This past weekend, I spent my time documenting Stephen van Vuuren promoting his film In Saturn’s Rings (formerly known as Outside In) at Astronomy Days in Raleigh, North Carolina. For those that don’t know, In Saturn’s Rings is a film made by still photos from NASA space missions. It is being made specifically for IMAX theaters and dome theaters.
I have been a long time supporter of the film since he first told me about his idea in 2007. I have seen it transformed from many script revisions to what it is today. I’ve seen Stephen persevere through many pitfalls. I’ve seen the motherboard failures, hard drive failures and lightning storms fry computers. He’s also shown the patience to wait for new software to be developed and improved upon and for new photos to come in. I’ve also watched him develop new techniques to get his image on to the IMAX screen.
So to be there from the beginning and watch all the hard work pay off for a special weekend was nice. In Saturn’s Rings got a huge response at North Carolina’s Museum of Natural Science’s special event Astronomy Days. Both screenings were at standing room only capacity. On Sunday, we had to turn away as many as fifty people. The booth outside was visited by people of all races, ages, religions and genders. Everyone seems to love space exploration!
I did some interviews with fans after the screenings and what seems to get people excited the most is that these are real photographs and not CGI. All the images in the film will be actual images taken in space. Below is a short clip Stephen posted a year ago. If interested, please click the link above and check it out. He’s still looking for supporters and volunteers.
I think I’m done editing them. You can only play so much until you’re either happy with what you’ve captured or you set the photos aside until your skills improve.
I desperately wanted to make a killer panoramic print that has the entire gate complete with graffiti and teddy bears, but after many attempts, I gave up. For one, I shot it handheld and thought I could match it up myself (I couldn’t) and two, I took too many photos. I should’ve put my 24mm on and took fewer photos, but I wanted a certain look and opted for the 70mm-200mm and shot at 100mm. Bad decision. Oh well, learn for the next time.
It’s really two sets, the crucified puppets and graffiti, but I added them together. The stuffed animal photos are heavily saturated to give it a visceral effect. I wanted them to feel angry. I think it comes through. I put in the panoramic’s to show how they looked in their environment. If only I could’ve stitched them together….ugh!
My friend, Brian, has exquisite taste in art and many years ago he procured the rights from Sylvia Shaw Judson’s estate to recreate her statues. He had the foresight to know that almost everyone would love to have a Sylvia Shaw Judson statue in their yard or garden (we have several). Using state of the art laser mapping?? (I don’t know the technical aspects – but I know it’s state of the art) he searches out original Judson statues and has casts made so the statues you buy from him might as well come straight from Sylvia herself. If you’re interested in checking out his statues, stop by his website.
Recently, I went to Atlanta to a market show and stopped by his booth. I took some photos.
This past April, I drove from North Carolina to Kansas to pick up my mother and move her to Michigan to take care of my father. It would have been exciting if my father’s health wasn’t so poor, because my mother hated living in Kansas. It’s a desolate place where there isn’t much to do. My mom doesn’t have many hobbies, but she likes to play bingo and the nearest place to play was a half an hour away and she had to rely on friends to take her because she had no car.
I’ve been there numerous times to visit her over the past decade, but I hated going. Really, there’s nothing to do. There’s maybe two stores in town – a grocery store and a pizza store – and only the pizza store had VHS tapes to rent. Yes, VHS. And some DVDs, but their selection was very small and I’d mostly seen everything they had to offer. And most of the time, the store was closed – either seasonally or in transition of ownership; I didn’t care to know why, I wasn’t staying.
But there’s a weird thing about towns like this – they’re ripe for photo and video opportunities. I could shoot thousands of fantastic things out there if I had the time. Of course, you have to be careful; there are many people there that grow weed or make meth and they don’t like it when photographers start taking photos of their homes – as I learned. If I didn’t have a business card on me showing my website, I may have been in trouble.
Below are some photos I took while I was there in April and a short video I made to remember the town by. Most likely, since my mom moved, I’ll never be going back.
I told myself I wouldn’t do the movie/music reviews anymore (I used to on an old blog), because there are so many people out there doing that already (I recommend James Berardinelli), but I get asked a lot because I’m in the industry. So I thought I would just post a list of the best movies/music I saw/listened to this year. And these titles aren’t limited to release date, but what I actually discovered this year.
I just spent the weekend in Atlanta. Had a great time hobnobbing with the locals while watching the exciting Falcon/Seahawk’s game. Being a Detroit Lions fan, I’ve never had the pleasure of sitting in a bar watching the Lions win a playoff game. And I’ve had 16 years of opportunities to do so. How sad. What was I talking about? Oh yeah…..
I also had some time to look for photo opportunities and there were many. The graffiti in Atlanta was great. I wish I had more time to spend there. I haven’t finished editing my set yet, but here’s a little preview of what’s to come:
Towards the end of the year, you often run into people you haven’t seen in a while at holiday parties and events and the obligatory question always comes up, “what have you been up to this year?” I never know how to answer that question. I rarely think about what I’ve done, but always what I’m going to do next. But this year, I started thinking about that question and decided it would be cool to answer it with a video. So I ran through my files and started pulling little clips of what I shot and put it together.