Archive for August, 2006

Alpine Lake Panorama

Posted by Arlo on Aug 31, 2006 under Photography, Postcard Valet

Alpine Lake Panorama

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Last year Oksana and I observed Memorial Day with a few of our friends on the bank of the Taku River . It was a great weekend spent hiking, canoeing, and hiding in the cabin from bloodthirsty mosquitoes. My toy for the weekend was a new digital SLR that arrived in the mail just hours before our departure; I barely had enough time to charge the battery. I put it through its paces that weekend, though, coming close to filing the 1GB card.

On our second day there, our group decided to hike up the side of a mountain. Our goal was to have lunch on the shore of a beautiful lake where we would reward ourselves for navigating the steep, pathless trail alongside some raging river. It became a murderous death march of a hike that only gets worse with each retelling.

The mosquitoes denied us any rest breaks and the lake was still so full of snowmelt that there was no accessible shoreline — the water came right up to the trunks of the encroaching trees. After that legendary climb, new camera in hand, I wouldn’t be denied. While everyone else helped construct a tiny, smoky fire to keep the mosquitoes at bay, I fought my way down to the edge of the water and sacrificed a dry hiking boot so that I could step out onto a partially submerged rock.

I quickly set my exposure and focus points and started taking pictures. It took 40 frames to cover the entire lake, and if the mosquitoes hadn’t found my near-motionless arms and face around shot #10, I probably wouldn’t have missed the extra coverage on the bottom right. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to see the results when I stitched all 40 photos into a panorama.

Canon Digital Rebel XT
Date: 28 May 2005
Focal Length: 18mm
Shutter: 1/640 second
Aperture: F/5.6
Photoshop: Autostitch for stitching, cloning in upper left to fill in tree branches

More on the software I used after the jump:
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Posted by Arlo on Aug 11, 2006 under Life of Arlo, Videos

Hedgie Sigh. How does one manage to write coherently about death? I want to write about our hedgehog, Yozhik, who died over two months ago. I want to commemorate him – and Oksana’s and my relationship with him – with eloquent language, but even two months after his death, painful emotions accompany the search for words.

Sometimes I think I would willingly abandon my memories of Yozhik, if given the choice. Oksana, without saying as much, would do the same. “I don’t ever want another pet,” she told me. “It’ll just remind me of hedgie, and that hurts too much.”

Wouldn’t it be easier to think about sometime else; to turn the mind away whenever thoughts of Yozhik materialized? Not that he’d care, but I don’t think that’s fair to the pet we loved and cared for for four years. (You see what I mean? “…for for four…?!” These are the words my brain supplies me with when I try to describe my feelings!)

Death affects us in such profound and personal ways that it’s hard to imagine that anyone else could ever have felt similar sorrow, anguish, and confusion. But that’s stupid. Practically everyone who has ever lived on this planet has lost someone close to them; it would be callous to think that they wouldn’t have experienced the same emotions. In that respect, what seems profound and personal is actually common and shared.

So even if you didn’t know Yozhik personally, perhaps the memorial video I put together will resonate with you as strongly as it did with Oksana and me.

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