Tag Archives: Guest Blogger

Drone Pilot at Arcosanti: Guest Post by Cinematographer Andy Bowley

Today’s post was written by cinematographer Andy Bowley.

i can’t remember if we drank a lot of beer that night.

but i do remember parting ways with david, after a nice meal on the upper west side of new york, saying yes! drone! arcosanti!

or something like that.

a few days later, he wrote to let me know he really wanted to do it.

really?

i had a few weeks to prepare, so i bought a syma x1 quadcopter (about $35) and flew it all around my apartment.  my tweedy green chair became landing pad #1,  my other tweedy green chair became landing pad #2, and a pillow on the leather couch became landing pad #3.

lil uav, aka Mr. Droney

i practiced everyday i could and crashed and crashed and crashed.  and after a couple of weeks, found i could wing the little thing around — landing and taking off from pads 1-3 in nimble succession.  i knew i was ready for arcosanti when i could actually fly without sticking my tongue out of my mouth.

days later, i found myself standing in front of a whirring DJI phantom in the arizona desert. and now, the playground was vast.
instead of gliding from pillow to pillow, i was doing 1500′ runs thru canyons, over cliffs, and over top of paolo soleri’s glorious creation.

i couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  which meant i pretty much kept my tongue in my mouth too.

 Andy may have been able to keep his tongue in his mouth at Arcosanti, but I was unable to lift my jaw off the floor after seeing the footage. Here’s one of the strafing shots he took of Arcosanti.
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Andy Bowley is a NYC-based cinematographer whose projects have won many national Emmys and one Peabody. He can be found here and there on this blog. Other posts by this generous man:

E-mail Andy: a b o w l e y at  e a r t h l i n k d o t n e t

What’s A Life’s Work about? It’s a documentary about people engaged in projects they won’t see completed in their lifetimes. You can find out more on this page.

We recently ran a crowdfunding campaign and raised enough to pay an animator and license half of the archival footage the film requires. We need just a bit more to pay for licensing the other half of the archival footage, sound mixing, color correction, E&O insurance and a bunch of smaller things. When that’s done, the film is done! It’s really very VERY close!

So here’s how you can help get this film out to the world. It’s very simple: click the button…

Donate Now!

… and enter the amount you want to contribute (as little as $5, as much as $50,000) and the other specifics. That’s it. No login or registration required. Your contribution does not line my pocket; because the film is fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, all money given this way is overseen by them and is guaranteed to go toward the completion of this film. Being fiscally sponsored also means that your contribution is tax-deductible. So why not do it? The amount doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’re helping to bring a work of art into the world. And that, I think, is really exciting!

Questions? Email me at d a v i d ( aT } b l o o d o r a n g e f i l m s {d o t] c o m

The Ultimate Selfie: NASA’s Golden Record 2.0 by Jessica Roth

This post originally appeared on Curio Cabin, Jessica Roth’s wonderful blog. (Do yourself a favor and subscribe to it.) Thanks, Jessica, for generously allowing me to cross-post it here. 

The Universe Is Listening

In the late 70′s, NASA launched the first golden records into deep space. Each record was intended as a cosmic message in a bottle, set adrift in hopes that somewhere, sometime, a sentient alien lifeform would pluck it from the starry sands, play it back, and hear our distant voices echoing through the light years.

Left, a golden record (© Nasa/National Geographic Society/Corbis). Right, the other side of the golden record shows directions to play it. Identical records carrying the story of Earth were sent into deep space on Voyager 1 and 2. (NASA)
Left, a golden record (© Nasa/National Geographic Society/Corbis). Right, the other side of the golden record shows directions to play it. Identical records carrying the story of Earth were sent into deep space on Voyager 1 and 2. (NASA)

The man behind the first attempt to transmit an account of life on Earth, Jon Lomberg, is also the primary advocate for the Golden Record 2.0. What makes this endeavor different from the first is the collaborative spirit driving the compilation of the record. This time, Lomberg and NASA want to know: what does life on Earth mean to you?

Yes, you.

What Do You Have to Say?

Beginning in August, you will have the opportunity to contribute content to the Golden Record 2.0. Naturally, not everything will make the cut, but this iteration of the Golden Record project promises to share a much more intricate and representative narrative than the first. Once complete, it will be uploaded to the New Horizons probe and sent hurtling through the far reaches of our galaxy and beyond.
So, what do you have to say about life on Earth? Leave your response in the comments below and sign up to participate in the Golden Record 2.0 project by visiting the One Earth: New Horizons Message website.

