Courel, Seoane vicinity, June 27, 2020

The Courel mountains are a UNESCO global geopark. They have this designation because of the diversity of vegetation in the area. There are also remains from all periods of Spanish history. We did not see the abandonned Roman gold mine but we enjoyed the trees. In the area where we were hiking chestnut trees were dominant.

The weather was typical mountain weather, clouds covering the peaks in the morning and then again as sun sets.

The cattle are allowed to graze at will but they tend to stay close to the villages. People may have renovated the stone houses but they are still living in stone houses. The painting was done by an older woman who at the end of her life started painting on doors in Parada.

Sightseeing Kathmandu Valley

When I was preparing to visit Nepal, I looked at what images were available for Nepal. I saw lots of temples and stupas. I decided they were boring pictures. I thought when I go there I will include people. What was astounding was how those other people took pictures without people in them. The Nepalese use their monuments. This video will give you an idea of alive the monuments are.

This is the YouTube link.

Anapurnas, March 2020

As part of this trip to Nepal we spent a week walking up and down uneven stairs in the lower part of the Anapurnas. It is actually harder to go up and down steps than to walk up and down inclines because you cannot control the length of your pace. Some of the steps were very high. It was lucky I have been doing a new style of qi gong which has strengthened my leg muscles.

Eventhough we had people to carry our sleeping bags and toiletries, we still had to carry our water and snacks. Because I was the oldest person on the trip, guide’s son, who is in training, generously carried my backpack. I was suprised at how much easier that made climbing stairs.

I did not find the mountains per se very interesting. I saw them just as well on the internet. I did get interested in how people were living. Since we were in the lower elevations, 6,000 feet, the mountains were terraced to grow rice and other grains.

Most of the villages are not accessible by motor vehicle. There seems to be a lot of construction taking place as people are still recovering from the earthquake five years ago. The mountains are natural quaries. As you see in the video compact horses take stones up and down the mountains.

Celebrations

I didn’t know what to call this video. At first I thought I would call it rituals but that felt wrong. As I reflected it was more like celebrating mass or weddings. The first images are from the Hindu ceremony Aarati which is a prayer for all of humanity. The second set are from a Tibetan Buddhist temple in Boudhanath just outside of Kathmandu. The informal singing group is outside the temple to Bhagwati in Manakamana in the foothills of the Anapurna. The video ends with a wedding party on the streets of Kathmandu.

Kathmandu Streets

Kathmandu is not a pretty city but it is very vital. There is a lot of activity at street level. The buildings are not tall, only 2-4 stories. The ground floor is a little shop selling everything from sewing machines to motor cycle parts. Also there are small religious monuments scattered throughout. You can see that the city is reconstructing after the earthquake in 2015. There are dogs all around. The are well fed but seem to have no owners.

The sound track is typical sounds at the street level. As you can hear, Kathmandu is not a noisy city.

Once again, I cannot post the video here. You will have to enter: https://youtu.be/LXPyNIQvayg into your browser.

People

People watching is so much fun. Capturing that in still photos can be challenging because the person is changing all the time. I am doing street photography. I am not asking people to pose. I am a candid camera. When you work that way, you have to act fast. You can not hesitate waiting for a better shot. You take what you get. These are the informal portraits that came out well.

You may or may not be surprised at how many people are using cell phones even when having their picture taken. Were there really more women on the street than men or was I more attracted to their dresses. I loved all the red. Unfortunately many younger women are not wearing saris.

We spent one day at Raman Maharajan’s music school in Kirtipur outside of Kathmandu. When I thought about what soundtrack to put to the photos, I remembered that I had video of a small part of the student’s performance in the evening. Their music seems to me to epitomize the spirit of the Nepali people.

Mutual Appreciation

Why is this longish, 40 second video a mind dump.  It is because it came to me quickly, in one piece.  I didn’t have to make any decisions.  I just went straight to production.  Production, on the other hand, was a case of trial and error.  First, I took a 10 second shot of the scene.  I thought I will do the close up in the editing.  I learned iPhone videos have a very narrow depth of field so the whole close up was out of focus.  Then I tried zooming as I was shooting.  The focus was definitely improved but it was jumpy because I had to do the hand gesture several times.  Then by complete chance I discovered that if I put my finger on the magnification indicator a dial popped up.  I could move the dial smoothly but there was some shake.  Then I thought, why not take stills.  I set the camera with a very high ASA so I could hand hold hence the graniness of some images.  I really never liked using the tripod.  Once I finally figured out how keyframes worked, not thanks to the Apple help information, I obtained the effect I was looking for.

All of that was to say, I can shoot, reshoot, record and edit all in a few hours while the idea is still pressing to be expressed.  With analog technology it would have taken weeks.  If the first shots weren’t right, I probably would not have had the energy to reshoot again- develop film, make a contact sheet and if they still weren’t what I wanted, I would abandon the project.

I have done another video called Welcome to Aquarian Garden which will be coming out at the end of March when Layne Garret finishes the sound track.  That is a quick romp through the Garden. I thought it would be nice to make a slower video where people could see my favorite views of the garden.  What I see when I sit quietly.

Then Bobby Hill sent his letter about his Kanreki year; “Pianist Satoko Fujii hipped me to the Japanese concept of Kanreki, where one’s  60th year of life is approached as a time to remember life’s accomplishments, put former troubles behind, and celebrate entering the next stage of life.  Satoko celebrated her 2018 Kanreki by releasing a new recording each month.  My Kanreki year began August 9, 2019.

Some celebrants… “

It all clicked into place.  I could be another celebrant.  Saturday I would record Bobby from his WOWD This Music radio program.  The radio clips determined the length of the video.

The video is called Mutual Appreciation because that describes our relationship.  Before I left Bobby asked for a piece of my art work so he could have something of mine with him.  I am grateful to Bobby for all the great music and musicians he introduced to me.  

Red Prometheus

I am starting a new series of short videos called Mind Dumps.  They are images that have flashed through my mind that I decide to put into video form.

This one happened when I was listening to The Creatures of Prometheus by Beethoven.  I don’t know if the music I have put with the video is actually from the moment when I had the flash of inspiritation.

ORDER

In 1980 I exhibited a series of photographs called Domestic Disorder.  People commented but your home is so orderly.  In those photo objects had no comfortable placement; everything was jumbled and cramped like my dresser drawers before I organized them.

In 1986 I did another exhibit with Sheila Rotner.  This time the title was Order.   This time I took pictures of my neat house but I printed them as transparencies.  Then I cut them making three dimensional objects. I left out segments so that the viewer had to supply her own sense of order. 

The other day, I finally got fed up with pawing through things in my drawers.  An acquaintance explained that if your clothes are folded so that they are the same height as the drawer you can easily see what is in each drawer.  As you can see some drawers are more successful than others but I am very proud of how I am displaying gloves and socks.