The Roundabout – Vol. 3 – Feb 2015

Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin…into the future…

Okay, I’ll spare you my dreadful rendition of that song, but for the February Roundabout on this last day of the shortest month of the year, I want to talk about time.
++++++++Studio Time++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
After much wait time, uncertainty, and many moments of doubt, I’m pleased to announce I signed the year-long lease on my studio last week!
That’s right, the JPG and Halfacre Pond have a physical home again, now in Taylors’ Mill.
About damn time!
You’ll probably find me there after midnight and during most of what down time I have.
For the next year.
I’ve decided that I’m going to give it a year to become self sufficient… if it doesn’t, then I’ll probably pack it in and it’ll be time to move on.
For now though, it’s time to move in! (Pics coming next month)
^^^^^^^^^^^^Down Time>>>>>>>>>>>>vvvvvvvvvvvv<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Yes, I actually have that, from time to time.
I think.
I’ve kinda co-opted my down time for feed time for halfacre pond. On my down time, I enjoy watching movies & television shows (which I now review), watching anime (which I do a web series about with a friend), reading, and lambasting myself for not writing even though I desperately want to but the fictional words just don’t flow any more…dried up with the passage of time.
One story involves a future time traveler, another of timeless creatures eons old, and still another of a time yet to come in which we burn water from the skies and humanity finds a use for the appendix.
I suppose I must find solace in the fact that I’m exercising my words again with non fiction and thoughts like those found here in the Roundabout and those various and sundry reviews and other essays and articles on halfacrepond.com
***********Production & Consumption *********************************************************************
Those thoughts, varied and sundry as they are, coalesced into an article reminiscing about my time playing Magic: the Gathering and a potentially new article series I’m calling Double Feature in which I contemplate movie pairings – unusual pairs, thematic pairs, movies that compliment each other to provide an experience greater than the sum of the individual films.
The first up was Gone Girl and John Wick.  Not quite sure how that’d work? Check it out.
The other major avenue of production this month came from a little show I’ve started called The Good, the Bad, and the Screwy in which I get my friend Max to watch a new anime each week in an effort to guide him to the good stuff and past the dangerous cliffs of the bad. It’s been fun. Hoping to keep it going for a while, but time has gone against us. Production has been fraught with delays due to the snow and other factors. We’re working it out and are playing catch up the next couple of weeks.
To make these things, consumption of copious amounts of media is required.
I’ve almost finished The Arrivals, that novel I mentioned last issue, about a band of killers and sinners and misfits pulled from across time from as far back as the Victorian period and the Wild West to modern day into an alien place called The Wasteland. It’s good so far, though a relaxed read that doesn’t keep you frantically turning pages – which is actually good this month since I haven’t had much reading time.
A couple of movies worth a few moments of time.
The Conversation, a film by Francis Ford Coppola starring Gene Hackman, circa 1974. Hackman plays a security and surveillance expert who, while already highly paranoid, believes he’s come across a murder plot while on an investigation, slowly piecing together bits of a conversation he’s assigned to record. Truly a classic, building suspense through repetition and pacing and subtle bits of maneuvering on the part of the story to really bring about something from nothing. Keep an eye out for a pre-Star Wars Harrison Ford.  If Hackman’s character seems familiar, well he should, he’s played the same guy twice – unofficially. Tony Scott’s Enemy of the State is an unofficial sequel of sorts. It’s worth your time and available on Netflix.
Predestination is all about time. Mobiusine is the best word I can make up to describe it. It’s one long conversation, essentially, between Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook (who, I might add, delivers an excellent performance in this) in a bar and across time. Please don’t hurt your brain watching this one…paradoxes do tend to bring on migraines….but the film is quite good. It’s based on a story by Robert Heinlein, you’ve been warned. Available from redbox.
Also viewed: Stonehearst Asylum, The Station Agent, Not Another Happy Ending, The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Gone Girl, John Wick, Two Guns, Fury, Unicorn City
 