Visit NASA online to learn more about the original Golden Record.

More Golden Record stuff on this blog here and here.

Jessica has contributed a couple of posts for A Life’s Work. Make sure to check these out.

Arcosanti and the Writing Process

An Arcosanti Slideshow

 

A Life’s Work Wants You to Be a Guest Blogger

guest_bloggers_wantedWould you like to contribute to the A Life’s Work blog? Maybe write something about your life’s work? Or contribute some photos? Or conduct an interview with someone you think is doing something they won’t finish in his or her lifetime. Or maybe you have a haiku, sonnet, or cinquain (or the form of your choice) on the theme you’d like to share, or a drawing or painting or a song? Maybe you visited Arcosanti, or the Allen Telescope Array, or an old growth forest? Maybe you attended an amazing gospel concert or a moving service? Perhaps you took some photos  of Sagrada Familia  or shot video of your friend walking across a vine bridge? Maybe it’s just an impression you’d like to share when you were in a cathedral or the desert or in a hot air balloon. Maybe a quote. Why not share it?

Just deal with the blog’s themes: legacy, continuity, work one devotes one’s life to, mentorship, stewardship, a sense of connection to something larger than yourself. It’s pretty broad. I want to see what you have to say about these things and I want to publish it here on this blog!  Have an idea but don’t know how to proceed? Share it with me and maybe we can work it out.

As a guest blogger, you don’t have to give me a gift or anything. No bottle of wine, no dessert. In fact,  I’ll pay you with an origami animal. Other benefits include the satisfaction of knowing your work is online for as long as online exists. I’ll link to your website, blog, Tumblr, etc. And I’ll promote the heck out of  it.

Just leave me a comment or shoot me an email and we’ll make it happen. I look forward to seeing what you have. And please feel free to spread the word.

d a v i d [ a t ] b l o o d o r a n g e f i l m  s { d o  t } c  o  m

Posts by guest bloggers include:

Bonsai and A Life’s Work by Karen Bell (photographs)

Time, Nature, Mortality… A Life’s Work by  John Yearley (words)

Her Life’s Work by Kate Hill Cantrill (words)

Arcosanti in Words and Arcosanti in Photos by Jessica Roth

Designing SETI Institute Graphics by Danielle Futselaar (words and images)

The Man Who Planted Trees by Jim Robbins (words)

Against the ruin of the world, there is only one defense: the creative act,” by Robert Darden (words)

Mr. Pete’s Tree by Jon Bittman (words and photos)

Arcosanti – City on the Edge of Forever by Nathan Koren (words and photos)

Why Would a 21 Year Old Be Interested in A Life’s Work? Haroon Butt (words)

Sunset and Sunrise in Arcosanti, AZ: 24 Hours Amidst a Sea of Arcology  by Niall David (words and photos)

Hardest/Easiest Work Environments So Far by Andy Bowley (words and photos)

The Meaning of Life by Jane Waggoner Deschner (quote and art)

Bob Marovich’s Top Ten All Time Gospel Recordings (list)

 

Process: A Life’s Work and the Canon 5D by Guest Blogger Andy Bowley

Today’s post was written by cinematographer Andy Bowley and originally published in June 2010. I’m putting up this “encore post” because shooting video with the Canon 5D has recently come up several times at my day job. That, plus I just like this post and Andy is an awesome writer.

I know. You’ve been wondering after reading this blog: what’s Licata really like to work with in the field? Sure, he seems measured and nice and all when he’s tapping away in his socks, all warm and cozy in his New York apartment–but what’s he like in the trenches? Is he a screamer?

Well, no–the opposite, actually. He’s a wonderful collaborator. But more importantly for my sake, he is well in touch with his inner geek.

Example: When he invited me to shoot the work being done by the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project in Waco, I suggested we do some macro work with extension tubes and obscure Ukrainian/East German lenses to get close-up shots of needles and grooves.

His initial response? “Ooooh”

I told him it would be tweaky and slow working with these lenses, which would sometimes allow us just a millimeter or two of effective focal range — and that we’d have to mount them to a Canon 5D DSLR and go through a not-yet-tested workflow.

His response? “Great. If you can think of more possibilities, bring ‘em on”

Just what I hoped hear. A director with patience. But more importantly, another geek who understood. I was excited. But time was short.

I began to test my macro set-up the next day. I was training for a trail race at the time, running every morning along the paths that cut through a wooded section of Central Park. Along the way I found a pinecone–perfect for the test–and maybe useful for A Life’ s Work.

