Thursday, January 23, 2014

Lory State Park (Part 1) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 195)

Lory State Park (Part 1) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 195) [HD] from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Lory State Park is the state park closest to Fort Collins, running along the west side of Horsetooth Reservoir. Its diverse landscape offers rolling hills and meadows, dramatic rock cliffs, reservoir beaches, evergreen forests, waterfalls and small mountains to climb and enjoy the view of the Rocky Mountains in the West and the Great Plains in the East. You can hike, ride mountain bikes and horses, swim, fish, run, play with your dog and apparently also hunt.

This week, on a lovely, sunny and rather warm day, I took a few hours off from a crazy busy work week to enjoy the sunshine and vistas and to shoot this video for you. As with every visit to Lory State Park, we got there not long before the sun disappeared behind the mountains in the West. Note to self: for a longer visit to Lory State Park during the winter months, get there before noon to enjoy the warming sunshine for the entire hike.

Because it was getting cool again as soon as the sun dipped down and because work was waiting, we didn't really get into climbing into the mountains (I'm sure the locals would call them hills, but I've lived in flatland all my life, so I'll call them mountains for now).

I'm planning to climb up and shoot another video of that side of the park as soon as I get the chance. Having bought a year-pass makes it even more inviting to stop by for a quick walk, a pick-nick or an all-day excursion. By the way, the year-pass from Lory State Park is also valid at 41 other Colorado state parks. How cools is that? Very cool.

The music in this video comes again from Josh Woodward, who makes his songs available with a Creative Commons license via his website:

Horsetooth Reservoir seen from Lory State Park - near Fort Collins, Colorado

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Swetsville Zoo - In A Colorado Minute (Week 194)

Swetsville Zoo - In A Colorado Minute (Week 194) [HD] from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

American Roadside Attractions - something about them is quite mystical.

They evoke the image of America as an adventure land without borders, crisscrossed by long highways, strewn with fascinating characters on and off the road, traveling like Jack Kerouac or creating quirky works of art and pop culture like Bill Swets did at an Interstate 25 exit in Colorado.

Adventure awaits us - we just have to take the highway and go exploring.

Following that call, I drove to the outskirts of Fort Collins this week to check out the nearest American Roadside Attraction, according to the website the Swetsville Zoo.

What I found were not living animals, but an impressive collection of sculptures made out of scrap metal, mostly from farm equipment and vehicles, all created by Bill Swets.

Apparently, he was a farmer and a fireman, who started making sculptures when he couldn't sleep. His menagerie of often funny and even political sculptures grew over the years - and remains in its original location at the 265 exit of I-25 (4801 East Harmony Road), along the Poudre River (despite some articles announcing a few years back that it was being dismantled).

A charming detail is a list of all the sculptures with their nicknames, "scientific names" and a comments that reveal a special meaning for each of them, like "Speedy" - "rocked-powered turtle" - "There isn't a hare in the world that can beat him" or "Works Neverdone Inc." - "Jake Pulling Ore Cart" - "Works expands to fill the time allotted."

As soon as I got there, I was also given a special glimpse into a big hall of amazing fantasy vehicles. There wasn't enough room in the video to show the vehicles as well, but I'll post a few pictures on my Good Hard Working People blog.

While this was a great excursion during the winter time, when a lot of the nature sights are a little harder to access due to the snow in the mountains, I definitely want to come back when the trees are green again and the rusty color of the sculptures will pop more.

The featured song is called "Drumming on the Walls of the World" and was written and sung by Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions.

Thank you, Bill Swets, for creating and sharing with us your zoo!

Swetsville Zoo, Fort Collins, Colorado

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Amaryllis Time Lapse - In A Colorado Minute (Week 193)

Amaryllis Time Lapse - In A Colorado Minute (Week 193) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

Every winter, I get an amaryllis bulb to watch the plant grow and open its blooms to fill the winter days with brightness and remind me that spring is coming and the new year will bring much joy.

I shot this video over 4 days and 3 nights - taking a picture every minute (actually I took a lot more pictures, but I deleted them later). There are a few jumps in the video because I had to adjust the camera when the plant itself grew out of frame and because the camera battery gave out in the middle of the night.

This video is also a reminder that I didn't go outside this week to film because I was so busy with work (yay, 2014, the year of much paid work!) and furnishing our new home and because of the polar vortex, which dropped temperatures to -22 Celsius during the day!!!

By the way, this plant that is usually sold under the name "Amaryllis" during the winter months as a flowering indoor plant is actually called "Hippeastrum" and originates from South America. The true "Amaryllis" grows outdoors in South Africa. The two plants look a lot a like and are related. Note to self: go explore South Africa one day.

The pretty song is the instrumental version of "She Dreams in Blue" by Josh Woodward. Please check out his website and feel free to use his music in your works - he is that generous and makes his songs available via a Creative Commons license: Thank you, Josh!

Amaryllis, or more correctly, Hippeastrum in bloom

Monday, January 6, 2014

jj - "My Boyz" (MusicMonday)

The first Music Monday post of the year brings you a sad and beautiful confessional song by my favorite Swedish duo: jj.

The video, directed by Mattias Erik Johansson, features a collage of gorgeous images divided into chapters and preceded by the title card "This is not a commercial. This is not a single. This is not a cry for help." Lovely.

Can't wait for their album V to come out…

Just FYI, the language choices won't be appreciated by all.

JJ-MY BOYZ. from Mattias Erik Johansson on Vimeo.

Joakim Benon and Elin Kastlander of jj

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 Highlights - USA - In A Colorado Minute (Week 192)

2013 Highlights - USA - In A Colorado Minute (Week 192) [HD] from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

This one-minute video shows you highlights from the 1-minute Moving Postcard videos I shot in Brooklyn, NY (including shots of Manhattan seen from Brooklyn) and Colorado in 2013.

This is the third and last 2013 Highlights video - all culled from other 1-minute videos I published last year.

You can watch "2013 Highlights – Other Countries – In Another Minute (Week 191 – I)" HERE.

You can watch "2013 Highlights – Berlin (Germany) – In A Berlin Minute (Week 191 – II)" HERE.

All the full Brooklyn videos (2010 - 2013) you can watch HERE.

All the full Colorado videos you can watch HERE.

The music in this video is a brand new instrumental version of “Sitting Still” by Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions, who has provided most of the music this year. Thank you, Jason, you keep on rockin'!

Thank you to everyone who has been watching, sharing and commenting this past year. I definitely wouldn't be doing this without you.

Now let's hope that the polar vortex and it's sub-freezing temperatures will pass very soon, so I can dare to go out and shoot the first new 2014 video!

Stay warm, my friends!

View from Horsetooth Rock in Colorado