Television has been particularly good of late. Arrow has proven again what happens when you have faith in a series and give it time to mature. Three years ago there were no comic book shows on television. Now they’re everywhere and they are delightful. They show that the stories can be well developed and characters can grow and show remarkable aspects of themselves if given a chance.
The Flash has a particular timeless quality to it that I’m greatly enjoying, even as they rush toward Paradox. A huge Bravo to the writing team for their brilliantly elegant translation of heady time travel theory into layman’s terms using classic cinema: Terminator and Back to the Future. Clever.
As seen not on TV (who watches TV on the telly anymore? Ain’t no one got time for that!) – Arrow, the Flash, Gotham, Agent Carter, The Blacklist, Constantine, Backstrom, M*A*S*H, Full Metal Panic!, Space Dandy, Durarara!!X2, Log Horizon, Aldenoah.Zero2, Cross Ange, Psychic Detective Yakumo, Prince of Tennis.
 
 
&&&&&&&&&&&&Wheel of Time&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
 
I would be tragically remiss if I did not mention in a missive focused on time the fact that we received this month the Wheel of Time pilot no one wanted starring Billy Zane in perhaps the most literal translation from page to screen I’ve ever seen.
My friend Brandon put it best: “My mind boggles that this exists, that the Jordan estate disavowed it, that it’s so awful, and that they managed to be 95% word-for-word accurate and STILL manage to completely and irreversibly deviate from the book.”
 
To quote the series:
“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.”
Please, please, please let this myth be long forgotten before a true, approved adaptation appears.
 
Blech.
 
