Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Time Lapse Alter Removal - Altered States

Altered States is the dissolution of my alter that had been set up when I took possession of my new digs on Maui after moving back from SF in 1999.  I set up a camera attached to my computer running BTV software, to take a photo every 10 seconds. After each shot, I moved something, waited for the shutter and repeated with something else until all objects were off the box that I had used to ship parts of my SF office back to Maui in.

Now the tricky part. I reset the imaging system to take a photo every 70 seconds after using a high stool, to get into the uprighted box. I had already taken the series of images at 30 second intervals where I slowly propped up the empty box until I was able to get into it.

I closed the end of the box from  inside it (which was no small accomplishment) and then squatting, counted to 70 (so I had enough time between shots) for the camera to record a frame, before unsquatting just a little bit more as I poked my head more and more out of the box with each frame.

It was hell for some of those middle positions to hold the squat, fighting gravity for all the time between exposures. Then I realized I could get the stool in the box with me to lean on, which made my body's compression much easier to take. 

 I composed the music in GarageBand using virtual instruments triggered with my Oxygen 8v2 midi controller, and then married the sound with the images in Apple Quicktime.  The movie is better enjoyed at 320 x 240 btw.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Day My Camera Died (or not)

•••••••••• Monday, February 22, 2009 8:56:41 PM Pacific/Honolulu •••••••••••

My camera took a dunk in the ocean today at little beach but not before capturing this cool image of me and my hands. Please pray for it. I rushed home and submerged it in freshwater trying to avoid corrosion from salt water. If I am lucky, the electronics should be ok after drying out for three days. I can clean the sensor chip. If nothing shorts out, it will work again. For now, I will let it just sit for a few days to dry out.

This is one of the last photos I took before the camera died (hopefully it will come back from the grave).

The lens, well that's another story - I expect water spots at the very least. I dunked that also in the fresh water ASAP. It sure felt weird to submerge my gear in water intentionally.

I had a cellphone drop into my bathtub one time. I quickly retrieved it, ripped off the battery and let the phone sit for three days. Its been working fine ever since!

I am hoping the same will be true of the camera. Otherwise maybe someone will buy one of the images above or below, printed on fine canvas for $1300. The cost of my mistake and price to replace the gear!

I never should have changed the position where I’d set the camera up in the dark -- to take the first shots of my self, since I could find no model on Little Beach to pose naked (away from the crowd). So I set off alone, apart from the crowd.

I’ve come to accept this my be my lifestyle, not having a partner, and believe me, its not my desire to live life without a partner. It is a place I seem to live, given my creative force needs a lot of alone time for nurturing, growth and exploration-learning curves (for each of my creative expressions no less).

Now, In the darkest night under the canopy of stupendous starlight, with the drum circle sounds barely audible in the distance, I noticed some puddles. A crab in the darkness moved. I illuminated it with my new “paint brush” and wanted to image it.

I adjusted the mini tripod to a position I didn’t realize was so precariously placed... that it caused the accident. That's a price I pay for being a risk taking Aries (and not having a companion to call my attention to my oversight). The camera slide off the rocks into the puddle.

Funny thing is, after recovering the camera from the briny blue and drying the outside off, I lifted it by the strap and heard something drop off into the darkness onto the gravelly rocks I was standing on. It made a noise that sounded like it was the lens retaining ring. I was right about the ring part.

I scanned my stoney footing with the flashlight. In two minutes I discovered, the sound had nothing to do with the camera, It was the sacred family heirloom that had fallen; my dad's gold and diamond masonic ring! It had stealthily slipped off my finger without my even realizing it! Pretty scary to think I could have lost it!

Just two days ago while swimming with Darshan and company at Ahihi Bay the same thing happened, the ring had slipped off... just as we were getting out of the water - only this time it slipped off underwater and I had felt it slide off my finger! Yikes!! It could have been instantly hidden by the many crevices, sand and rocks the currents were pushing around. Thank god it was minor wave action and that Darshan spotted it! The camera I can replace.

Epilogue: As I was home drying everything, a knock on my door revealed Arty farty, who NEVER stops by my place to visit. He always has some excuse, but still he has to pass my home on his way to Little Beach.

It makes me a bit angry that there are few who feel comfortable visiting me in my lair and playing along/collaborating in my multimedia world. The anger is self directed. The feeling is that either I or my place must make people uncomfortable. Its true there are few I even feel comfortable inviting into the intimacy of my studio-base of V.A.R.I.O.U.S. operations. I guess I am just not one people want to be around. A solitary soul rather self absorbed in seeing so clearly how my ideas can contribute to a better world.

Arty confessed someone stole his pants that he’d neglected to put in his pack. He was drunk and stoned. He thought his pants were already in his pack when he carried it over to the drum circle. In the pants pocket were his keys and wallet with bank cards belonging to friends. Maybe mercury went retrograde today?

I have told him how hurt I am that he never visits. As it was, the only reason he came by was to make calls to the bank, girlfriend and borrow some pants (he had shorts on -- but it has been freezing outside at night on Maui lately. He was rather exposed on his scooter with just shorts. I made him promise to return the pants in a week -- as I will be needing them for my impending voyage to the mainland. I knew full well I may never see them again.

I invited him to stay and have dinner here, offering the veggie’s that have been in the fridge a few days. A few days too long! LOL. I have really wanted to share the food with someone! Only problem was there was nobody I feel comfortable with (who is nearby or who would come over). He just laughed and said he’d rather go visit his girlfriend to get laid (rather than hang out with me), especially since she made him dinner. No from me competition there!

He stayed for about 10 minutes --just long enough to see a sideshow of recent images. But he was anxious to go visit his girlfriend... the one who brutalized him that Halloween a few years back. Each to their own. I guess he likes the domineering type. I was so put off I didn’t want to even hug him goodbye when he left.

I normally hug friends who visit upon their leaving, but when someone who expresses they want to spend time with you and repeats that over a period of years and never ever, follows through... well, would you feel loved? Its just so much lip service.

Hey, I am not too bent out of shape about it, because he is one of the few on Maui for whom there will always be a natural affinity and friendship and of course forgiveness. Nobody knows the pressures a person feels from the ramblings of their past haunting their minds that drive a person to smoke, drink, eat, etc obsessively.

For some reason I am not too bent out of shape about losing the camera. I am hoping both camera and lens will work again, maybe needing a bit of repair. But, if they can’t be revived, I guess I will be in the market for a better camera! I am way behind on photo processing, archiving data and marketing my work.

Maybe I am not so bent out of shape because of the fact that yesterday, I got up not alone as usual, but with family and friends around me... cybernetic-ally speaking. I was video chatting with Marc in Germany when Theo came online and hailed me at that moment. I brought him into the video conference and then MLS hailed me and she joined in! The four of us were together in video chat for about half an hour making me feel great to have such dear friends meet and interact with my dear (almost 90 year young) mother! You have to love the ease of use of Apple Mac’s.

POSTSCRIPT: I had taken apart the lens cleaned the glass and put it together 3 times. I was doing a final cleaning on the last lens element when it slipped out of its mount and cracked. The other times that happened it missed the foot rest of the office chair I was sitting in! Not only that, but earlier, after a week of drying out, I had tried the camera for the first time thinking it had dried out long enough. I put the battery in and NOTHING! No matter how many times I changed the settings and took the battery out, scraped the contacts, re charged it, the camera would not work. And, I felt like a jerk! Accidents happen and this was an expensive lesson to use more care. It was ultimately lens creep that did me in. The long lens was pointing down and must have distended, throwing the mini-tripod the camera was mounted on, off balance.