Category - Art & Science

Nashville – August 21, 2017 1:27PM
“Darkness At The Edge of Noon”

I was rather ambivalent at first about the Big Eclipse.  At least, from the standpoint of a photographer – because I was pretty sure that everybody in the path of the moon’s shadow would have some kind of camera turned toward it, and there would be roughly 357 bajillion trillion photos of the eclipse posted on the Internet within minutes of the totality.  What could I possibly add to that?

But as the date approached, I started to get an idea: rather than aiming a well-filtered camera at the sun itself, I was curious what effect the darkness would have on the Nashville skyline.

So I staked out a location at an overpass just north of town, put one of my cameras (Olympus OMDs) on a tripod to record a time lapse, and left the other to maybe shoot the corona once the totality began.  I mean, OK, why not 357 bajillion trillion plus one?

So much for my "once in a lifetime" experience...

So much for my “once in a lifetime” experience…

Well, that plan got thwarted.  While most of Nashville and the surrounding area was blessed with relatively clear skies, at the spot where I was set up, the eclipse was itself eclipsed, by clouds.  This photo was taken about 2 minutes before the “2nd contact” (beginning of totality), and shortly after, the cloud closed in completely.

But once the darkness descended at 1:27PM, I picked up camera number two and started shooting toward the skyline.

I had noticed that the way I’d set up the time-lapse, with a constant exposure value, once the darkness started settling in, the manually set exposures went pretty much completely black.  So with the second camera, I exposed for the diminished light, and the result is the photo at the top of this post.

And here’s the time-lapse.  It just gets dark…

New Desktop Portals for June

Greetings, Time-and-Space Travelers,

I know, when I started this program I said I’d send out some new “desktop portals” every month.  I’m just a little slow on the uptake this month… but it is still June!

So I have two new images for your computer and mobile gizmo.

For your computer, I present the Beauly Priory, a small monastic ruin on a peninsula called “The Black Isle” near Inverness in the Scottish highlands.

Desktop-Beauly16-PA064846click here to download “Beauly Priory”

If you are a fan, you might recognize the site, which I just learned has been used as a location for the “Outlander” TeeVee Series.  It has an even greater signifance for me, personally – because in a very real sense, this is where “Portals Of Stone” began.  I first visited the site when touring Scotland with my wife in the fall of 2012, but I didn’t have nearly as much time as I wanted to photograph the ruins.  I remember very clearly thinking to myself as we drove away, “I need to come back here…” – which I did about six months later.For your mobile device, here is one of the very first portals that appeared after that return trip to Scotland in the spring of 2013:


This is looking out the main entrance of a ruin called Hermitage Castle in The Borders region of Scotland.  The castle served as fortress for a variety of families and has a somewhat colorful if brutal history; the site also figures prominently in the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, for it was here that the conspiracies that led to her undoing were first hatched.

Click here to see more of Hermitage and the other Castles and Abbeys from my 2013 expedition.

I hope you enjoy these images and you will download them and use them on your gizmos.

click here to download “Hermitage Stargate”

* * * *

Before I go, I have one other bit of news to share:

We probably met when you stopped by my installation at the “O” Gallery in the Arcade during one of the First Saturday Downtown Art Crawls over the past year or so.  So it is with some sad reluctance that I let you know that that installation will be coming down at the end of the month.  My last day there will be this coming Saturday, June 27.  I’ll be there from 1-4:00 PM, and after that I’ll be taking everything down.  If you’ve ever thought you might like to have one of these pieces to hang on your wall, come by Saturday and, well, you know… let’s make a deal…

I have no idea at the moment where I will display this work next, if anywhere, so if you’ve got any ideas or suggestions, by all means, pass them along.

I will try to get some more desktop files for you next month, but it’s already so late in June that I might just wait for August.  In the meantime…

Thanks, and see you “on the other side of the Portal…”

–PS

Barcamp = MOMOP (#bcn13)

bcn13_theme_banner

Tomorrow’s Seventh Annual BarCamp Nashville is going to be one of those “coming around full circle” events for me.

The very first Barcamp in August 2007 was something of a “coming out” event for me.  After selling songs.com –  my early-stage, “Internet one-point-oh” business – to Gaylord Entertainment in the fall of 1999 (and spending a year watching them run it into the ground), I sorta went into seclusion for several years, during which I wrote two biographies of obscure 20th Century Scientists.

Then in the summer of 2007, I started reading about this event that was going to gather all the disparate elements of Nashville’s emerging digital arts and business communities for an “unconference” that covered a vast array of topics – the only unifying factor being some interface with “new media” and their underlying technologies.

Here, see for yourself:

I have not made it to every Barcamp since, though I have made it to several and made lasting friendships at each one.

