Sunday, December 14, 2014

Austin, Texas - In Another Minute (Week 241)

Austin, Texas - In Another Minute (Week 241)

Austin is the capitol of Texas - and at the same time the least Texan city in Texas. At least, that's what I hear. What I can say for certain is that I loved it there, when Scott, Whiskey and I got to explore the city this past week after screening our documentary "All God's Children" at the Child-Friendly Faith Conference.

The weather in early December was gorgeous, the people were super friendly, the food was delicious and there was plenty of music, interesting architecture, food carts, neon signs, street art and a protest against police violence and racism to keep my camera busy.

The biggest challenge (yet again) in making this video was that I had too much footage and editing it down to a minute took a little longer than hoped.

Things you will see in this video (among other places): the Texas State Capitol, downtown, 6th Street, South Congress (with glimpses of  Snackbar, Austin Motel, Continental, Güero's Taco Bar, Lucy in Disguise, the "I love you so much" graffiti, and the Best Wurst food cart offering Berlin-style Currywurst!), the "til death do us part" street art by Federico (Archuleta) on the outside of the Mexic-Arte Museum, the Treaty Oak, Waterloo Records (where we splurged a bit), a Ghost Bike commemorating Robert Antony Ramirez, a visual shout-out to Sam Beam (aka Iron & Wine), whom I went to film school with, and Freddie's Place, which reminded us so much of a Berlin beer garden that we returned the next afternoon.

Only three things we missed out on this time around: the bats taking off from the Congress Bridge (because they've flown down south for the winter), a live concert (because dogs weren't allowed anywhere were bands were playing - so we opted to just hop around regular bars) and connecting with our local friends and other travel bloggers. But we'll be back.. that's for sure!

The song in this video is called "Acoustic Blues" and was written and performed by Jason Shaw, who made this song available via the CC BY 3.0 license. Thank you, Jason!

For the camera nerds among you: this is the first video I shot with my amazing Sony DSC-RX 100 III - the perfect compact point'n'shoot camera for this traveling video maker. I'm still learning the camera and all its video options. This video I shot in the AVCHD codec at 60p. I'm planning on shooting in XAVC S in the future, since I'll have to do conversions in post with all of the AVC codecs anyway. What this definitely means is that I'm finally departing PAL and embracing NTSC. We'll see how that plays out..

I took tons of pictures on this trip, and will post a selection very soon on my personal blog.

Texas flag + Longhorns flag + guitar = Austin

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Meet Günter Westphal (Visual + Social Artist) - In A Minute Portrait (Week 240)

Meet Günter Westphal (Visual + Social Artist) - In A Minute Portrait (Week 240)

Most people know Günter Westphal from Hamburg, Germany, as a photographer, a social artist and an activist in the Münzviertel neighborhood (in St. Georg, Hamburg). He also happens to be my father.

When he attended a Chicago artist residency (sponsored by the Goethe Institute and the Hamburg Ministry of Culture) for the month of November, I was able to fly up there from Colorado twice and explore the city with him and help with his presentation at the Experimental Station. I also took the opportunity to shoot this micro-interview with him. And because this week was his birthday, I thought this would be the right week to publish this video.

Günter is an amazing photographer, whose images always have a deeper meaning than you might think at a first glance. He gave me my first camera when I was 8 years old, and I'd like to believe that he also gave me my passion for photography and cinematography (if not also the photographic eye).

However, what I find even more inspiring, yet much more difficult to explain, is the social art he creates. To put it real simple: he's a social activist who sees his activities and makes his decisions with a sense of aesthetics or even based on aesthetic criteria. To look at it from the other side: he creates art that actually makes the world a better place - not just theoretically, but practically. This I wish I could say of my own work.

Günter would never put his creative, philosophical and social endeavors in such simple terms - because nothing ever is that simple. Part of his work is even to question this work...

So to put him on the spot and make him explain his work, his motivation and his philosophy in simple, short sentences was probably a bit unfair from the beginning. But I couldn't pass up the chance to have him in my little video series. Of course, it was just as much of a challenge to try to get all he said into a 1-minute video. I couldn't. So what you watch here is a stripped-down and simplified version of his answers. And because he spoke in German, you will also have to contend with English subtitles. My suggestion: watch it several times - once just for the words, once just for the images...

If you want to see more...

