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MOBULAS IN BIOLUMINESCENSE, Blue Planet-II When we proposed this sequence for Blue Planet-II I had barely any experience filming bioluminescence with low light cameras, but with the little experience I had, I was sure that if we found mobulas in waters teeming with noctilucas, we could capture footage that could be compelling. The Sea of Cortez can be very rich in plankton during spring time, but noctilucas are not always present and even when they are, they do not appear always in the same concentrations. The challenge then was not only to find the mobulas at night, but to find them in a site with the right density of nocticulas and also in good enough visibility. Since this had never been filmed before we were asked to do a test first. If it worked, then a full fledge shoot could be organized. A Sony A7S-II and her Nauticam housing were sent to us from the UK and soon Liisa and I were in one of the coves of Espiritu Santo Island where mobulas can be found at night. We entered the sea before sunset to set up a rig with lights. I had devised a system, a sequence of steps, that had to be carried out with the cooperation of the crew on board. Those steps had to be performed before every shot I would take. The rays appeared about an hour after sunset and we began to film. We dove almost the whole night, only getting out to change batteries and memory cards. Since all the needed elements were there, we wanted to film as much as we could because we did not know what the next night would bring. We tried different camera settings in the hopes of obtaining the most optimal footage possible. Noise was the main factor that would make the footage usable or not. We got out of the water a little before sunrise, not knowing if we had captured anything useful during all those hours of work. The way in which we had devised the shoot prevented us from seeing properly in the monitor what we were capturing. But we needed not to worry, the camera had recorded several beautiful shots that we saw once we processed the footage in the computer later that morning. All the same, the images were inordinately noisy, to the point that we thought they could never be used. But with the right technology the footage was processed and the noise reduced, and many of the shots that we filmed during the recce ended up being used in the final sequence that appeared in the first episode of Blue Planet II.

BIGGEST POD OF SPINNER DOLPHINS This was the very first time I was sent on a shoot by myself, without a producer or director. I was filming for a series being produced by John Downer Productions that would appear in first in the BBC and then worldwide. I felt a tremendous responsibility and had a great urgency to deliver what I had been asked to film. By the second day I had the main shots I had been sent to capture of spinners leaping. And I was also lucky, by the second to last day I saw something I had been dreaming to see: the lanternfish baitballs being preyed upon by Mobula taparapacana rays and spinner dolphins. Along the way I recorded one of the biggest spinner superpods ever filmed at the time and had many beautiful encounters with those sleek and graceful dolphins.

JELLYFISH SMACK, ALASKA We were in a zodiac, coming back to the boat after filming salmons in a creek when I saw in the distance, close to the shore, three very neat, pale green patches of water separated by a few hundred meters. We were in Prince William Sound, Alaska, filming for a National Geographic documentary about Salmon Sharks. I asked Ken Corben, our director, to go there to check what was that. A few minutes later we were staring at a dense concentration of moon jellies (Aurelia sp) pulsating a few meters under the surface. This is what is called a “Jellyfish Smack”. I quickly zipped my dry-suit, put a new tank and in my back and soon I was underwater in the midst of one of the most beautiful nature spectacles I have ever seen. The mass of jellyfish looked like a colossal, translucent mobile sculpture, shifting shape in slow-motion in a world of water and light. Big lion's mane jellyfishes also were present adding some points of color to the pale gathering of Aurelias. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and something I would like to see again.

The Economist: What sharks reveal about the state of the ocean. Shark researchers use satellite tags to study shark movements in the ocean. The tags help these scientists map the migration routes of the sharks and to discover the locations where they stay when not migrating. In 2019 Todd Steiner, founder and executive director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) led an expedition to Cocos Island in Costa Rica. One of the objectives of the expedition was to put a satellite tag on a shark notorious for being dangerous. Named Laguertha by the locals, this big tiger attacked two divers in 2017 leaving one dead and one seriously injured. Knowing her movements would help protect the divers who visit this extraordinary Costa Rican Island. Lagertha appeared in all her nefarious glory the second day of our expedition. Todd quickly approached her and successfully tagged her. Unfortunately, the tag was lost a few weeks later and no useful information was obtained about her habits.

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