nowadays finds it hard to believe that in this day in age that we possibly do not know something.

The first animal we see is a few Cross Foxes. They were cute. I got some good shots…challenging for sure. But I nailed it. lol. We than moved on to see a weasel. Fast lil things!! It was cool though. I was totally into this tour at this point. Once thing I like about Steve is how he led us to the next area, and he had to spot the animal before he told us what it was. He kept us engaged. It was nice. You had to play the guessing game on where it was, and what exactly you were looking for. He went into this fenced area with a bird on a string attached to a stick. He swung it around than this Lynx pops out. It was a very nice looking cat. It was cool you got to see him pounce, and play.

Steve than tells us about the next animal. How, as a baby the mother was shot, and they adopted it. The animal’s name was Kittie. It was a big fenced area. It was nowhere to be found. Than he says “oh she’s swimming” so we look out and it’s a fucking grizzly bear playing in the water. Lol. Than the bear goes over to the big fenced area where we looked for it earlier, and Steve goes in there to start feeding him oatmeal. Lol. He’s talking to us about Kittie, while he’s scooping organic oatmeal, and Kittie thoroughly loves the meal. Lol.

The tour was long, but it didn’t feel that way. We saw so many animals. A few weasels, and animals related closely to the weasel. I saw a porcupine. This other guy joined us, Mario, and he told us about porcupines, how they don’t shoot their quills. They do this lil shake and some fall off, but they don’t shoot them.

I got to see moose. Which I was excited about even though it wasn’t exactly in a wild setting. In Haines though you do see them often. Allegedly. Lol. That’s what the bus driver, and a few others told us. In the summer though it’s too hot so they don’t go in the sunlight so, they are hard to spot. I realized while reviewing my photos…I didn’t even take a picture of the moose. ☹ Sometimes I get so into my video that I forget stills. ☹ I did get good video though.

We got to see Caribou, or Reindeer. Mario told us this awesome story about the natives. They put this animal at such a high scale. The caribou eat these mushrooms. They are said to have these magical properties. We’ve all seen these mushrooms. They are red with white dots. Well the natives think because the caribou eat this mushroom they themselves have magical properties. The highest elder in the tribe dresses up in this red and white garb. Apparently he goes around the village at a certain time of year and gives gifts to the people of the village, while having caribou pull a sled. If anyone thinks this sound familiar
…yes the whole Santa Clause thing. Lol Mario said he met the elder of the tribe and the guy had the white beard, heavy set, you’d swear he was about to play Santa. Lol These guy knew how to tell a story. It was awesome.

We got to see a wolf pup. We couldn’t pet it cause it was so young. Very cute. ☺

Our tour ended with the wolverine. Very cool. There isn’t much known about the Wolverine, except they do these super things. Like travel such long distances in such a short period of time. People studied them for years, and still know very little. The female can mate, get her egg fertilized, than can decide when she wants to release the egg to be implanted and than begin to grow! Crazy. Sometimes I guess they wait up to 3 years. They don’t know what the determining factor is when the female decides to have her spawn grow. I was blown away by all of this.

You could really tell how much they loved nature and animals. I got such a good, strong sense of their passion. Mario is a professor of ecology, but both of them are filmmakers and make films that are awareness of what we are doing to animals, nature, and our world.

Steve while he had a baby Martin in his hand (I got a nice close up of it-that I couldn’t use in the edit cause it didn’t fit anywhere) he asked me how I was and why I was shooting. I told him I worked for princess, and he asked me “Do you think by showing this video will it help people think about the wilderness, and taking care of it?” I said “of course”, but who knows. I would hope so, but I don’t know. I felt like if I said what I really thought than I probably would have broken his heart. I hope my edit for people who watch it see it more than just cute animals.

Before we boarded the bus they had a reindeer there. I touch it! I usually don’t touch animals. But on this tour I did. I touched the wolverine, and the reindeer. I don’t know if ever I’ll get to touch a wolverine. Lol. I touched the velvet of the Reindeer. Sooooo soft. They say its good luck to touch it. Maybe. I have another blog for that. Lol

I was last on the bus, and Steve wished me luck on the edit. Which I think was awesome. He knows what this work is like. Hell I feel like calling them up and saying hey, can I be your apprentice. Lol.

On the bus ride back to dock to catch the ferry, I received free food! Which made me happy. It was a long day. One thing I thought was really awesome-the Bus driver was originally from Ohio. Her and her husband retired 5 years ago. They sold everything they owed. Told there kids and grandkids good-bye and moved to Haines, Alaska! I feel like that story holds a lot of weight to say how great Alaska is.

