archive for September of 2009
The last weekend of summer, we went camping at Second Beach near La Push, WA. It's a magical place, and we got very lucky with the weather. Typically I return home from trips to the coast or the Straits of Juan de Fuca with pockets full of rocks, shells, or sand dollars that end up in boxes on shelves I never look at.
Lately instead of bringing these finds home, I'm trying to capture them in situ, as they are, with a photo. It's not just about documenting the object, but trying to capture the context of the object in its environment -- that's what I really want to remember anyway. It's less about the thing itself than about the moment the tableau made an impression on me, and what that impression was. I think of it as a candid portrait, trying to capture the personality of the thing.
Here are a few attempts... taken with a simple consumer point and shoot, albeit a good one (Fuji F200 EXR).
alien life forms
portrait of a baby kelp
mysterious island #1
mysterious island #2
More photos from the Second Beach trip--not all object portraits--on flickr here.
For now 2D photos are ok. I'm trying some video, but am not happy with the results yet, in terms of being true to the feeling of the scene. I need a mic and a tripod. I look forward to the day when I can shoot (and easily view) high res 3D video footage.
Thanks to Bing, one of the US Navy's most closely guarded secrets has been revealed. I learned of this major security SNAFU from "Focus on Military," a little electronic newsletter I subscribe to which is published by techonline. In short, Microsoft's mapping software clearly displays the propeller of an Ohio class submarine in dry dock in Bangor, WA. (Incidentally, Bangor Naval Submarine Base stores 1700 Trident missiles--each with multiple warheads--making it the 3rd largest collection of nuclear weapons in the US.)
Why should a picture of a propeller be such a secret? Well, the shape of the blades and placement angle are what make the submarine so quiet and therefore difficult to detect. The Navy has been at great pains to classify submarine propulsion systems since the Navy's first submarine. On the bright side, perhaps wind power generators will benefit from the design.
The exposure of the Ohio's propeller reminded me of my experience as Chief Game Designer for Zombie Studios' Spearhead, an M1A2 Main Battle Tank simulator. In a continuing drive towards realism, we took an audio engineer out to the Yakima Training Center Firing range to record all the sounds associated with a tank. We recorded everything from radio chatter, to the 7.62 loader's LMG, to the commander's .50 cal, to the sound of the engine revving up (a jet engine) to the firing of the main gun (really LOUD--can't imagine what it's like on the receiving end). The Army was quite generous in allowing us to photograph everything--well, everything but one thing. We were not allowed to photograph the main hatch at an angle that would allow someone to determine the thickness of the armor--this was highly classified.
When I was 5 my older brother, David, was on Zoom. I'm not sure how popular Zoom was to the rest of the world, but in our family, no show was more important (except maybe Star Trek).
To this day, the elevating electronic noise/music of the WGBH-TV title sequence still excites me because it signaled the beginning of Zoom. (I like the WGBH sound so much I made it my cell phone ringer. WGBH also produced Cosmos, another favorite growing up.)