michael naimark





Elk Update, Banff

Michael Naimark


We're down to our 19th of 20th pairs of film stock, now filming a 24 hour timelapse of Banff and the Bow Valley at 1 frame per minute, cameras locked in Gilles' van on top of Tunnel Mountain Rd. Full moon.

Just got word from the video transfer lab in Edmunton that our last batch came out fine, which is a relief since we've been saving the last pair of film stock for emergencies - not that it would help much at this point in time. We decided that if the word from Edmunton was good, we would use it to film elk on the golf course again.

Everyone who follows such things here knows that the peak elk action is on the Banff Springs golfcourse, where HUNDREDS of elk appear around late afternoon: elk families lounging on the driving range, little girl elk dancing, little boy elk play-sparring, big girl elk seeming nonchalant and big boy elk howling, bluffing, and sometimes fighting it out. Male elk have as many as 25 females in their harem, and are very very protective. Wednesday we rented a golf cart and mounted the camera on it, and I must say had a most intense non-domestic animal experience. We're talking eye contact, psyching out, and interactive movement since we could move almostas fast as they could. We were generally gentle and cooperative, and so were they. We were bluffed several times by some rather, uh, large and nasty looking males but never charged.

In line with the art side of this project, we're trying to film the

interactions between natural sites and people, in this case between the elk and the golfers. It's a pretty absurd situation. Tourists have reserved their Big Golf Game months in advance. Many have come from far away, mostly Japan, to play on the famous Banff Springs golfcourse. And there's some high drama out there, I hear. A middle-aged Japanese tourist guide told me he was out playing golf with a honeymoon couple from Tokyo when an elkcharged them. He warded it off with his golf club (he said). Then the young bride started crying. Go figure.

But the fastest we could film was 1 frame per second, and unfortunately I expect little "life" will come through (perhaps some good stillframes,

though). We've also been using our ultra-wide angle (5.5mm) immersion

lenses. Today we'll convert to the longer 10mm lenses and run the cameras at a semi-sycnhronous 8 frames per second.

Back home monday, hopefully.