Whale watching

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a great but little known Bay Area tradition – the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival. Held over 5 days at the little cinema hidden away at Pier 39 – the epicenter of ‘Tourist SF’.

This home grown festival celebrates all things oceanic and featured shorts, documentaries and feature length films – most accompanied by apré-viewing discussions with the film makers and stars. A Salty Sundance!

One of the highlights for me was to see ‘In the Eye of the Whale’ – a documentary about the inspired hard work, dedication and vision of  Bryant Austin. The movie was made by Kate Miller – the director of Marine Mammal Conservation through the Arts. Bryant constructs incredibly detailed and evocative images of wild whales by building up photomosaics of multiple images captured on a 50Mp Hasselblad underwater camera. He then has them digitally printed FULL SIZE (i.e. WHALE SIZED!!). The images are then mounted in exhibitions which tour whale hunting nations to draw peoples attention to the wonder of these creatures and to encourage a new perspective and homegrown activism.

You can see images at the MMCTA website and make donations to support the exhibitions and Bryants work.

Here is a sample to tantalize.

Life-size sperm whale composite image

Sperm whale

This last image sent shivers down my spine. It recalled one of my favorite illustrations of a Sperm Whale from the 1930 Random House edition of Moby Dick illustrated (superbly) by Rockwell Kent.