When I got back to the ship, I was so tired. Long day. But it took forever to edit the tour was two hours. Very dense. The visuals I got, the stories they told, all the audio of fact. It was a giant edit. At 130am I had enough. I feel like going over it and maybe checking it out again, small polish edit. I was tremendously thankful I did not shoot anything on the ferry and bus ride. Lol See, my gut instinct was talking to me. “Amber, trust me you wont need those shots” ☺

After it all, the long dock, the 90 minutes of a ferry, 90 minutes a bus ride, and the very long edit this tour was definitely worth it. ☺

Oh! There were a lot of mosquitoes. I only got one tiny bite. That lemon scented drip worked. Lol

Friday, June 24, 2011

The ship stuff –thus far.

I have to say that-- not really liking the team. I hate for that to be my first sentence to this post but…unfortunately that pretty much sums it up.

Ok….where to start. Well my manager I have is one of those….well the manager and asst. Manager I should say is a team where they do NOT like being asked questions AT ALL. They say to ask someone else. Don’t ask them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s the best policy. I don’t say anything even though I don’t agree. That’s the first thing. The next thing…I am so sick of being the fucking cheery, say hi to everyone, and being the happy one. I say hi, and try to get in with the group and they snub me, Except a small few. Maybe I am coming off weird. Who knows. I am goofy in general. I know most photogs in the gallery are miserable so I try and cheer them up. I am done trying to entertain these fuckers. Let them be miserable. There are a few I do get along with and actually have fun with.

Another thing that drives me up the fucking wall, is the Manager and Asst. manager wont say a damn word to you if they happen to pass you by. Strange. On my previous ships it was a crime not to say hi. Myself, and 2 photogs happen to pass our asst manager at lunch, and the bitch didn’t say a dam word to any of us, until Anton a photog said “enjoy.” All that she responded was a dull “Thanks.” That happens more than occasionally. One of the photogs here got panelized for not being “social enough with the team.” Why the hell would I be encouraged to be social with a team led by people like that?? It must be that the management is not expected to acknowledge their team. Last I checked its not the way it works. Again I bit my tongue, and say nothing about it.

You can def tell there is a clique-thing going on. What else is new… it’s shiplife.

To get to my senior… well the funny thing is she is the one junior I would have been in charge of had I taken the Diamond and replaced the Senior there my second contract. I didn’t because of visa issues. Well she is still a senior. In fact she’s my senior now. I’m sure you notice my annoyance. She joined ships right out of her “film school.” She’s not had any other experience besides ships. I have to say that her editing is sloppy, unattractive, and her camera work is lazy. I can not stand when she tells me about my editing, or camera work…because I see her stuff and I’m like seriously. I really try and hold it in, I vent to joe mostly. Lol I don’t say anything. Again, the biting the tongue thing. She can criticize my work all she wants because she’s the senior, but- how dare the junior say anything to the senior. That’s how it is on ships. I really had to bite my tongue when we had a conversation the other day and she said “ I really feel like my editing, and my work over all is getting better.” She said this after the glacier bay edit. I saw her glacier bay edit, and all I have to say is….Always put your best shots in. Please. Dirty windows….really!!?? oi.

I guess we learn as well go, and strive to improve. I know I wasn't as good as I am now. we all gotta start somewhere.

That is one thing I remember from the senior off the Caribbean I had for 2 cruises. “Always put your BEST shots in. If it’s not the best, don’t put it in the edit.” Simple thought ya know. But I think it dramatically changed my perspective on editing, and camera work.

On other notes, I still like interacting with passengers. I like doing the tours. My edits are better than what they use to be. I don’t shot a damn thing in Auto-ever. Audio is totally a comfortable thing, and we sell a crap-load of DVD’s. Oh! And I get to do the Morning Show every cruise. I like the TV gig now. Lol. I got my own cabin for awhile, and Joe is here. So besides crappy people and their BS it’s ok. ☺

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Mount Robert’s Tramway

This morning I had an easy, at my own pace tour. I got to do the tramway in Juneau. I actually really enjoyed it. The fact that I got to just do the tour on my own at my own pace was pretty cool. I didn’t have to worry about getting every shot I wanted in a rush.

It wasn’t raining, which was always a good thing. It started to sprinkle a little bit on the way up though. The ride up lasted about like 5 minutes. No more than a ski lift ride really. It was surprisingly smooth too. I was a happy camper. ☺

When you get to the top its really pretty. It was a bit misty out though. I still got some good pictures. It was raining a bit harder once I was outside at the top, nothing too crazy though.

