Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spring Wildflowers - In A Colorado Minute (Week 213)



Most of the spring wildflowers seen in this video I filmed last week in Lory State Park, outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. A few of the images are from other times and places, including a venture across the border into Wyoming a few weeks ago and an overcast day at Horsetooth Reservoir in late April.

I'm dedicating this video to my father, Günter Westphal, because he's such an amazing wildflower photographer, as you can see in "Günter Westphal Photo Exhibit – In A Berlin Minute (Week 6)," and because today is Vatertag (Father's Day) in Germany.

The images at the end of the video are pictures I previously published via Instagram. Would love to connect with you there: http://Instagram.com/LuciWest

If you enjoyed this video about spring wildflowers, you might want to check out the video I made about the local wild flowers during the summer: "Summer Wildflowers – In A Colorado Minute (Week 166)"

The song in the video is the instrumental version of "Mona Lisa" by Josh Woodward. This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 US License. Thank you, Josh!

Springtime Wildflower in Lory State Park, Colorado

Monday, May 26, 2014

Favorite songs from the 1st 1/4 of 2014 (MusicMonday)

Yes, yes, I know, it's a few (many) weeks overdue, but here is finally the mixtape of my favorite songs during the first quarter of 2014 (January - March).

Favorite Songs from the 1st Quarter of 2014

1 Sing To Me - Walter Martin feat. Karen O.
2 Medicine - Broken Bells
3 Be Not So Fearful - A.C. Newman
4 Leave This Island - Maximo Park
5 Coming of Age - Foster The People
6 Like It Never Happened - Elizabeth & The Catapult
7 I'm Not Part of Me - Cloud Nothings
8 Hot Tonight - Tokyo Police Club
9 Nothing But Trouble - Phantogram
10 Kong - The Notwist
11 Cannibal - Silversun Pickups
12 Algiers - The Afghan Whigs
13 New York Morning - Elbow
14 Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Lorde
15 Love Is To Die - Warpaint
16 Lean - The National
17 Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone - Lykke Li
18 My Boyz - jj

Watch the videos for the songs on my Pinterest music board.

Spotify playlist coming tomorrow. Now I need to drink a few more Piña Colada in the backyard with my friends...  Summer!!!

And now here it is - all the songs except for "My Boyz" by jj on Spotify

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Horseback Riding at Terry Bison Ranch - In A Colorado Minute (Week 212)

Horseback Riding at Terry Bison Ranch - In A Colorado Minute (Week 212) 

Technically, the Terry Bison Ranch is in Wyoming. But once you make a German girl's life-long dream come true and get on a horse to ride around the American prairie, you quickly end up in Colorado, where most of the ranch's grassland is located. So I consider this to be a video about horseback riding in Colorado.

On Erik's last day in Colorado before returning to Hamburg, Erik, Scott and I headed up to the border to Wyoming and visited the Terry Bison Ranch, which is a fully functioning (and the nation's 3rd largest) bison farm and a Western resort (cabins and RV park) that features a small zoo (regular farm animals and the more exotic kind, like yaks and ostriches), a fishing pond, restaurants and offers what we came for: to ride a horse in the Wild West.

We were greeted by picture-perfect cowboys, who actually aren't just actors (as anyone who has spent too much time at Disney would suspect) but actually are fully involved at the farm. Actually, our conversations with Joey Probert, the leader of our little pack (who did turn out to be an actor as well) made the ride especially charming as he told us about having been part of the farm since he was a small child (leading tours since he was 14) and shared anecdotes about the changes around the farm, re-training horses after their winter break and the bison calf, which had been born 90 minutes before out in the field (we saw the mom lick the calf while riding by).

Our horses, Daisy, Gypsy and Spirit, were calm and patient and only rarely tried to sneak in a bushel of grass. The ride was both relaxing and exciting. Next time, I definitely want to take the longer ride across the ridge and explore the wilder hinterlands, where you can see elk and antelopes roaming. Or maybe the next ride will be out of Estes Park, where you get to explore mountain trails.

In any case, I definitely want to come back to Terry Bison Farm this summer to watch the rodeo-style action as horses are broken in or retrained after their long winter vacation. Also I might just have to shoot an entire video about ostriches...

The music in this video is the instrumental version of the song "Water In The Creek" by Josh Woodward. This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 US License.

This video is dedicated to Rhonda S, a British YouTube friend, who makes great horseback riding videos and has been watching my videos for years.

Horseback riding in Colorado (leaving from the Terry Bison Ranch in Wyoming)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Spring Creek Trail (East), Fort Collins [Time Lapse] - In A Colorado Minute (Week 211)



Fort Collins, Colorado, features five major biking, pedestrian and horseback riding trails: the Poudre, Spring Creek, Fossil Creek, Power and Mason Trails. These inviting trails make it a pleasure to cut from one end of town to the other - avoiding streets while enjoying the views of creeks, ponds, meadows, parks and wildlife.

