Posted by: janvozenilek | July 10, 2010

Midway Journey II – Behind the scenes

Here is a bit of a behind the scenes look at some of our work out on Midway Island for the Midway Journey expedition. The Kessler Cineslider is working amazing. We also have a 12 foot jib arm and a Steadicam. All have been great tools out here and we are very grateful for the golf cart that we can carry it all around in.

In the middle of the forest we found this little peanut. It’s a baby White Tern.

And our setup how we shot it with the Cineslider.

And our sound gear setup for our wildlife audio recordings.  Thanks so much Byron, from Matrix in Vancouver for all the gear.

Here is a short behind the scenes video clip:

And one of our Midway Journey short vignettes: MIDWAY Brushstrokes 3

Posted by: janvozenilek | July 8, 2010

Midway Island – Midway Journey II expedition

Dear friends,

Our team arrived safely on Midway Island and the past six days here have been a whirlwind of activity. We’ve been getting up early, and going to bed late… filming and photographing not only the abundant beauty of this place, but also it’s dark side.  It’s been an emotional roller coaster for me witnessing the hundreds of dying young Albatross chicks. They are such stunning and beautiful creatures, and it breaks my heart to watch them suffer and die.  The cause of this is dehydration, starvation and chocking.  The plastic bottle caps and cigarette lighters that fill most of their stomachs may just have something to do with it!

We came upon the seawall yesterday, on the south side of the island and there I saw a young chick, in the water, getting pounded by the waves into the chucks of concrete and rocks. He was water logged, wings spread open and drowning with each wave.   I began to film him, to watch him struggle and die. I struggled deeply whether to keep filming or jump down and rescue him.  I did both.

This has been the case a number of times now as we make our way all over the island.  Each day it seems there is less and less chicks out in the field, and more dead ones.

My intention was to keep this blog going regularly throughout this journey, but I am finding it difficult to find the time. When we are not filming, we are editing and producing the short films for the Midway Journey website, Facebook etc. The painfully slow internet connection also makes it difficult.

Please visit our Flickr page where we are posting photos from our trip. For some reason I can’t get the photos to upload onto this blog. These photos are also posted on our Facebook page.

You can follow our expedition at and join our Facebook page for daily updates.

I also ask that you please join the cause!  What we are witnessing here on Midway is the result of our disposable culture and the ‘throw away’ world we live in.  We are all responsible for this!  Each day we all make a choice whether the products we buy and use are made from disposable, single use plastic, or whether it’s some other material, that is better for our earth. Or better yet, to ask our selves the question, do I need that item or packaged good at all.

In our town a group of passionate folks formed a group called Plastic Free Penticton.  In just 4 short weeks, our fan page on Facebook has 250 people and locally in Penticton, it’s turned into a movement. We can’t believe how many people are excited to join the cause and help spread the message.!/pages/Plastic-Free-Penticton/123790037652206?ref=ts

I’d invite you to do the same in your own town or community.  Together we can make a difference!

With love and gratitude,


P.S.  And here are a couple of the short films we’ve edited since we got here.

Posted by: janvozenilek | June 26, 2010

Midway Island new gear test – Kessler Cineslider

I’ve spend most of my past week prepping for the upcoming trip back to Midway Island in the North Pacific.  We are returning for a second time, to continue work with Chris Jordan on the Midway Journey project.  This time, I’ve been very fortunate that the folks that fly the charter plane from Honolulu to Midway made a concession and doubled my weight limit from the typical 50 pounds, to 100.  I begged and pleaded as I really wanted to bring more gear and equipment on this trip.   It was such great news when that email came!!

So this time around, in addition to the HDV camera and SteadicamJR I brought last time, I am bringing a Canon 5DM2, along with some awesome new gear.  One of those items is the Kessler Cineslider

It arrived last week and I am blown away by the quality of the design of this thing.  With the added electraDRIVE motor and Oracle controller, the movement is truly amazing.  It has a timelapse feature built in as well, so it can run for all night and create absolutely stunning night-time sky shots.  I can’t wait to use it out on Midway next week.  With virtually zero light pollution, the shots we get should be pretty amazing.

Here is the first test shoot video:

Posted by: janvozenilek | June 23, 2010

Not in my back yard!

Not in my own backyard!  Over the past 9 months, as a result of the life changing experience out on Midway Island last year, my family and I have worked hard at reducing and refusing single use plastic.  We started thinking that plastic is something others consume and the birds way out in the Pacific Ocean die from it.  BUT, today I was reminded how responsible I am, we all are together, for this plastic mess we have created.