I got some really nice footage of the rain, and some raindrops off leaves. Its just really cool to look out at the scenery up there. I am a sucker for nature. I cant help it. lol I absolutely love some of the stills I took. Who knows what anyone else thinks, but I loved them.

My edit was really cool. I liked it. I liked my music that I used. I should start posting my videos.

The Zipline adventure... The usual in Ketchikan.

So, this time in Ketchikan I had ziplining.

I say ziplining is the usual because it like in almost every port that I’ve been to thus far while working on ships. Videographers cannot avoid the zipline. Lol. I have ziplined I think 8 to 10 times now.

I had this tour last year. This time around I was in a better mood, and more at ease (last year it was at the end of my contract-if that gives you perspective on where my head was the last time I did this tour.) I also had better guides. They were fun, entertaining guys. The one actually helped to rig the camera on me. Last time they just gave me a hard time. My Senior gave me a hard time about how I shouldn’t take the big camera. F-that. I did. Lol. So…all in all a way better experience. ☺

It wasn’t raining in Ketchikan. Although when I left the ship, it was raining in the morning and my thoughts were like….”oy! This is gonna be a challenging tour.” But the rain stopped, and it ended up being a nice day. Not cold at all, a bit cloudy, but good.

I got stuck with only two other ppl in my ziplining group. But I did get everyone in the edit. My edit worked out nice. At the end of the Zipline they gave you this cool lil metal...a cool free souvenir. When they presented it, it made for a nice ending for my edit.

I used two cameras. I used the regular big camera, the GoPro camera. It’s a pretty cool lil camera. I do like the video it gives. My senior gave me a hard time like I mentioned before about just taking the GoPro camera. Well me, and knowing how I want my edits to go, I wanted more options besides just this wide-angle camera. So, I kinda went against wishes, and did me. Of course always gotta be the rebel. Lol. I ended up using only a couple clips from the GoPro. It was my first time out with it, so I’m glad I took both cameras. I def will be using it more though.

I really like doing tours in Alaska. I like seeing random animals. Everyone goes nuts for bears, the American Bald Engles(which I see them every time I’m out), and whales. We were driving up to the place where we zipline, and I saw the dorsal fin of an Orca whale. It was really close to shore too. Really cool! ) Sorry, I always get excited to see killer whales.) Than there was this tree where all these eagles just chill. Like 9 or so on this one tree. It’s cool to see, no matter how often I do get to see them. The scenery and nature is always just great! Alaska's tree is the Sitka Spruce. Thats the rings of one. I dont know call me a nerd...I'm throughly entertained by this stuff. lol

After my tour I had to mail something. So, I had to go through this one store to get to the post office. And I noticed the register, and this white thing on the ground. I came to realize it was a Husky, just chilling there on the floor with the guy that works there. So…I took a pic. Lol. ☺ the guy thought I was probably weird, but I thought what I saw would only be seen in a place like Alaska. To me I feel like I captured their culture in this pic.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yup -Doing it again,

Well I know many people were not expecting this...For me to be back on the ship.

I have a ton of reasons.

1. I need a constant paycheck....or else I'd like a constant flow of money coming in.

doing freelance, it gets tiring to be constantly looking for work.

2. I got the travel itch once again. The same reason as last time. I can only stay at home with normal video jobs for so long. The residue of my India trip lasted awhile, and Working for DRC while traveling was nice, but I didn't work for them every week to keep the money coming in.

3. Yes, my Bf is on a ship.

Yes, those were the 3 main reasons for going back again. Money, Travel, and Love.

I'm on the Sea Princess. Its in Alaska Now, but It will (at the end of my contract) be heading to New Zealand! That pretty much was the deal breaker. I got on this luck and hard work. I know some might be saying "oh if it was luck, than whats with the hard work"? well The junior Videographer that join...literally got fired a cruise later. that was the luck part. The work part was just getting me to a ship period. oi. A lot of administrative stuff to go through. I didn't know that I was gonna get the Sea. Ben(big time boss) told me they might be sending me to the dawn. so, I was looking forward to that.

The ship is smaller. which made it a bit challenging to get around the first few days. I like it though. I think the ship looks funny. The gallery is really nice and organized. The best thing: THE EDIT SUITE IS NOT A SHOEBOX!!!! My senior is ok. A girl actually. I'm use to guys all the time. so the switch is nice. But she leaves in july. So only an other month than someone totally different will come and change everything.

I did some tours already! the two i went on were pretty cool. In Sitka I did a city tour and this russian Dance performance. It was alright. I did Whale Watching yesterday. Finally saw Orca Whale. I finished my edit today. I will post the video soon!

Ok, I will be taking pics and keeping everyone posted on everything as I live it. lol.