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Whale Journey: Connecting with the Humpback Whales, is a 28-minute evocative and experiential film about humpback whales, with stunning underwater footage that includes whales initiating contact with people. It sheds light on who these magnificent beings are--their vast intelligence, and their importance in the planet's ecosystem, containing informative quotes from scientists about cetaceans.
The intended audience is anyone with an interest in whales, from an environmental perspective of protecting whales, to the consciousness of the cetacean brain and intelligence, to interspecies communication research and experience, to those wanting to have a personal encounter with whales. This film can also be used as part of an educational program.
My first underwater encounter with humpback whales was completely unexpected. I had been swimming in the ocean with some wild spinner dolphins, and suddenly two enormous figures came into view. There was no time to feel any fear. I was immediately enveloped in what I can only describe as “immense gentleness” and I was aware of a vast consciousness. The whales cruised slowly by, maintaining eye contact with me the entire time. As they disappeared, I was filled with a euphoria that lasted three days. Then I became aware of a depth of being in me that I had not noticed before. Clearly something profound had happened, and it changed my life.
This experience with the humpback whales began an exploration into who and what whales are--their brains, minds and consciousness, why they are contacting humans after our massive slaughter of them, and their importance in not only the ocean ecosystem, but the entire ecosystem of the planet. I realized that I wanted to share this experience and information that I have researched in the way I know best, through photography and video. After three trips to Tonga to be with the humpback whales in the water and film them, I created Whale Journey.
The cetaceans are in great peril from causes such as pollution, sonar blasts, radiation, overfishing and needless slaughter. Please contact a cetacean / ocean conservation group to see how you can help. 10% of the Whale Journey proceeds are being donated to cetacean organizations.
Kathleen T. Carr, a professional and fine art photographer since 1972, lives on the Big Island of Hawaii. A former Findhorn Foundation and Esalen Institute staff photographer and Polaroid Creative Uses Consultant, she is also a photography teacher, author, and filmmaker. Her work has been exhibited internationally and has appeared in numerous books and periodicals, including several books she has authored: To Honor the Earth: Reflections on Living in Harmony with Nature (HarperSanFrancisco), Polaroid Transfers, and Polaroid Manipulations (Amphoto Books). She has been filming and photographing wild dolphins and whales for many years. Look for her forthcoming DVD on dolphins.
Video, Photographs & Editing
© Kathleen T. Carr
Post Production Assistance by Jonathan Tadross
Humpback Whales were filmed in Tonga
© Michael Hammer, keyboard
© Rebecca Schroeder, violin & vocals
© Jas Marlin, guitar, percussion, didgeridoo
© Cheryl Gama, silver flute, alto flute
© Mia Margaret, Celtic harp
Narration by Cheryl Gama
Music & Soundtrack Production by Jas Marlin
Whale sounds were recorded in Tonga & Hawaii
by Kathleen T. Carr, Lee Tepley & The Jupiter Research Foundation
Whale Journey © 2014 Kathleen T. Carr
This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.
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Viewers expecting to see a lot of extended shots of whales interacting underwater, with lush photography, will be let down. The film opens by saying that there is very little we know about these elusive creatures and by the end of the film, I felt unsatisfied with what little I learned after spending the 96 minutes to get through the slow and plodding documentary.
The product blurb says "We dive deep under the surface with blue whales to discover what they do at depth", yet there is very little underwater photography. Most of the film takes place above the waterline, showing the researchers in their boats, not whales. There are some aerial shots, but the camera exhibits jitter. A lot of the whale surfacing shots are taken afar with zoom lenses and seem to be standard definition shots enlarged and upscaled for HD. Some of the shots are even repeated 4 or 5 times, such as the pan of the baby whale at the end. Noticeable visual problems plague some of the shots, including color banding. I noticed some distracting artefacting problems with the sky in at least one shot.
The included "extra feature" is actually only a 6 minute short. It's in 480i. No subtitles.
Finally, the disc is not rated, but I will state that it is not for young or sensitive viewers. For its graphic depictions of dead whales (victims of ship strikes), and hunks of whale meat being sold in Tokyo, it would carry a PG-13 rating. There's even a few seconds showing a dead mother whale and an aborted whale baby washed up on a California beach, so be forewarned. This disc is not intended for young children.
To sum up: a boring, low-budget feeling documentary that disappoints. It's only minimally educational and not very entertaining. It shows people, not whales. Skip this, or just watch it on the Nat Geo channel.