This year, for the first time, I’ll be making an actual contribution other than my usual wandering around between sessions and heckling the presenters.  I have signed on as an “in-kind” sponsor which means that in exchange for hanging the “Cohesion Arts” logo in strategic places around the (undisclosed) location (a designation that puts me in some most-esteemed company), , I’ll be providing still photography coverage for the event.

More than just taking photos, though, I hope to engage everybody in attendance who has a cell phone / camera (who am I kidding, that’s everybody...) in the day’s photo coverage.  There will be a video screen in the front of the venue offering a continuous Instagram feed that will include not just my photos, but any photo that bears the hashtag ” #bcn13 .”

Barcamp is a hard event to describe to somebody who is not familiar with the concept.  Yes, it’s an assembly of the region’s digerati, but there is no single theme for the day.  It’s really just an excuse to get a lot of similarly minded people in a room and start bouncing ideas around.

For me, Barcamp has always been first and foremost about the people I get to meet.  It’s a welcome departure from the virtual, online experience that tends to dominate our lives these days.  Which brings me to the acronym in the title of this post, which came to mind while trying to describe BarCamp to a friend today:

You’ve heard of “mooc“s, right? That’s a “massively open online course,” those classes that universities offer for free to thousands of students around the world over the Internets.

And then there is the concept of “meatspace” –  what was once – before we all started living our lives through screens and keyboards – known as “the real world.”

So BarCamp is a

Massively Open Meatspace Opportunity

or

MOMOP

At least, that’s what I’M calling it.

Now y’all get those cell phones out and start tagging your photos w/ ” #bcn13 “

And if you see a guy with a rumpled photographers vest and a couple of cameras round his neck, stop and say hello, and I’ll make sure we get an “official” photo into the stream…

P.S. A special shout out to Kerry Woo for suggesting I volunteer for this assignment.  I’m glad they accepted the offer, and I hope I can live up the exceptional standard that Kerry has brought these events in the past.

Capsule Review of “Gravity”

…and The Evolution of Cinema*  In My Lifetime:

This is what was going through my mind as I stumbled (literally weak-in-the-knees!) out of the IMAX theater yesterday after seeing “Gravity” in 3D:

GRAVITYThe first movie I ever saw was “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner.  The year was 1956, so I would have been all of 5 years old.  When Yul Brynner came on the the screen for the first time – he was playing Pharoah – I asked my father, “Is that God?”  It’s one of the few actual conversations I can recall having with my father...

I’ve seen “Citizen Kane” – regarded by some authorities as the greatest movie of all time – on the big screen (it doesn’t hold up as well on a television).  I saw “2001: A Space Odyssey” when it was released in 1968.  I marveled at all the original “Star Wars” movies.  I’ve always thought that “Casablanca” was a story-telling tour-de-force.  I’ve seen “Lawrence of Arabia” on a big screen twice.  “Dances with Wolves” is still possibly my all-time favorite movie.

I’m grateful for having lived long enough to see the entire “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and ALL of the “Harry Potter” series.   I enjoyed “Titanic” even though I knew how it was going to end, and “Avatar” in IMAX 3D was sufficiently immersive that it held up over three screenings in about as many weeks.

But “Gravity” is simply the most stunning movie I have ever seen.

– – – – – – – –

*(I have to use the pretentious word “cinema” because I’m pretty sure there was no actual “film” involved…)

 

 

 

 

More Art & Science

As long as we’re talking about “Art and Science,” this just showed up on the radar:

It does bug me sometimes that Tesla gets so much attention, particularly in the face of Farnsworth’s ongoing (relative) obscurity. Granted, Tesla invented the polyphase electrical system that drives most of the modoern world, but when was the last time you spent several hours staring at an electrical socket?

A Little Ink for A Fusioneer

Chad Ramey - photo by Joeff Davis, Creative Loafing (Atlanta)

Chad Ramey – photo by Joeff Davis, Creative Loafing (Atlanta)

One of the things we do under this big umbrella is host a website and forum at fusor.net where people all over the world discuss their work building nuclear fusion reactors.

Yeah, nuclear fusion.  Like the sun and stars. Not so much like a hydrogen bomb (although based on the same fundamental nuclear reaction).  The promise is that someday fusion will lead to a clean, safe, and inexhaustible source of energy.

At least, that’s the idea, and the dream that Philo T. Farsworth pursued when he developed the basic science behind the reactor that young scientists like Chad Ramey are experimenting with in their basements and garages.

And we like that, besides being a geek of the first order, Chad dabbles in the arts, too:

Ramey is also a musician of sorts, counting guitar, bass, mandolin, and banjo among his instruments of choice. He dabbles in piano and keyboard, as well as computer music software such as Ableton and Reason. Over the holiday break, Ramey spent time using an Xbox Kinect and Ableton to create music based on body movements.

Mad science and high art – it all fits together somehow…