This post is also available in: Dutch.
Phone calls exist in many different forms. Almost always, receiving a phone call goes hand in hand with an emotional response. You might get annoyed, because it is that obnoxious telemarketer on the other side of the line. You might feel sadness, because your partner in conversation has bad news to share. Maybe you can’t control your nerves, because the doctor on the other side of the line is about to reveal your test results. And maybe you feel happiness, because it’s an old friend calling to catch up. In whatever scenario, that phone call triggers a response. But sometimes, it can trigger much more than that.
In this case, the phone call coming in was to confirm that the first money, from the Prins Bernhard Fund, had indeed been assigned to the production of Ecosplash. That one phone call sparked what Leon calls the vibe. The vibe is a somewhat famous concept here at the Curaçao Footprint Foundation, because apparently, when Leon gets the vibe, things are about to happen. He might put something on paper, write some music or, like yesterday, he is overcome with the uncontrollable urge to start shooting some footage for the nature documentary. As you can imagine, for an intern who spends his weekends surrounded by other interns that complain about their boring internships in air conditioned offices, there are no sweeter words than “Nik, are you in the mood to go snorkeling today?”.
My debut as a cameraman
And so there we went, snorkeling gear packed, cameras ready and with the vibe on or side, off to Jan Thiel to shoot some hopefully useful material for a promo video. Starting off in the mangroves, I mostly went with my guts. See, I have no clue where to look for all the interesting details, so I just pointed my camera and went with the flow. Leon was a little bit more pragmatic, but as he likes to put it, nature doesn’t allow for it to be directed. So there we were, sticking our cameras between the sea grass and mangrove trees and hoping for the best.
After the mangroves we continued on to the reef. It being one of my first snorkeling trips here on Curaçao, I greatly enjoyed this, even though the waves kept sending sea water down my snorkel. During my cameraman debut (although I doubt if any of my footage will make it to the promo) I saw parrot fish, trumpet fish, whole schools of grey-blue fish that I do not know the name of (it is a little harder to consult with your encyclopedia when you are face down in the water), coral and plenty of color. I also managed to shoot some material of Leon in action, which I’m hoping will result in a behind the scenes addition to the documentary. Altogether, a very enjoyable afternoon on the job.
Certainties and uncertainties
Unfortunately, the results weren’t too satisfactory. See, that’s one of the risks when documenting nature; you never know up front how it will turn out. Luckily, nature isn’t going anywhere (for now), and plenty more days will follow, with new light, new waves and new opportunities. Documenting nature might come with many uncertainties, but if there are two things that we can count on for sure, they are these: that nature’s beauty will be there waiting for us tomorrow and that Leon’s vibe will soon return, hopefully stronger than ever.