The countdown to our Baja departure is well under way. The class has been divided into groups of two, each researching a different facet of the history and social and environmental trends around Magdalena Bay – from the seafood business and government to local geography and marine life. Next week, these teams will make presentations on these subjects to help educate the group as a whole.

We’ve also set up our first interview, with Dr. Alonso Aguirre, a veterinarian and conservation biologist who has built a career around protecting marine life and educating fishermen, other veterinarians, and communities about conservation. He is now the executive director of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (a new partnership between the Smithsonian Institution and George Mason University in Virginia).  Prior to this position he taught at Columbia University while working as a senior vice president of the Wildlife Trust.  Alonso grew up in Mexico, and has made the trip to Baja many times.

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Alonso Aguirre, executive director of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, with a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in a rehabilitation center in Kuroshima, Okinawa, Japan. Photo courtesy of Alonso Aguirre

Aside from all the research, lectures on theory and storytelling, we also began to familiarize ourselves with the equipment that we will be bringing to Baja. We will be bringing six cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and even a Steadicam for stabilizing shots made on the run.

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The Canon XF 300 in all its glory.

Our cameras include the Canon XF300 and XF100, two extremely high quality camcorders. These will be for interviews, and certain scenic shots. We will also be bringing two of the popular Go Pro cameras, along with their many different mounts, for our b-roll shooting. We have suction cup mounts, gorilla tri-pods, waterproof housings and more. Finally, we also have two Flip cameras for shooting “b-roll” – the stray footage that is needed to flesh out a film. The Flips also have a waterproof housing. Given that one focus is sea turtles, it’s clear that some of our shoots may be in “the splash zone.”

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To follow our progress, be sure to subscribe to our blog, ‘like’ us on Facebook, and track our journey on Twitter using the hashtag #pacebaja or by following our @pacebaja tweets.

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