23 Jul

MERCI, THANK YOU, GRACIAS, OBRIGADO

Dear friends and supporters of MIDWAY,

I’m just back from a day of filming on Midway Atoll– wind whipping off the water at Midway’s South Beach, and hundreds of young albatrosses taking off out to sea for the first time. We lined up our telephoto lens on a popular bird runway (a gap between the bushes that lets the fledglings get a running start) and got a smorgasbord of gorgeous shots in ultra-slow-motion: wings pumping, eyes focused like ninjas, sand flying off their sprinting feet, wide images with the breaking surf in the background, closeups of faces and feathers in the wind, long follow shots of birds flying way out to sea, plus a few hilarious wipeouts and face-plants in the sand. We are going to be able to cut together an incredible fledging sequence, as these are the albatrosses who are are making it, surviving and thriving despite the scourge of plastic that pollutes their stomachs and our world.

And here’s the coolest part of all: it was YOU who made it possible for us to be here to film this magnificent sight. Wow! What a privilege! And we’re bringing it back to share with the whole world. Thank you all so incredibly much; you will not be disappointed!

With hugs and love from Midway Island,

~cj

 

24 Apr

MIDWAY – April 2012 – Miguel update

Dear friends,

Our team just returned from another exhausting and richly rewarding trip to Midway. This time we brought with us the new RED Epic camera, and our albatross friends brought us stunning visual gifts as we recorded their takeoff runs, water-skimming glides, soarings, and feedings, all in gorgeous ultra slow motion.

One of our first stops on the island was to check up on our little friend Miguel who we witnessed hatch back in February. When we left the island last time, Miguel was looking weak and was having trouble standing up to receive his feedings, so our hopes for the little guy were not high.

Here is an update on what we found when we arrived at his nest:

 

21 Feb

MIDWAY V – Chicks everywhere

Here is another short video with Chris Jordan, showing the astonishing abundance of bird life on Midway Island.

 

http://www.MidwayFilm.com
BLOG: http://www.MidwayJourney.com

Video by Jan Vozenilek

Music by: Graham Ord featuring Tim Stewart
Chief – from the album Waiting
http:///www.GrahamOrd.com

 

27 Jan

MIDWAY V : pre-trip check-in

Dear Friends,

Here we go again, schlepping a small mountain of photo/video/sound recording gear back out to remote postage-stamp-sized Midway Island that has captured our hearts and imaginations in its powerful vortex. This time, if all goes well, we will witness and film a beautiful sight: the hatching of 300,000 baby albatrosses from their eggs. The adult albatrosses lay their eggs right on the ground, and as you know, they have no fear of humans, so we will be able to watch the little silver fluff balls emerging from their eggs from super close up. We are decked out with high-resolution camera and film gear with close-focus lenses, and lots of umbrellas and warm clothes, as the weather on Midway this time of year is stormy, wet, and cold.

Funding-wise, for this leg of the journey we are grateful to Koerner Camera in Seattle, the Compton Family Foundation in California, the Pax Natura Foundation in Salt Lake City and Aqua Hotels in Honolulu.  And as always, big love for the fab peeps at the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the island, all of whom have gone far above and beyond with their kind support of our vision.

Our A-team this trip includes Midway veterans Jan Vozenilek (Director of Photography for the film), Joe Schweers (Lead Camera and wildlife cinematography specialist), Jim Hurst (sound engineer, jib-arm expert, camera tech, and MacGyver-of-all-trades), Victoria Jordan (team poet, line producer, and my indispensable companion and soul mate).

We’ll be on the island Feb 2-16, and we plan on making lots of short behind-the-scenes videos to share with you during this trip, so stay tuned. Wish us luck, and looking forward to checking in from Midway!

~CJ

 

 

 

12 Jul

MIDWAY JOURNEY II – Junk Food III – Looking into the Mirror

Chris Jordan peels back the ribcage of a decaying albatross chick to reveal yet another belly-cargo of plastic. The ever present bottle cap is joined by a ballpoint pen cap, fishing float, and other assorted plastic junk from the human world that albatrosses forage from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, mistaking it for food.

Video by Jan Vozenilek
Written by Victoria Sloan Jordan
Music by Christen Lien

04 Jul

MIDWAY JOURNEY II – First Impressions

Dear Friends and Followers of Midway Journey,

Thank you for your patience as we have taken a few days to find our bearings and connect to the Internet.  We are astonished and delighted to find ourselves back here again on remote Midway Atoll.  The tiny island is now covered with several hundred thousand fledgling albatrosses inhabiting the paths, walkways, roads, meadows, and even the runway.

It’s hard to describe the complex mixture of feelings that arise in the presence of this incredible abundance of wildlife, especially as we are keenly aware of the devastating effects of the plastic that fills the stomachs of a huge percentage of these young birds.  One purpose of this leg of our journey is to witness their annual die-off, which will result in thousands of plastic-filled carcasses covering the ground as we saw when we visited here last September.

We’ve already begun to acquaint ourselves with the new stories that this chapter of our journey holds, and we look forward to sharing them with you over the next couple of weeks.  Thank you for joining us in this process.

With warm regards from Midway Atoll,

Chris, Victoria, Jan & Joe

Video by: Jan Vozenilek    Vimeo.com/JanVozenilek

Music by: Christen Lien  itsnotaviolin.com

See the area where this video was filmed on BlooSee’s satellite imagery.

28 Jun

Return to Midway

Dear friends and followers of Midway Journey,

As my team and I prepare to travel back to Midway Atoll, I cannot help but note the macabre juxtaposition of the environmental disaster that is happening in the Pacific Ocean, with the one that is happening in the Gulf of Mexico. The two phenomena are oddly parallel, involving (among other grotesque features) the deaths of untold numbers of sea birds, caused by millions of tons of our petroleum products that have poured into the ocean via our collective negligence. And in each case the birds can be viewed as messengers, serving as one small warning signal of a much larger calamity, with global consequences, in which our individual consumer lifestyles are unavoidably complicit.

My friend the artist Richard Lang says the opposite of beauty is not ugliness, but indifference. For me this means that to live ethical lives, we are called to turn toward the staggering enormity of human-caused catastrophes like the Pacific Garbage Patch and the Gulf Oil Disaster, opening our hearts to their horrors, and taking the risk that we might be overwhelmed by the potent feelings this process brings up in us. I can see no other acceptable approach, yet I fear that by dwelling on the awfulness of these tragedies—and the smorgasbord of others we survey in the news every day—we may lose our already tenuous connection with life’s beauty, mystery, humor, and joy. I want to learn to stand in the paradox of these conflicting realities, turning more fully toward each of them despite the anxiety involved, as they generate their respective teachings about what it means to live as an engaged citizen in our times.

These are some thoughts and intentions I carry in mind, as we journey back to Midway to document another chapter in the richly metaphoric intersection of the mythic albatross and the ten million tons of plastic pollution that swirl in the remote waters of the North Pacific. I invite you to follow our expedition as we blog from the island on midwayjourney.com, and as we release our photographs, writings, and the documentary film that will follow.

Happy July to all, with warm regards from Seattle,

~cj