My Manhattan pinecone had lots of interesting shapes and exuded its own woodsy charisma, but I needed to make it move for the camera. Not having enough time to construct a motorized turntable, I biked to the hardware store, bought a lazy Susan, plunked it under a metal Ikea filing box (the heaviest thing with a flat surface I could find in my apartment,) mounted my Zeiss Jena 80mm lens on an extension tube and tilt adapter, and shot some test footage with the Canon 5D.

The results?

I liked what the lenses did that day – but the lazy Susan filing box turntable system was less than optimal. No matter. Much of the macro stuff I hoped to shoot in Waco would be moving–records spinning, needles dropping–and if all else failed I could use my new Kessler pocket dolly to make the moves.

That night, I somehow managed to pack all the gear (lights, grip gear, tripod and dolly) into two checked bags. I was leaving for Waco early the next morning.

Tune in next week for Here’s Andy’s post about the shoot and some beautiful HD footage. If you want to read Andy’s tech notes about the pinecone test, click here.

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Andy Bowley is a NYC-based cinematographer whose projects have won many national Emmys and one Peabody, but he considers the coolest thing on his mantle to be an old Pentacon six medium format camera, which now sits next to his beloved Manhattan pinecone. He has found a lot of other things while running through wooded sections of Central Park, but doesn’t want to talk about it.

E-mail Andy: a b o w l e y at  e a r t h l i n k d o t n e t

 

An Arcosanti Slideshow

Jessica Roth, writer, guest blogger, and friend of A Life’s Work, took these photos on a recent trip to Arizona and sent this bit of text along to accompany them.

I make an annual sojourn to this spot…alongside the river, in a cave overlooking it, near the mesa that coughs up chalcedony and jasper, above the low branches of the bosque. Every time, I discover something new. A pile of sun-worn bones and cicada wings below an owl’s roost. A new elbow in the river. Another cave, higher, whose shadows are lined with small bells. The beginnings to stories I’ve still to tell.

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These photos show an important part of Arcosanti, that is, what you see around Arcosanti. The structure-town is not intended to dominate the landscape, but be integrated with it. These photos may show a tiny bit of structure, some bells, some presence of people, but mostly they’re about the natural landscape you experience when you look out of a window at Arcosanti or walk a few feet from one of its doors.

Jeff Stein said this in the recent interview:

So not only am I part of this powerful urban architecture, but the architecture itself is contained, and we’re on the edge of a cliff so I wake up in the morning and throw back the curtain and there, only about a 1/4 of a mile away, is the face of the opposing Mesa. I can see down a valley, there might be a herd of pronghorned antelope prancing around down there. There might be some cows on some grazing land up above. The sun is doing different things with cloud formations in the landscape and in fact it’s a wholly engaging and beautiful and rich natural landscape that we’re a part of.

Top 10 Gospel Christmas Songs

I asked Robert Darden, author of  Nothing but Love in God’s Water: Volume I, Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement and People Get Ready!: A New History of Black Gospel Music and founder of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, to list some of his favorite gospel Christmas songs. Enjoy!

The songs are in quotes and can be found on the CD (or LP) in italics.

Odetta: Christmas Spirituals
“Rise Up Shepherd and Follow”

Died  December 2008. Legendary folk/blues/spiritual singer. Active in the Civil Rights movement. Influenced many artists, including Bob Dylan. Music historian/performer, legend.

from Black Nativity

Featuring Marion Williams and Princess Stewart
“Mary, What You Gonna Call That Pretty Little Baby?”

With arrangements by Professor Alex Bradford, gospel re-telling of Christmas story. Electrifying performances on Broadway in 1962. Took to London for several tours and revivals. Considered one of the inspirations for Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. Two powerful voices – Marion Williams’ lower, warmer voice and Princess Stewart’s higher, raspier voice.

The Harmonizing Four

“Sweet Little Jesus Boy”
Little known group from Richmond, Virginia but very popular during the Golden Age of Gospel Music. Very traditional – rarely with instruments, a cappella, flat-footed jubilee style. Wonderful arrangements of old spirituals and hymns. Sang at funeral of Franklin Delano Roosevelt… best known for their speaker-rumbling bass singers, although sadly not on their few Christmas releases.

A Gospel Christmas Celebration
“Silent Night” by the Mighty Clouds of Joy
One of my all-time favorite groups … one of the last of the best gospel quartets to be formed … singer Joe Ligon is one of gospel’s last great shouters … and is the model for Wilson Pickett, who used to guest with them occasionally … called the “Temptations of Gospel” … still hard on the road today!

