High Desert Test Sites Photo Album Links

Here are links to a lot of my “documentation” of the High Desert Test Sites events this past weekend in the Joshua Tree area. Most photos and titles link to Facebook photo albums; there are also links to YouTube videos for some.

Kriblin Jihn Kabin – High Desert Test Sites

Video pan of  the interior (with lots of wind noise)

Godwin & Pioneer: Thom Merrick – High Desert Test Sites

Video from Godwin & Pioneer

Rosa Muerta After Party – High Desert Test Sites

Marnie Webber Spirit Girls High Desert Test Sites

Andrea Zittel’s Land – High Desert Test Sites

Yosua Okon “White Russians” High Desert Test Sites

Patrick Johnson “Yesterday and Tomorrow” High Desert Test Sites

Amy & Wendy Yao Art Swapmeet – High Desert Test Sites

Short video excerpt from the musicians’ performance

Joel Kyack The Greater The Goal. The Deeper The Hole High Desert Test Sites

Very short video interview with Joel

Julia Scher “Surveillant Architectures” – High Desert Test Sites

Jack’s Place at High Desert Test Sites

Ann Magnuson Time Travelling Hooker – High Desert Test Sites

Wonder Valley Inst. of Contemporary Art Inaugural Opening

Broken Toe

So the doctor at LA County Hospital was giving me advice about my broken toe and how to take care of it.  He looked like a death-metal rocker dude in a lab coat; long scraggly hair, beard, tattoos, rings and all. He was nice though, and used lots of big vocabulary words to prove that he really was a doctor. Then when I said I’d love it if I could get a copy of the X-ray, he went and printed two out for me.

Broken Toe 1

Broken Toe 2

Then he said he was gonna show me how to “buddy tape” the toe. I wasn’t so sure it wasn’t some new S&M thing people around LA were into these days. I knew I shouldn’t have watched the first season of “Californication.”

Video Cubism and the Video Collage

sbsunset.jpegMy current creative investigation relates to what I call “video cubism,” although so far my efforts are really just panoramic video collages, and the cubist aspect hasn’t been fully investigated.

In theory, however, they are sort of a cubist approach to video. This approach compresses and fragments both the time and sound content, which is as jarring as cubist artwork in other media. I’m not sure these initial efforts really completely embrace that aspect of the technique yet, but hint at some possibilities for it. I haven’t been a big fan of cubism myself, but I was rather awestruck by seeing Hockney’s Pearblossom Highway at the Getty; it’s huge and fills a wall, and was pretty engaging in a way unlike any prints of it that I’d seen.

Pearblossom Highway

David Hockney, Pearblossom Highway

However, to say these were inspired by David Hockney’s photo collages is really only partly true. Hockney referred to his collages as “joiners,” but what makes them more interesting than panoramas assembled by software like “autostitch” is that the seams don’t match. Hence he describes how he realized he’d incorporated an element of cubism into his work.

Hockney Zen Garden

David Hockney, Zen Garden

Panorama Photo Collages

I’ve been experimenting with panoramic collages for years. I generally shoot them by hand, and eyeball the point where they’ll overlap. It’s a meager attempt to possess the grandeur of a spectacular natural location for me, something that will allow me to re-experience someplace uplifting that I’ve visited.

The first one that I actually kept was a 180 degree panorama I shot in Rocky Mountain National Park above Lawn and Crystal Lakes, near the second highest peak in the park. I’ll post it here once I scan it again. What happens with these scans is that they’re too wide to display well; they end up being tiny if you reduce the width to fit in a web page. Then you can’t really see them.

Occasionally I get something worthwhile. The sunset over Santa Barbara (at top of post), from July 1997, was truly awe-inspiring. Fortunately you don’t have to fight off the black flies that drove me to seek refuge inside my tent, despite having saturated myself with DEET.

That was really the first time I didn’t try to have the separate shots match when I shot them, although I did when I made the collage. Some wet ink got onto the prints too, hence it could use some photoshop retouching.

I shot this panorama of the well loved Reeve’s Hill, near South Woodstock, Vermont. It may actually be considered South Redding, I’m not sure. The weather wasn’t spectacular by the time we reached the summit, so it’s not as enticing as it could be. Vermont gets hazy and humid in the summer, so the visibility suffers, and of course, photos don’t capture the things you can squint to see.

Reeve’s Hill, South Woodstock, VT 2000

In New Mexico, the wide open spaces beg to be photographed, and I shot a series of shots of the Summer Solstice Kundalini Yoga gathering west of Espanola in the Jemez Mountains.

