First day of filming, Part two: climbing up

In the last post I told you that you would see more of the beach at Nushagak Point where we landed the skiff. Here it is and the sun is up. It burned away the gold and black of dawn leaving us with blue and white vaulted above us. I'll take it! 

On the beach at Nushigak

On the beach at Nushigak

Sometimes sunrise on Bristol Bay leaves you with grey with low hung clouds heavy with rain. Or fog that isn't so comforting to be in because you can't see the other boats working their nets around you. So if dawn finds you searching for your sunglasses a mid the rubble of detritus that collects on the galley table, one of the few flat spaces on a boat and annoyingly a catch all for everything, you are already on your way to a good day.

To recap from Part One of this blog, we left Dillingham at 5am on Friday, June 7th and skiffed out to Nushagak Point to film footage of the surrounding area. From the Point there is an amazing view and if you can gain a little elevation it only gets better. The Nushagak Point's elevation is 249 feet.

 

The top of Nushagak Point: Latitude. 58.94722°, Longitude. -158.49444° , Elevation. 76m

The top of Nushagak Point: Latitude. 58.94722°, Longitude. -158.49444° , Elevation. 76m

We carried quite a bit of production gear up the hill, 45 minutes to the top. Each of us had at least 50 lbs hanging off us including a Dana Dolly. A Dana Dolly is the device that allows a camera man to pan a scene smoothly by sliding camera attached to the Dana Dolly down a track. If you are not filming on a sound stage, you need to pack in all the equipment to the site you are filming. The trick is to bring only what you need and make sure you and the crew can carry it all. 

Carrying the Dana Dolly up to the top of Nugashak Point

Carrying the Dana Dolly up to the top of Nugashak Point

Balancing a Dana Dolly is an exact art. That's why we're horrible at it!

Balancing a Dana Dolly is an exact art. That's why we're horrible at it!

Once we reached the top of the Point we set up the Dana Dolly for the shoot. The track needs to level so when you slide the camera/dolly combo over the track the image stays level in the view finder of the camera. If the ground of the site you are shooting isn't level it can be challenging to set up the gear. Once we had the footage we wanted to capture from up on Nushagak Point we broke down the gear, packed it up and hiked back down to where we left the skiff on the beach. 

We knew the boat would be dry on the beach when we got back from the shoot. In order to leave Nushagak Point, the water would have to be high enough to float the boat off the beach for the skiff ride back to town.

We have talked about the tides in Bristol Bay, so extreme that it looks like someone pulled the plug and left us with mud where the Bay used to be. As the water rises and falls on each tide, channels of water appear and disappear in the mud depending on if the tide is coming in or out.  The water will be deeper in these channels once the tide is in and local knowledge of where the channels are can keep you from running aground on a changing tide. 

 

Gathering tundra fern for lunch

Gathering tundra fern for lunch

Nothing else to do, it was time for lunch. It is handy in Bristol Bay to know what wild food you can forage for dinner. Lettuce other than iceberg is often a mythological creature up here. A bunch of tundra fern sautéed in butter and garlic is far from roughing it and the brightly colored greens are a true taste of this place.

As it turns out we had to wait six hours for a high tide before we could leave Nushagak Point. Once again we were thankful for the sunny day and the beauty and bounty of the place we call home in the summer.

Leaving Nushagak Point at high tide, a setnet fishing village in the background

Leaving Nushagak Point at high tide, a setnet fishing village in the background