Random Sights and Diversions

Photography Media Reviews Commentary


T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot, who died this weekend in 1965, was one of the 20th Century’s most important poets. Eliot won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. Among his major works are The Wasteland, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Ash Wednesday, and (my favorite) Four Quartets. Eliot has been a favorite of mine since college days (don’t ask; too long ago).

Flavorwire (a great website to follow on all aspects of culture) published this week “20 T.S. Eliot Quotes for Better Living and Creative Inspiration.”  Here are to selected examples that I especially like.

“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

And a statement about plays but that seems quite applicable to photography as I understand it.

“A play should give you something to think about. When I see a play and understand it the first time, then I know it can’t be much good.”



Ghost Ranch Country at Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

In the midst of editing and posting images of the area around New Mexico’s Ghost Ranch. where Georgia O’Keeffe painted and lived for many years, I have stumbled across this announcement from Santa Fe that the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has just opened an exhibition of O’Keeffe paintings of the country in and around the Ghost Ranch.  (Museum website here.)

Georgia O’Keeffe, Ghost Ranch [“Untitled (Red and Yellow Cliffs)”] Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe New Mexico. Published in the Albuqerque Journal, December 7, 2014.

 This painting [“Untitled (Red and Yellow Cliffs”)] and others like it have long inspired me. Scenes like this abound in the Ghost Ranch area, but I can imagine that O’Keeffe was painting cliffs much like the ones pictured in the background of my image for the December One Four Challenge.


Expedition Arguk

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This marvelous video – “The World Beyond the World” – was produced by Paxson Woelber from the 2013 Arguk Expedition, a 300 mile backpacking trip through the Alaskan wilderness.  “Arguk” means to “walk against the wind” in Alaskan Inupiat. Woelber was a member of the expedition team that travelled 300 miles through Alaskan wilderness without roads, trails, towns or campgrounds.

The video was produced by Woelber entirely from digital still images assembled in Photoshop. Woelber’s video production technique is fantastic. (Most of the mages are available free and without restriction at the Expedition Arguk site – One of the purposes of the expedition. Here is their photo gallery – It includes much fabulous landscape photography.) Most images for the video were shot in Gates of the Arctic national park.

Woelber is a prolific producer. Visit his website. Woelber uses a painstaking technique to construct the video. Image layers are separated in Photoshop and then assembled into the video in Adobe After Effects. The technique is known as “motion graphics.”

The video includes a narrative audio from Robert Marshall’s “Alaska Wilderness: Exploring the Brooks Range” (1929). According to this Wikipedia entry, Marshall was the father of the wilderness preservation movement and partly responsible for the US passage of the Wilderness Act.


Fog of San Francisco

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This beautiful time-lapse video, titled “Adrift“, is by Simon Christen. Christen subtitles it “A love letter to the for of the San Francisco Bay area.”  I used to live in San Jose, in the South Bay, for a number of years. I easily fell in love with San Francisco and the whole Bay Area. Frequently I made the drive back and forth to San Francisco and enjoyed the fog that would flow like a river in the sky over the peninsula hills. The fogs in San Francisco itself were splendid. And this video truly does justice to the Bay Area and its fogs.

I found this video at The Atlantic, here, “Fog, More Beautiful Than You Have Ever Seen It Before.” It was posted on Vimeo where the video has received three-quarter million views in just a week. Simon Christen writes:

“Adrift” is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where “Adrift” was born.

The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. I developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, I would set my alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands.

I spent many mornings hiking in the dark to only find that the fog was too high, too low, or already gone by the time I got there. Luckily, once in a while the conditions would be perfect and I was able to capture something really special. Adrift is a collection of my favorite shots from these excursions into the ridges of the Marin Headlands.

I hope with my short film I am able to convey the feeling of happiness I felt while I experienced those stunning scenes.

Simon Christen’s website is here, where you will find more timelapse video work as well as stunning travel, landscape, and abstract still photography.


Flowers Timelapse

This is an absolutely spectacular piece of timelapse photography of emerging flowers by a Czech photographer, Katka Pruskova.  The video is 2:41 and best viewed in HD fullscreen. The music is “Arrival of the Birds” by The Cinematic Orchestra. Katka Pruskova’s website is here, and a page of “behind the scenes” information on the flowers video here. The video is copyright 2012 by Katka Pruskova.

This work is magnificent and exhibits both extraordinary skill by Ms. Pruskova and exceptional artistic flourish. The flowers are truly fascinating. Flowers include Amaryllis, Lilies, Zygocactus, Rose, Gladiolus, Tulip, and Gardenia. Relaxing and deeply enjoyable!


Iceland: The Midnight Sun

Summer is the season of the midnight sun in the far northern hemisphere. There is  splendid landscape and time-lapse photography in this video of “Midnight Sun | Iceland” shot by Scientifantastic.

Best viewed fullscreen and in HD (the embedded video is HD), “Midnight Sun” was shot over a 17-day period in June 2011 by Scientifantastic. If you like mountains, sky, water, oceancoast, and spectacular scenery, you should love this video! Some of the mountainscapes almost look like abstract paintings.

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