... please check out the following posts with photos Günter took during his time in Chicago:

Chicago 5./ 6.11.2014

City Development from the Bottom Up – The Example Of The Hamburg (Germany) Neighborhood Münzviertel – A Conversation with Günter Westphal – Saturday, November 22, 5pm Experimental Station – 6100 South Blackstone Ave, Chicago

Das Münzviertel in der Experimental Station 6100 S Blackstone Ave. Chicago 11/22/2014

... and some of the related videos I've made:

Günter Westphal Photo Exhibit – In A Berlin Minute (Week 6)

Chicago (Illinois) – In Another Minute (Week 237)

The “el” aka L Train Chicago – In Another Minute (Week 239)

Guenter Westphal in Chicago
November 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - "In The Heat Of The Moment" + "Do The Damage" (MusicMonday)

Chasing Yesterday, the second album by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, won't come out until March 2nd (perfectly timed for someone special's birthday), but the single "In The Heat Of The Moment" with the B-side "Do The Damage" has already been out for a few weeks. And now there are full videos for both songs. Because I like them both and because my Music Monday posts have been far and few between (since I've been a traveling fool lately), I figured I'd share both of them.

"In The Heat Of The Moment" - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

"Do The Damage" - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Sunday, November 30, 2014

el aka L Train Chicago - In Another Minute (Week 239)

L Train ("el" Train) Chicago - In Another Minute (Week 239)

This past week I got to go to Chicago, Illinois, for the second time in a month. This time I'd like to show you a quick minute of one of my favorite things to do in a city: ride the public transportation train. The CTA (Chicago Transportation Authority) train is most often referred to as the L train or el train (short for "elevated train") - even though part of the system is underground, giving you the classic subway experience.

The coolest part of the L Train Chicago is the loop that five train lines (e.g., the pink line) ride around downtown, which, in turn, is actually called The Loop because of the trains encircling it. The 1.79-mile (2.88 km) long circuit of elevated railroad takes four 90-degree turns as it loops around the shopping and business area - giving you cool views of the high-rise canyon, sharp turns and streets and rivers (to + fro The Loop) from above as you cross them via train bridges.

Please keep in mind that this is an edited and sped-up video of riding the train - so you don't get to see everything or experience how slow the trains really go around those curves. I will probably upload a longer, slower, more complete version some day soon.
Also: to see what the Chicago elevated train looks like from the streets below and other Chi-Town impressions, please check out my video from two weeks prior: Chicago (Illinois) – In Another Minute (Week 237)

I know the video quality isn't so awesome. I shot all of this on my iPhone through one or two panes of glass (depending on the shot). My compact camera has been messed up for a little while, and using my DSLR for driving footage is senseless. In perfect timing, I'm getting a new compact camera today... as soon as I'm done uploading + publishing this video! I cannot wait to show you footage shot with that new beauty...

Why did I travel to Chicago for a second time in November? Of course, to spend more time with my father, Günter Westphal from Hamburg, who was in the city for an art residency. This time Scott got to come with me as well, we finally had stuffed deep dish pizza with John and Margaret from Lost and Found Travel and Chicago Elevated (best walking tours), went to a Blues club; and my dad held a fascinating presentation about his social art work at the Experimental Station.

The song in this video is called "Stormy Blues" by Arne Bang Huseby . He has made the song available via a CC BY 3.0 Creative Commons license. Thank you, Arne!

el train aka L train in Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Big Thompson Canyon Drive - In A Colorado Minute (Week 238)

Big Thompson Canyon Drive - In A Colorado Minute (Week 238) 

The 33-mile drive through the Big Thompson Canyon along Highway 34 from Loveland to Estes Park is one of the most stunning drives in Colorado - with its winding road, tall granite walls and, of course, the rough water of the Big Thompson River.

I've taken this ride many times on my way into Rocky Mountain National Park, which has its official entrance in Estes Park. Check out a video from the park (including shots of the Big Thompson River Headwaters) here: Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park) – In A Colorado Minute (Week 208)

During week 231, I finally strapped the GoPro to the front of our car and captured this lovely ride for you. Thank you, Scott, for driving. Thank you, Pete, for letting me have your GoPro on permanent loan.

It's still shocking to see all the destruction the big flood caused in autumn 2013. By now there is still quite a bit of construction, and it seems that they've kept the river lower than usual by controlling intake through the damn at Estes Lake.

As with most of my transportation time-lapse videos, this is just the 1-minute edited version. I plan to upload a full version of the drive another day... whenever that day will come when I finally upload all the longer versions, I have no idea...

The song featured in this video is "Hoedown" by Jason Shaw, available under a CC BY 3.0 license. Thank you, Jason!

The last turn of the Big Thompson Canyon highway before you see Estes Park and the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
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