Wild Alaska Weather Rocks Our Reality

This is quite mild, relatively speaking, but when the house shakes, the outlets gush cold air, the windows flex, and we are still cold despite the wood disappearing at a prodigious rate, it’s still intense. I feel for the folks out there on the west coast – they are being hammered, for sure!

It’s a balmy 12 degrees now, the wind howling like a whole band of banshees, whipping the trees and the snow into frenzied dances, and I’m heading out to see if I can’t capture some more exciting footage!

Here are some examples:

A Dizzying Effect

My head is spinning. Could be the wine, but the whirling sensation is more likely to have been caused by the never-ending stream of events, activities and projects that I do welcome, as they are all fun, they offer opportunity and experience, but by GOLLY! I simply don’t know how I am going to get all this work done!

One project of note, recently finished, and now onto the next phase of it, is the Kickstarter promo video for Caressa Starshine. You can view this intense but whimsical video


Caressa just launched her campaign last night at her performance at the Bunnell Street Gallery in Homer, Alaska, and one of the upcoming video projects is to weave together shots of that performance into a music video for her. Please show your support for independent musicianship and art by visiting her Kickstarter page, and know that every little bit counts! Thanks!

In other news, the Burning Basket project has become much larger than originally intended, and is rife with potential. I haven’t really counted, but I’m sure that I’ve got well over 30 hours of footage, well over a terabyte, to go through. There ae many facets to this particular project, and I’m hoping to have something to show for it online within a month. It might be a highlights reel, or it might be the original idea come to life: A time lapse of the entire event, from sand and rocks, through building, creating, weaving, and burning, to sand and rocks. We’ll see.

I sent the Atomos Ninja back to B&H. It wasn’t a “bad” unit…in fact, I miss it. However, I had little time to return it after I ascertained that it was not for me in the long run. I will have to come up with another $1000 to purchase the Sound Devices PIX 220, but I think it will suit my working style better. Without going into too much detail, here’s what I will miss about the Ninja vs. the PIX 220:

The Ninja has excellent battery life, a VERY useful carrying case, uses inexpensive 2.5″ SATA HDD OR SSD drives – I could record almost all day straight through without worry – and the super-simple touch-screen interface was a boon to quick setup and recording confirmation.


With the PIX220 I will appreciate the ability to record in the DNxHD codec, with more bit rate choices, as well as the XLR mic inputs, the more robust construction, and most of all, a larger, more hi-rez screen, equipped with focus assist, with which I can actually gauge my focus when shooting, instead of guessing. There are a few more benefits, but one drawback is that it is not designed to use mechanical drives, which is a factor of cost, but not performance.

I’ll let you know how it goes, with a more complete review, and screen shots, if they ever actually make the damn thing available!

What else? I’ve been invited to shoot a series of high school plays, and am looking forward to shooting more people-oriented video for stock. I’ve a few fun clips up my sleeve, waiting to be fulfilled – some are dangerous, which makes careful planning more important – there will be no “Take 2!”

And winter is coming. Soon we will be snowshoeing out to the VW or the Toyota – not so bad if you are just carrying groceries, but my kit is getting heavy! We haven’t gotten sufficient wood in, the house needs some work, the vehicles need some TLC, and yet all I can deal with is the day-to-day involvement in this videographer’s lifestyle. It will come, though….the balance I seek.

And in the meantime, the cello beckons … my half-forgotten friend …

(Still whirling, but by now it’s most assuredly the wine)

Video Upgrades, Clips, and Projects = Busy-ness!

There’s a lot going on. I recently complicated my life by contacting Mavis Muller, a local Homer artist, who oversees the creation of baskets, gives them to the community, then burns them. See here: Burning Basket Anyway, I had this idea to to a timelapse of the whole week of creation and then the burning. We’ll see how THAT comes out….I’ll post the results here. Could be a documentary (15 minutes or so) to accompany the timelapse. Or is that the other way around?

Actively looking into acquiring a device that will allow me to capture better-quality video than I am currently able to. I am limited to 25 Mb/s HDV, shot with my Sony HVR-Z5U, and this is not making me very happy at all. Since I like to shoot in challenging situations (low light, subtle gradients, contrasty, highly-detailed nature shots like water ripples and trees, the super-heavy compression of HDV is just not cutting it. The two solutions I am mulling over at the moment are the Atomos Ninja OR, depending on what great surprise Atomos will be unveiling this Friday, perhaps I will look to the Sound Devices PIX 220. Either will do the job….the PIX 220 is more expensive, but a little more functional – bigger screen, HDMI throughput, on-the-fly pulldown removal, and a few other details. More on this issue later, but I am REALLY looking forward to saying goodbye to HDV!!!

My current clip count on Pond5 is 775 video clips, not counting audio, with five uploading, another psychotic pattern rendering, and ideas for more. The list of Things to Shoot is long. One, something that will require some amount of destruction, involves having a camera and gun shoot each other simultaneously. I’ll let you know how that goes. I’m hoping to reach 1000 clips by November. That should not be too difficult. I can usually put out 10 a day easy if I’ve been shooting, and I can start harvesting my older work if need be, although that will consume more time than simply setting something up so I can shoot some of my ideas. Makes less of a mess though …

In the meantime, the weather worsens. Those carefree summer days are about gone. It has come to the point of jumping up and going out, regardless of other schedules, should the sun peek out and the rain stop. A dynamic time, this, and a chance to get things done inside, but a shortage of footage to edit and upload makes for a certain unease.

There is the involvement with several local people on various projects and ideas of theirs…..some will turn into something, others will not, but following these notions around to see which turn into something leads to further interconnectedness and more opportunities to complicate my life. I’ll talk more about each as they grow …

There are many tech projects to work on: A car box/mount so that I can shoot while driving (this will require the device mentioned above, as well as a LANC controller), a small crane, the motion-control systems for panning, tilting, and linear motions for timelapse work, developing a better mount for my camera slider so it is not such a pain to use, and, oh yes…there’s work to be done on the house, the VW, the Toyota, and who knows what else!

Busy-ness. It’s a good thing to have.

It’s about time! (This site under construction)

As of today, 17-Jul-11, after much thought and more procrastination, this site is (finally) being organized and assembled. The basic form is in place, but new pages will soon be added, and this section, the blog post section, will be mostly for highlighting current clips or projects that are exciting to me, or describing current events that may be of interest.

Please read the existing pages and check back frequently for updates!