LWL: What does it takes to be a great underwater videographer?

 C: Good story-telling skills.

There has to be a reason that the viewer want to watch this and is captivated by this. Everybody’s making really good quality videos these days.

What makes people stand out in our society and me particularly, and this is how I received the job as an executive director is that I have a dignified way and a very artistic way of telling a story with those images.

(The key to shooting high-definition video, according to Charlie Fasano is vibrancy; getting the ‘pop’, the ‘wow’ factor and colors all right.)

LWL: What’s your proudest work to date?

C: My film, ‘Hawaii’s Undersea Ohana’. It is a story about the animals of the Hawaiian waters of the coral reefs system.

Hawaii’s Undersea Ohana Intro from Charlie Fasano on Vimeo.

Every animal in the ocean has its own special role… the Hawaiians saw this. They assimilated their cultural in human life with the marine life in their waters. And they did this by writing Olelo No’eau. They are proverbs that assimilated their human cultural life with the marine life.

(His film won the best music in nature film at Hamptons Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, a film festival that is part of Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, an event held across the United States in New York, Miami, Washington, D.C. and the Hamptons. Charlie’s film also won four and a half star at the Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii)

LWL: Saddest moments captured?

C: Midway Island, Hawaii littered with plastics. Birds are dead as they are decaying and rot on the ground. You can see the plastics that are in their stomachs that killed them.

We live in a plastic age and it has penetrated into the marine environment. This stuff gets into our food system. What comes out in the ocean goes into our belly. Whatever gets put into this ocean goes in to our belly. When we litter our oceans with plastics and toxic chemicals and what not, we litter our future generations.

LWL: What are your scariest encounters?

C: We have a dive in Hawaii that we call the ‘Black water night’ dive.

At 9 o’ clock at night, we leave the harbor, and head out about three miles straight west sitting in 6,000 feet of water. Just put on these 60 foot tethers and jump in.

All the animals that live around 2,000 to 3,000 feet come to the surface so you will see the most alien creatures in the whole wide world. These are animals that never see land. They live in an open pelagic and never see sunlight either. Very obscure very rare. The animals we look for is about 2 to 3 inches to about 5 to 6 inches.

The only problem is at night the big animals are out there hunting. They are out there. We are talking about Meko shark, blue sharks, the oceanic white tips, and even the great whites are out there hunting. It can be scary when you are three miles of shore, in the pitch black and you are jumping into the water. Not the smartest thing in the world.

Most alarming trends

Perhaps the one trend that is the most alarming of all is the exponential population growth that has increased over the past few years. We went from 6 to 7 billion people at the current level in the span of one year, while it took 25 years to reach 4 to 5 billion before.

C: Our world cannot handle that. We are depleting our resources too fast. There are too many people. What we have to take out of the ocean to feed that many people is just hurting it.

LWL: Is there any way out of this crisis?

C: It’s a collective act of mankind that can initiate this new age of the era. And that is what we have to do today.

There is hope. Nature can rebound. It takes a long time for it, but Dr. Sylvia Earle said what we do in the next ten years is going to have an impact on the next thousands of years.

We are at that point, where we are breaching that point of no return. We need to change our way in ten years.

Charlie is currently in Hawaii, filming dolphins for National Geographic. You can follow his work here at his website.

About the author

Pairat Temphairojana (Pai) is working as a journalist in Thailand. It was in 2009 when he first saw blue whales in a whale-watching tour in Alaska – and upon hearing that such majestic creatures like the Bryde’s whales is populating in the gulf of Thailand, he did not hesitate to join as a whale-watching guide in Thailand. He believes that having proper standards and regulations for a safer whale watching activities in the gulf of Thailand is necessary and can lead to a more sustainable tourism for the locals living in the region. Pai will be regularly joining us on board as a field observer and a reporter on our frequent visits to the Gulf of Thailand.

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