——————-Playing with Time———————————————————————————————–
And now for what you’ve all been patiently waiting for, my trip to Glendale Shoals.
This is the only photo expedition I had time for this month, what with the doom falling from the skies and all, and it’s the perfect exploration of the use of time in photography.
Timing is everything in photography: the wait for the perfect moment, the time it takes for the light to be right, the requisite time one must spend with a location before it gives up its secrets, even the events leading up to and after the shoot bear on the final images.
That day had a most peculiar flow to it.
It was a Tuesday, I didn’t have to work, so I slept in a bit. Got up and watched Gotham, ate, and decided I was going to shoot that day.  It had been far too long and I wanted to experiment with falling water and long exposure.
Now, I knew where I wanted to go, but I could never remember what this place I had seen with the old rail bridge and mill dam and rushing water was called. So I asked a friend who had been there, Mike, and he told me and I figured out how to get there. Well, I also needed to pick up a print of Sheep, the Woman, and the Blackbird another friend named Mike did on a sheet of acrylic – turned out fantastic, btw, drop by the studio to see it before it gets shipped off to the West Coast – so I planned my route and would get to the Shoals about 4~4:30 to catch the last chunk of light for the day.
Or so I thought.
I lingered. At home having conversations. Looking up info on this place. Taking it easy. Headed out, chatted with Mike at the shop, made some plans for the following Friday.  Alright, a little behind schedule, but sun wasn’t setting until just before 6.
Get to Pine Street. Shut down. There’s been a wreck across 3 lanes. Judging by the yet to be totally atrocious backup, it’s just happened maybe 20-30 minutes before.
The amount I delayed lingering in conversations.
Well, I find all that out later, but right then, I was more annoyed at the delay and the rapidly dwindling shoot window.
I ended up taking a most circuitous route to the Shoals, which put me there quarter after 5.
I shoot a lot on the bridge, try to work the sun in, but it’s kinda bland and…well…as powerful as the sun is, when you’ve seen it incorporated into so many shots, it just doesn’t strike you much any more. The sunset wasn’t particularly spectacular either.  Those get old in photos too. Never really in person, but in photos.
The best shots that day come before and after the sun set. Before, it illuminated the ramshackle buildings tumbling down upon themselves in a golden light of yesteryear, highlighting the crackling age upon the face of the bridge.
After.
People always seem to like the buttery smooth flow of tumbling water. It’s a tricksy subject to capture. These sorts of shots are done using long exposure to get motion blur on the water.
The problem then becomes the light. Where usually photographers beg and scream for more luscious, delicious light, we begin crying for shade. We throw neutral density filters on the lens, stop it down all the way to f/22, do everything we can to cut away the excess light bombarding the sensor for all that extra time.
Remember, typically the shutter is only open for 1/200th of a second, less than the blink of an eye, but when you try to catch a smooth waterfall, you’re talking 8/10ths of a second or a whole second or even 5 to 10 whole seconds the shutter is open allowing light to flood the sensor. It’s an eternity in modern photography.
What is one to do?
Well, I waited.  I waited until after the sun vacated the sky, leaving only the delicate afterglow of twilight.
Less light? It seems counter intuitive at first, but when you think about it, it’s exactly what you want for the shots.
This serene shot is the result of light distilled for 8/10ths of a second, combining the smooth falls with the glassy reflection. It’s also the first print I’m having made in 2015. I ordered it as the largest print I’ve ever had made – 30″x45″ – as a canvas gallery wrap. Drop by the new place and check it out later next week :)
Less light allows you to spend more time setting up your shot, standing out in the middle of the shoals looking back into delicate falls with a gleaming red bridge and a previously harsh sky which if it’s still too much, can simply be blocked out by your hat. That’s how I got this shot. With an overall exposure of 15 seconds, I had time to work out a double exposure of sorts, covering the top half of the lens with my hat for the first 10 seconds while the falls and foreground river were exposed the whole time. It’s crazy, but it works when you have time.
Time was fleeting though. I could barely see the shoals beneath my feet as I counted the seconds off in my head. Expanded shots in condensing time, what a concept.
The longer I lingered, the longer the exposure, the fewer shots I got in the dwindling light. The asset quickly turned toward the edge of danger, and I hopped back to shore to revisit the tumbledown houses and try to catch a ghost. No luck, but I might have caught the Flash streaking by.
At that point I was tired, my fingers were frozen, and my back was starting to ache from the cold. It slowed me down enough to watch a mother pull up to the bridge and get out with her kid to look at the full moon rising beside the old mill.
It had entirely escaped my notice, the little bit of it peeking over the horizon at that point. I was so concerned with packing up and getting warm that I failed to notice my surroundings. Again, delay caught my attention and something magnificent was seen.
The graffiti on the bridge reads Short Work. Which, it was, honestly. I was out there maybe an hour, but many more hours went into it, though it felt like much less.
=========The Passing of Time=============================================
My watch died today.
So did Mr. Spock.
Actor, director, and fellow photographer – Leonard Nimoy was an incredible spirit and light in the world. Few have the privilege to impact the culture of everything the way he has, and fewer still have born the weight of such things with as much dignity and careful consideration. I really cannot describe the absence his passing creates, but to say that the echoes of his works and words will resonate forward through time in the generations of minds he influenced.
The watch can be fixed, replaced.
Mr. Nimoy cannot.
I want to share with you an interview he gave a little over a year ago, made all the more poignant with his passing. Please pay special attention to his thoughts on the creative’s life.
%%%%%%%%%%%Regarding Time%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Time seems to expand and contract with notice.
A co-worker today said that this year is already 1/6th finished.
That astounds me. We just started this year.
But, we just started last year. And the year before that.
Time.
Don’t kill it, pass it, waste it. Don’t think it is in infinite supply, because it’s not. Time is the only thing we have to spend in this life. That really has value.
Cherish it.
Do something meaningful with it. Do nothing with it, so long as the nothing is in pursuit of something – be it sanity, clarity, or that which only has meaning to you.
Spend it carefully and with purpose.
We don’t know how much we are given until it’s gone, and as it does, time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping…
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