Today behind our garage, Jennifer heard a strange noise.  As she looked closer she noticed a small baby bird entangled in a piece of plastic fishing line.  He was desperately trying to fly away but was tangled in the line struggling to breath.  At first glance it seemed as though he had swallowed it and it was stuck in his mouth.  We were on a rescue mission.  I gently grabbed hold of him and unwrapped the line that was twice around his neck.  Once free of the plastic prison I released him into the air where another bird joined him from a bush nearby, most likely one of his worried parents.

As I prepare for another trip to Midway Island in just over a week, I couldn’t help to think about the irony of this poor little bird who was dying from a piece of plastic, right in my own backyard. This experience was deeply moving for me.  When we are on Midway this time, we will be seeing baby Albatrosses, just old enough to head out on their own, many dying as a result of the plastic they have been fed.  Somehow it seems easier to think that plastic is a problem in the Pacific, but after today I am reminded that it is a huge problem right here in our own backyards.

Posted by: janvozenilek | June 23, 2010

February 28, 2010 – Last day of the Olympics

Better late then never… final day of the 2010 Olympics.

Had an early morning and checked out of the hotel.  The experience at the Empire Landmark was less then adequate and I would not recommend this hotel to anyone!  There are lots of other great options in town with far better service!!

Then we headed to the IBC where I helped Jiri Bakala pack up his edit suite and said goodbye to all the guys at the office. It was a great three weeks getting to know many of them.

We then headed to the Czech House. Along the way, there were lineups at every single pub and bar along the way. Everyone waiting to get in and get a seat for that final hockey game.

We got to the Czech house, had lunch and watched that final USA vs. Canada game. OMG… that was something!!!! But what a finish to the game and to the whole Olympics. An author could have not written the ending any better.  I sat there watching the ending, the beautiful commentary after the big win… then there was that wide helicopter shot of downtown Vancouver, as the announcer commented how it is not really visible from the air, how much excitement and celebration is going on in the streets of Vancouver at that moment….  my eyes were tearing up how proud and excited and fortunate I was feeling to not only have had this opportunity to work with these amazing folks from my native land, but how proud I was at that moment, to be Canadian!!  It was at that moment, that the top boss from Czech TV, Ota Cerny, yelled at me from across the room, “Hey, Vozenilek… don’t cry…. remember, you are Czech!!”  I responded that “I am allowed to cry… that I am half and half!!”  It was so funny and one of those moments I’ll never forget!!

We then left and headed back to the hotel for the last time said goodbye to the Czech House, where I spent so much of my time over the past 3 weeks.

While driving back, at one of the red lights, I jumped to the back and pulled out my camera and snapped some photos out of the car window.  There was celebration on every corner, streets were closed, gridlock everywhere.. it was amazing!

I then decided to go visit my friends Milan and Romana and after a bit of debating whether to walk or drive, I decided to walk…thankfully!  Right down Robson, onto Granville and over the Granville Street Bridge.  It was an unbelievable sight!!!  Thousands upon thousands of people, singing, dancing, celebrating…

A camera guy shooting with a RED cam.

Only in Vancouver!! Melting pot of people.. so wonderful!!

Even the police security guys were high fiving everyone…

As I walked up the Granville street bridge, the cars all of a sudden stopped flowing and the bridge was shut down. It immediately filled with people, walking into downtown to join the party.

Buses lining the Cambie Street bridge waiting to pick people up from the Closing Ceremonies.

I got to Milan, Romana and Daniela’s place and we watched the closing ceremonies on tv together.  The amazing part was that looking out the window of their condo, we were overlooking False Creek and BC Place Stadium, where the closing ceremonies was taking place.  We were trying to imagine the energy in that building at that moment.

View of the finale fireworks over downtown.

Milan and I then walked back over the Granville Street bridge back downtown to join the party. It was wild!!

Robson Square fire works and people EVERYWHERE!!

Art Gallery fountain… full of bubbles.

…and middle of it all, this guy, enjoying a quiet moment.

Finished the night off by going out for a beer with the guys from the station.  Lots of great stories and reminiscing on the past 3 weeks.  They were genuinely taken by the atmosphere in the city and mentioned that from the many other Olympic games they’ve been at, they haven’t quite seen this sort of thing before.  That was really neat to hear!!

After I got back to my room that night, I spent a few minutes out on the balcony, overlooking the city and felt very sad for this adventure to be over.  The memories and experiences from this amazing event I’ll cherish for the rest of my life and I feel so very grateful for the opportunity to have been part of it.

Lastly, here some of my favorite videos from the games. All put together by the fantastic team at Barbershop Films.

Opening ceremony film:

With Glowing Hearts – this was probably one of my favorites and I tear up each time  I watch this!! It was played at all the venues during the games.

Highlight film from the games with a really fabulous music track by Go Do called Jonsi.

And finally, this fabulous summary and video from CTV

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