For this week's video, I rode a German-made vintage Sears bike (thank you, G.J.!) along the Spring Creek Trail from College Avenue heading east all the way to its end to the Cache la Poudre River and the Poudre Trail.

I decided to experiment a bit with the GoPro Hero 3 (thank you, Pete!) to bring you a time-lapse video that would give you a quick and fun overview of that half of the trail. After having put the GoPro on a car mount and using the time-lapse function (a photo every second) for the "The Narrows, Poudre Canyon (Time Lapse) – In A Colorado Minute (Week 197)" video and then using the video function and putting the GoPro camera on my helmet for the "1st Time Skiing – Loveland Ski Area – In A Colorado Minute (Week 207)" video, I thought this time I would try the chest mount and let the camera record video, which I would speed up later. Yeah, not so happy with the result. Reminds me a lot of the "Riding across the Brooklyn Bridge – In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 84)" video. The bumpy trail, combined with a bike without shocks, my own movement and the rolling shutter of the camera, resulted in very bouncy, wobbly footage. Applying different filters and effects to smooth it out (mainly smooth cam), led to a rather chunky image.

As I remind myself again that this web series is not about perfectionism, but about sharing moving images of a location or an event with you every single week, I'm happy to show you a non-perfect video highlighting one of the things that make Fort Collins such a great town: the trails and nature.

Also it's another video that reminds me of what was going on at the time: you see my friend Erik speed past me in his "Slow - Biker At Play" shirt. Erik is visiting for a few weeks from Hamburg and has been riding all the town's trails during this time.

And because I also enjoy riding the trails so much, I think I'll keep experimenting with getting a better time-lapse video in the future. Next variations: helmet mount, shooting at a higher frame rate (50fps), at 1440 instead of 1080 - and trying the photo time-lapse function again. We'll see...

Also, I will upload a slower version of the entire 15-minute ride soon...

The song in this video is called "Hook It Up" was written and performed by Jason Matherne, who just became a father again this weekend. Congratulations, Jason!!!

Spring Creek Trail - Fort Collins, Colorado

Monday, May 12, 2014

Chvrches - "Do I Wanna Know?" (Arctic Monkeys Cover) [MusicMonday]

This week, it's especially difficult to make the pick for my Music Monday post because there are so many great choices. You can check out all of them on my Music Pinterest board.

Because people are waiting for me to get off the computer and head out of the house for a sunny excursion (it's been rainy and snowing here the last few days), I'll make a quick rather random pick:

Scottish electro band Chvrches covering my (probably) favorite song from last year "Do I Wanna Know?" by the English guitar band Arctic Monkeys.


















While I love the original version more, I personally find this song especially well suited to exist with a female voice and a slightly different mood. It fits the idea of a conversation between two people, who may be thinking, feeling and expressing the same thing without knowing yet that the other person does feel the same.

This cover version was recorded as part of a series of live recordings (and cover version, specifically) called "Like A Version" at the Australian triple j radio station. Check out more of their videos on their YouTube channel (including a great Arctic Monkeys session).


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Vedauwoo, Wyoming - In Another Minute (Week 210)


Vedauwoo, Wyoming - In Another Minute (Week 210)

Vedauwoo is a very impressive park full of Sherman Granite rocks, piles of rocks and mountains of rocks in south-eastern Wyoming, between Cheyenne and Laramie - just a 1-hour drive north-west of Fort Collins, Colorado. The name Vedauwoo comes from the language of the Arapaho, who call this part of the world "Land of the Earthborn Spirit."

Because this week is the 4-year anniversary of this weekly 1-minute web series, I wanted to do something special. So my best friend Erik Jürgensen, who is currently visiting from Hamburg, Whiskey and I decided to drive to the nearest state: Wyoming. Originally, I had planned to put together a 1-minute video briefly featuring several Wyoming (roadside) attractions.

We stopped at the Wyoming welcome sign and the Tree Rock - impressive because there are no other trees around, just the one that decided hundreds of years ago to grow out of a few rocks, of which there also aren't that many right in that place.

But once we walked into the Vedauwoo Recreational Area (located in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest), it became quickly clear that we'd spend the rest of the day there instead of making our way to further destinations. All we had time for (before returning to Fort Collins for some walleye night-fishing) was the Ames Monument, which you can see at the end of the video. It was my first pyramid sighting, besides the one at the Louvre in Paris. I'm still working my way up to the Mayan and Egyptian pyramids... This Wyoming pyramid was built to honor Oakes and Oliver Ames, Jr., who were major financiers of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Erik, Whiskey and I enjoyed Vedauwoo, which features campgrounds, BBQ grills and everything from an easy Spaziergang trail to rocks perfect for bouldering, so much that we actually plan to return before he flies back to Hamburg next week. However, there's still so much I plan to show him...

By the way, people have been telling me how windy it's always up in south-eastern Wyoming and especially around Vedauwoo. But for us North Germans who are used to the "Starke Briese" from the North Sea, it really didn't seem all that windy.

The music in this video is the instrumental version of "Go" by Josh Woodward (http://JoshWoodward.com). The song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 US License.

