A truly rare event for me as a photographer and videographer occurred this past weekend in Puget Sound. For many years I have been fortunate enough to spot only a few Cockscomb fish. The High Cockscomb and Slender Cockscomb are members of the Prickleback family. And although they may appear similar to an eel, they are not eels. Below are images of Snake Pricklebacks taken over the years.
This time of year, our local waters suffer repeated weather events that degrade the visibility and clarity of the water. Rains can infuse fresh water from the surface down to well over 30 feet in some areas. Rain washes down massive collections of pollutants and toxins that accumulate on our roads, highways, bridges, driveways, yards and more. These toxins drain directly into our streams, rivers, lakes, and eventually Puget Sound. Also, longer days with increased sunlight generate considerable Algae blooms. At times, visibility can be reduced to less than 12” from the surface to more than eighty feet deep. Light is unable to penetrate the particulate matter, or backscatter. There are times on a bright sunny day, at mid-day during summer, it can be so dark that many nocturnal animals will come out to hunt their prey.
The past month the visibility within Puget Sound has been unseasonably poor due to the few weeks of very sunny days. Fortunately, even during these recent poor diving conditions, I was able to enjoy a couple very rare minutes with a Slender Cockscomb. View my new 4K video of my brief encounter: Slender Cockscomb
2021 is promising to be a far better year than the last challenging Covid year of hibernation. Things are looking up all around and we’re beginning to reclaim a modicum of normalcy in our lives. During these first few months of 2021 I’ve been working at learning many of the amazing features of the new Canon R5 mirror less camera. A truly amazing camera with some features I may never need, but it's nice they're there. For instance, although 8K video is possible, at this point in time it's not totally viable. The 4K performance on the other hand is stunning. Wether recording at 23.98, 30, 60, or 120 fps (excellent slow-motion video), this camera is truly cutting edge technology.
Challenges in developing an effective and efficient workflow has taken much more time and effort, and trial and error than I anticipated. Shooting steady and smooth 4K video, then downloading, trimming and storing extremely large file sizes is merely the tip of this very large iceberg. Color grading, LUT’s, proxy files, Codecs, BT 709 or BT 2020, Rec 2021 all can get rather confusing, rather quickly. Each impacts the final video production and quality. I do admit though, it's been a fabulous challenge.
This weekend I'm launching a few short videos shot in 4K, mostly shot in slow-motion. Each can now be viewed on my website at https://www.madeinpugetsound.org/4k-videos.html
In the coming weeks and months, I will be creating and uploading many more 4K videos. As I perfect my workflow and process, I will be incorporating more informative and educational information in my videos and blogs. One of the primary goals of 'Made In Puget Sound®' is to research and educate people, especially students, about the Puget Sound region and its amazing, wonderful underwater wildlife. Our local waters are suffering greatly and need our help. My organization is dedicated to helping through conservation, education and research.
Help us help Puget Sound.
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Drew Collins professional underwater photographer and environmentalist living and diving primarily in the beautiful Emerald green waters of Puget Sound near Seattle, Washington.