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Crew Blog | Nāʻālehu Anthony: Capturing the Changing Tides

Today we spent the day at Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick Canada. We were hoping to catch the enormous tide going in and coming out on this new moon that adds at least a few feet to the regular tidal surge. We are estimating that the total tidal shift will be 42 feet over 6 hours. We arrived and set up our cameras just after the lowest point in the tide.  The kind folks at the park allowed us to drive down to the location and forgo the 700-yard walk down to the flowerpots with all our gear.  A special shout out to Paul and Annik who really helped us get set up and accomplish everything we needed to in the available time. 

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We utilized a total of 9 cameras to try to capture today’s transition: two DSLRs, two GoPros, a drone, a DJI Osmo, a DJI Phantom 4, a Panasonic HPX 250 and an iPhone. Because our time on location is so tight (we have to drive the 600 km back to the canoe tonight), we needed all this gear to capture the different perspectives and durations to show the change over time. The tidal change is one of the most dramatic natural phenomenon that I have witnessed in a long time.  The landscape is, in itself, dramatic as the towering rocks stand in defiance to the endless onslaught of the tides. These rocks are known as “flower pots” because of the vegetation growing on the top of the towering pillars. The bottoms of the pots are eaten away by hundreds of years of tidal surge, but they remain. Guides tell us that these rock structures will not fall for at least 250 more years if conditions stay as they are now.    

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When one overlays the beauty of the flower pots with the fast moving tides, the sight is really something to behold.  We were hoping that our cameras can catch what the minds eye cannot fathom; just how fast the water encroaches on the landscape. For that I did a bunch of tests over the last few weeks to get a better sense of how to use the technology to illustrate this change through the lens. The core of it is a basic time lapse that we added a little twist to – literally – to make our time lapse pan across the landscape. For this we used a syrp genie that you can get off the shelf at all the big photography retailers.  It’s a pretty nifty thing. It has an app for an iphone and you can control just a few variables; panning angle, duration of the capture and length between each shot.  

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But besides the technical build of all this equipment meant to capture the tides coming in about 42 feet and then going back out, there is also a story of the extreme natural wonderment that comes with a place like this.   The whole concept is really hard to fathom; billions of tons of water will flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy every 12 hours. It’s like nature has perfected this delicate symphony of water moving across the landscape of the thousands of years that it has taken to also carve into the landscape to what we see today.  I really thought that the whole movement would be more violent then it is just because of the sheer volume of water that needs to move as quickly as it does. But in actuality, the water is very graceful and gentle. It’s kind of like at the beaches in Hawaiʻi where the water laps up against the sand except this water is in a constant state of pushing towards the land, gaining at every small ripple. 

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The other thing captured in almost all the footage is the volume of people that descend upon this place.  Thousands upon thousands come to witness the the flower pots in the summer every day.  They come on foot.  They come by bus. They even come by kayak, paddling through the water that was ocean floor literally minutes before. The season is short at Hopewell Rocks as the park is closed for the winter. This is another tide that rolls in and out during the year, flooding with visitors in the summer when the weather is more comfortable and ebbing as the snow brings some amount of quiet to the place so it can regenerate and find renewal for the next season of flooding tides. The rhythm of life is undeniable here stay tuned for the video story that we are working on that hopefully captured the pulse of Hopewell Rocks. 

SB 68
Nāʻālehu


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