Because this is my 4-year anniversary episode, I would like to thank all of you again for watching and for continuing to watch (and comment and share). You're what makes this whole endeavor so rewarding!

Vedauwoo, Wyoming

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Four Years of the Moving Postcard web series

Four (4!) years ago today, I published the 1st episode of my weekly 1-minute web series Moving Postcard. Back then the series was called German New Yorker in Berlin and later In A Berlin Minute and In A Brooklyn Minute.

Eventually, I re-branded the series as Moving Postcard and consider the In A... Minute title more as a category title based on wherever I'm living at the time, which is why most episodes currently fall in the category In A Colorado Minute.

Confused, yet? For good measure, let me add this: if I'm traveling to a completely different place, I use the category title In Another Minute.

Moving Postcard

There were a few times I contemplated to stop making a video every week, especially when I first moved back to Brooklyn from Berlin, then when YouTube suspended my GNYBerlin channel for a day and permanently deleted all my videos, view counts, 8000 subscriptions and thousands of comments..., and finally when I made the decision to focus more of my time and energy on my personal off-line life than on my creative projects and passions and my online community.

But I never stopped - not for a single week in four years. And I'll tell you honestly: while I've often been disappointed  in my work, achievements (or lack thereof), follow-through, income etc., I am very proud of having stuck with making a video every week and sharing it with people from around the world.

The video series forces me every week to go out and explore something with my camera and to turn it into something cohesive and aesthetic. Every week, I get the chance to communicate with the wonderful people who watch my videos and often times make their own films, which I get to watch in turn.

I consider making these videos my religion, my addiction, my retreat, my ticket to a special community and possibly my largest single body of creative work (who knows how much longer I will keep making this series...).

I am finally really proud of something I am doing.

But even more so, I am really grateful to have the life style and paid work that allows me to indulge in making this series - and I am really grateful for the support of viewers like you, who continue to encourage me to shoot, edit and publish a video every week. THANK YOU!

My gratitude goes especially to those creative people, who watch my videos but whose videos I have not been keeping up with as well because, as mentioned above, I've been trying to spend more time and energy on my personal offline life. Another special thank you goes to all the musicians who have allowed me to user their music, especially Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions and Josh Woodward!

Now that I live in Colorado, it's become a little bit more challenging to find interesting things to film and publish every week. So I've changed my own rules a little bit: while still publishing a 1-minute video every week, it may not have been filmed that same week but at some earlier point.

Another change is that I'm attempting to make vlogs every once in awhile when I'm filming at a special location. Those you can watch on my LuciWest YouTube channel.


With all that said, there will be a new episode tomorrow...

For now here are the first and the latest episode:

First episode: Plane, Bus, Still, Train - In A Berlin Minute (Week 01) 



Latest episode: Los Cabos, Mexico - In Another Minute (Week 209) 



Places to watch the series:
Moving Postcard: http://MovingPostcard.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MovingPostcard
Google+: http://google/+MovingPostcard
YouTube: http://youtube.com/GNYBerlin
Tumblr: http://luciwest.tumblr.com
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/luciwest
Blip: http://blip.tv/InABerlinMinute
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/luciwest
 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Garbage feat. Brody Dalle - "Girls Talk" (MusicMonday)

LOVE THIS!

For this year's Record Store Day (April 19), Garbage released the song "Girls Talk" featuring vocals by Garbage's own Shirley Mason and Brody Dalle (ex-The Distillers/Spinnerette).

It's a joy to watch the single-shot video of the two women record the vocals.

What brings even more joy is to holler along to lyrics like:
"And you can do what it is that you want
Without some little bitch in your ear"




Cover for "Girls Talk" by Garbage with Brody Dalle

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Los Cabos, Mexico - In Another Minute (Week 209)



Los Cabos on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico encompasses the towns Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo.

For my birthday this week, Scott and I hid away there in an all-inclusive resort (Ziva Hyatt) on the Sea of Cortez for a 4-day birth day celebration.

It was the first time, we had ever stayed at an all-inclusive resort. Usually, I'm more the adventurous type. But let me tell you, this is really the way to go if you want to relax completely. As a matter of fact, I was able to so completely let go of everything that I even decided to not take a trip to explore the nearby El Arco (a rock arch on the beach) and barely picked up the camera to film or photograph anything. The result: a slow and simple video, which I hope will give you a minute of relaxation as well.

Since Cabo is only a 3-hour flight from Denver, we'll try to return every winter/spring as long as we live in Denver. And with the service (impressive flaming and sparkling birthday cake at the Spanish restaurant on my birthday), the great location and the very impressive minimalist style of the rooms,, I'm pretty sure we'll stay again at the Ziva Hyatt.

And next time, the shoot of the Bachelor Canada will probably not interfere again with us getting the most isolated Cabana on the beach.

The music in the video is "Laid Back Guitars" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Mexican man riding a horse on the beach in San José del Cabo, Los Cabos, Mexico