Solstice Grounds 2

Ram Das Puri Summer Solstice Camp and Tents


Video Panoramas

But the video panoramas: they’re huge, don’t bother if you don’t have a cable modem or DSL – and I just uploaded the flash shockwave files, I didn’t embed them in web pages, because that sets them to a static size. This enables them to resize according to how big your browser window is. So experiment with the size of your window, and scroll back and forth with them. You can also download them and then use, “File: Open” to view them. They make nice screensavers, especially the nightime city shots. There’s something hypnotic about them.

So far these weren’t really intended for web display; I’ve just been using web tools to make them. Because this medium is generally how I share work with friends, I expect I’ll soon create smaller web versions that will be less taxing for viewing. These aren’t unusable; they just are rather large and take a couple of minutes to load on a good connection.

My initial experiments in this direction were hampered by some miniDV camera problems. Digitizing tape in Premiere, cutting the clips, and THEN finally being able to manipulate them in Director added a layer of horror to what is still a lengthy, though navigable process. Current footage is shot on a card in avi format, and manipulated in Flash.

This was the first time I had something that was nice to look at regardless of how well it worked. I’d shot panoramas of the beach near Carpenteria, but it was overcast and that made the footage rather unpleasant. I also shot a lot of footage of the highway where James Dean died, contemplating a companion Monroe piece, but the camera began misbehaving and it wasn’t really clear whether the tape was damaged or the camera just needed adjustment.

I had hoped to do more vertical layers in the following series; that will come next. It’s hard to align the tripod I used vertically. As I’ve said, sometimes it’s kind of interesting to discard alignment entirely anyway.

For some reason WordPress is ignoring the instruction to open these in new windows, so you might want to consider doing that with a mouse command if you’re able to with the browser you’re using. You do need to click the links to see the video files, of course. These thumbnail stills are just to give you an idea what you’re about to see.

Only the first has audio.

Runyon Canyon Day Pan

Runyon Canyon Daylight Panorama With Sound 26.5MB:


I think the alignment in this is off. I’d have to reduce them even

further to fit the entire panorama in. Flash has limitations for how wide the file can be.

LA Coast Night Sunset

Night-time LA Coast with Sunset 33.3.MB:


This was the first one I got to work. I still am most fond of it.

Downtown Night LA Skyline

Downtown Los Angeles Night Skyline 7.1MB:


This file is smaller because the file dimensions were reduced – too small for my tastes.

Runyon Canyon Dusk

Runyon Canyon Night Sky 3.8MB:


There are two strips of panoramas in each file; each one is something like 180 degrees of the 360 degree panorama. You could open the file twice, in two different browser windows on a big cinema display, or two adjacent computer monitors, and line them up so you can see the full vista. People are already clamoring for full room-size projected installations of the pieces.

Photography Links

This is a little intro to an assortment of photo projects I’ve shot recently. They’re all hosted on Facebook, so it seemed easier to create links here for the non-facebook member viewers.

The first ones of course bring to mind the old Peter Gabriel album with “Solsbury Hill” on it, although I’m not wearing mirrored contacts. The camera’s manual focus, shutter speed, and aperture adjustments are frankly a pain-in-the-ass, since this Canon is a glorified instamatic, but it often yields surprisingly good results. No, actually it often yields fantastic results; better than if I was in complete control of the camera.

Self Portrait and Rainy Windows

My most recent series of shots yielded some interesting results that I’m really happy with:

West Hollywood Under the Full Moon

I was looking to shoot a variety of street signs for use on my design company homepage. Unfortunately, Facebook seems to limit the dynamic range of the photos for some reason. The one of the tree looks rather amazing on my computer and, well, “enh,” on Facebook.

En Route back from Pasadena on New Year’s day, I stopped to change subways on the way back home, and shot the pictures of the Aztec Dancers and Olvera Street, which is a Mexican street filled with booths and shops by Union Station downtown.

Here are some still shots of the dancers:

Aztec Dancer Stills Album

This page has some video of the dancers, converted into Flash video:

Aztec Dancers Video

It’s the first video I shot with the camera, and I was just learning what it was capable of. Obviously handheld, it still wasn’t a disappointment. Their costumes are rather amazing, huh?

Olvera Street Album

I’ve often found it interesting how people pose for photos, and also how people view the world through their cameras. So there are the beginnings of a series of shots of people shooting other people among these shots.

And here’s Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Boulevard; a mall by Mann’s Chinese Theater where the Kodak theater is that hosts many award shows. The walk of stars runs through here and there are many

characters in costumes posing with tourists. It’s just a stone’s throw from my apartment. These pictures weren’t of such great quality, however I like the ones of the signs on the Roosevelt Hotel walls. I expect to try a cubist video collage of the space soon, assuming the security guards don’t have a tizzy with me trying to shoot with a tripod. A guard chased me away from shooting the Pacific Design Center when I was doing the West Hollywood series.