Nothing to Do with St. Louis

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As you may surmise from the title, I’m in St. Louis. I’ve been enjoying myself with Grace’s daughter, her husband and their children. I have felt very subdued for the last few days. I am trying very much to avoid recalling details of life one year ago, as Eunie was dying before our eyes. Grace has wisely helped me with this and bravely avoids adding her own pain and loss to mine. It has helped very much to concentrate on the blessings which have been gifted to us instead of the loss we have suffered. I take a great deal of comfort in knowing that this is exactly what Eunie would suggest, indeed, insist.

Today’s tardy post consists of a few deranged ramblings and some images I contrived over a week ago.  This panorama, consisting of four or five frames (can’t remember and who cares) from the Canon 5D, jumped out at me while standing at Yavapai Vista, about halfway between “High” Sedona (I love that expression) and the Village of Oak Creek, where we live. It’s more or less right from the camera, except for the stitching. I wish you could see it in high resolution:

I brought all of the new gear to St. Louis with me so that I can practice using it and shoot some video of the kids for the family. They will be my wiggly little guinea pigs. I shot a half-hour of footage a few days ago and have patched it into a little movie, which I will display to the general public (you) as soon as I can get Facebook to digest it. I shot it hand-held, because I did not want to frighten the children when I don the SteadiCam gear and make my appearance as Mr. Roboto (Does anybody except me remember Styx? Very funky!):

If you get this rig balanced right the camera becomes weightless. In fact, you can even adjust it so that it takes the weight of your arm. It looks very awkward, but after a while it begins to feel natural and is a lot of fun. I’ll bring it out for the kids later.

Here are a few pitiful images of a . . . uh . . . place, hmmmm . . . don’t know what to call it, in Sedona which has one of the most marvelous collection of kitsch I believe I have ever seen. That may be a slight exaggeration, since I’ve seen a whole lot of kitsch during my strange journeys around this planet:

I think the place is called Skulls ‘Я’ Us. I hate that use of the backwards R. It’s kitschy.

Well, I have to wrap this up. I’ve been three days writing it. I don’t think it will improve with further aging. Several captions come to mind for this image. They revolve around the idea of multilevel kitsch or Reflections on Kitch or Kitch² :

Surely there must be a larger collection of Mexican crockery someplace:

Peeking thorough the hanging chilis they are colorful and cheery, even in the flat light of a cloudy day.

I’ve been thinking about star trails. It calms me. I took the camera and tripod out on the front steps a few nights ago, while I was still in Sedona. I call this a failed shot. It is considerably more complicated than I imagined:

I’ll have to keep trying.


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4 Responses to “Nothing to Do with St. Louis”

  1. Chris Urton Says:

    I guess from this post that you decided against trying to build a homemade steady-cam.

  2. MadDog Says:

    Chris, I did build a steady-cam rig out of plastic plumbing parts. I tested it out in the tourist trap of Sedona. It worked better than nothing, but it wasn’t up to the standard which I needed. It was fun to build. I’ll show some pictures of it when I get back to Sedona. You can see some of the video here.

  3. Josh Says:

    Hi Jan,

    I have just spent literally hours going back through your website, looking at all the posts categorised as “Under the Sea.” Your photos are extremely high quality, and I really appreciate the work you have done to create them and present them, along with the information about your subjects. I just wanted to thank you for helping me enjoy the world of the coral reef – a spectacular part of God’s creation that has always been an obsession of mine, despite the fact that I’ve only ever seen a real reef once in my life, while snorkeling at Great Keppel Island (though I have seen some pretty spectacular aquariums).

    I even saved one of your coral textures to use as my desktop background. Hope you don’t mind.

    All the best,

  4. MadDog Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Josh. I always enjoy hearing from people who have appreciated my work. My diving days are over, except for a few I’ll do during my brief return to Madang, but I am not overly sad to leave the ocean behind. Arizona is a wonderland. I’m just trading one paradise for another.

    I’m proud that you find one of my texture images pleasing on your desktop. All of my images are free for personal use.

    The best to you also.