The Texas Christmas Collection
“Christmas Hymn” by Karen Kraft
Know virtually nothing about Karen Kraft … this was recorded for a small Austin label in the 1980s, heard she lives in Bryan-College Station … interpretation of a song originally written by Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith – but the original doesn’t sound much like this!

The Legendary Groups of Gospel
“Go Tell It on the Mountain” by the Mighty Clouds of Joy

From Black Nativity
Featuring Marion Williams and Princess Stewart
“Joy to the World”
My favorite gospel soloist is the late Marion Williams … rarely in better voice than on this recording in 1962 … Most adventuresome gospel vocalist, endlessly inventive, taking chances and probably drove her accompanists crazy …

A Gospel Family Christmas

“Hallelujah Chorus” by Pastor Donald Alford and the Progressive Radio Choir
Most recent track in collection. The Progressive Radio Choir has been based and recording in Chicago since the 1970s. For a time, recorded with Pastor (now Apostle) Donald L. Alford, including their hit “He’s Alive.” Alford is now head of the Progressive Life-Giving Word Cathedral near Chicago, but the choir continues and this may be the best legacy of their short collaboration.

You can find some of these songs and many more great gospel Christmas songs on my Youtube playlist.

Want more  Christmas gospel music suggestions? Check out  The Twelve Classic Gospel Songs of Christmas by Bob Marovich.

What’s A Life’s Work about? It’s a documentary about people engaged in projects they won’t see completed in their lifetimes. You can find out more on this page.

We recently ran a crowdfunding campaign and raised enough to pay an animator and license half of the archival footage the film requires. We need just a bit more to pay for licensing the other half of the archival footage, sound mixing, color correction, E&O insurance and a bunch of smaller things. When that’s done, the film is done! It’s really very VERY close!

So here’s how you can help get this film out to the world. It’s very simple: click the button…

Donate Now!

… and enter the amount you want to contribute (as little as $5, as much as $50,000) and the other specifics. That’s it. No login or registration required. Your contribution does not line my pocket; because the film is fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, all money given this way is overseen by them and is guaranteed to go toward the completion of this film. Being fiscally sponsored also means that your contribution is tax-deductible. So why not do it? The amount doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you’re helping to bring a work of art into the world. And that, I think, is really exciting!

Questions? Email me at d a v i d ( aT } b l o o d o r a n g e f i l m s {d o t] c o m

The Guest Bloggers

Over the years (yes, I can write that and mean it!), this blog has had some wonderful guest posts. Here’s a list of them.mynameis

 

My Pursuit of Science Took an Ugly Turn by  William Swearson  (words)

Bonsai and A Life’s Work by Karen Bell (photographs)

Time, Nature, Mortality… A Life’s Work by  John Yearley (words)

Her Life’s Work by Kate Hill Cantrill (words)

Arcosanti and the Writing Process (words), An Arcosanti Slideshow (photos), and The Ultimate Selfie: NASA’s Golden Record 2.0 (words).

Designing SETI Institute Graphics by Danielle Futselaar (words and images)

Death Be Not Enervating by Duane Kelly (words)

The Man Who Planted Trees by Jim Robbins (words)

Against the ruin of the world, there is only one defense: the creative act,” by Robert Darden (words)

Mr. Pete’s Tree by Jon Bittman (words and photos)

Arcosanti – City on the Edge of Forever by Nathan Koren (words and photos)

Why Would a 21-Year-Old Be Interested in A Life’s Work? Haroon Butt (words)

Sunset and Sunrise in Arcosanti, AZ: 24 Hours Amidst a Sea of Arcology, photos and essay by Niall David (words and photos)

Hardest/Easiest Work Environments So Far by Andy Bowley (words and photos)

The Meaning of Life by Jane Waggoner Deschner (quote and art)

Bob Marovich’s Top Ten All Time Gospel Recordings (list)

The people above are writers, playwrights, photographers, visual artists,  urban planners, DJs, college students, etc. I like that the list is so varied. I look forward to adding more names. Maybe yours?

You know the themes: legacy, continuity, work one devotes one’s life to, mentorship, stewardship, a sense of connection to something larger than yourself. It’s pretty broad. I’m looking for  visual art, video, interviews, poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. Send me an email and maybe we can work something out.

d  a v i d [ a t ] b l o o d o r a n g e f i l m  s { d o  t } c  o  m