Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tour de Fat (Fort Collins) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 226)

Tour de Fat (Fort Collins) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 226) 

Tour de Fat is a traveling celebration of "beer, bikes and bemusement" organized by the employee-owned Fort Collins brewery New Belgium and taking place in almost a dozen cities around the USA throughout the summer (next stops are in Denver, San Diego and Tempe).

This week (on August 30, 2014), Tour de Fat Fort Collins happened - bringing together 25,000 people to ride their bikes in the parade, wear colorful costumes, drink beer, watch bands and other performers... and tell us how cute our dog Whiskey is (sorry, couldn't help it... she really is cute).

According to a New Belgium blog post, $80,000 were raised for local biking nonprofits. We tried to do our part by drinking our fair share of Ranger, Fat Tire, Shift and the new Tour de Fall beers.

The video I put together is not a comprehensive overview of all that went on that day. It skips all the bands on three stages, all the nice people I met and fun conversations we had and that crazy delicious sandwich from the Jax stand (and the disappointment that the Moe's stand was already out of food).

But this should give  you an idea what a fun, sunny, colorful and beer-induced event this was.

The bonus of attending the Tour de Fat in Fort Collins for us was to jump in the Poudre River for a refreshing dip and then ride home on the fantastic bike trails along rivers and creeks with the view of the Rocky Mountain Foothills and a random Kingfisher just hanging out. Quite different than making your way home from the Atlantic Antic in Brooklyn...

The upbeat song is the instrumental version of "Honey Trap" by Jason Matherne.

Bike Parade at the New Belgium Tour de Fat in Fort Collins, Colorado
August 30, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

It's time to demand equal search on Google

It's time to demand equal search on Google

In my capacity as a conceptor for simpleshow I've been working on tons of videos lately (I write the script, conceive the visuals, which someone else then draws, and assemble the storyboard to then be printed, cut out and filmed by the awesome production team in Germany).

A project I just finished is a call-to-action for European citizens to convince their EU representative to NOT sign a settlement with Google, but to demand equal search instead of encouraging commercial websites overtaking the search results and kicking pages that give us reviews, information, how-to's etc. off the front page (and out of our view).

Personally, I feel strongly about this issue because it affects the information we Internet users receive in the world. But I've already realized that some Americans don't see an issue with a capitalist endeavor taking over our way of getting information. Or at least they say: Google is a company, they should be allowed to do whatever they want. Go use a different search engine if you don't like it.

But as a European, I feel differently about it. Capitalist thinking is taking over our culture, and "quasi-monopolies" are freely allowed to "censor" and "determine" what and how much we are exposed to. And we may not even notice that they're manipulating what we see.

We as individuals may be suckers for a company like Google and should be more aware and pro-active in making our own choices. But especially because we as individuals ARE suckers, I think the Open Internet Project raises an important point that government agencies might need to step in and make sure we as the people are protected from manipulation of information and that sharing of information and news sources work on an equal and free principle.

On a completely different note, I'd like to add that I had an amazing "sad unicorn in the rain" drawn for this video by illustrator Ina (when the main character's dream dies, which earlier had been represented by a happy unicorn) and I'm still sad that I had to take it back out. If I manage to work it into a future video I'll let you know...

P.S.: Yes, I'm fully aware that I'm posting this on a blog hosted on Google. I'm also aware that this video was posted on YouTube, which is owned by Google. Also over a year ago, Google deleted all my Google apps, including my YouTube channels and all my videos - and I still went and rebuild all that on their platforms. This only goes to show how omnipresent, ubiquitous and important Google is. However, in regards to my own videos, I put a lot more emphasis on their Vimeo presence. And I need to write a post about how much I love that company one day...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Poudre River Swim - In A Colorado Minute (Week 225)

Poudre River Swim - In A Colorado Minute (Week 225) 

The Cache la Poudre River is a refreshing oasis that snakes its way through Fort Collins, Colorado. It's just a quick bike ride from our house, and it's been our quick go-to refreshment spot during these very busy and sweltering weeks.

If you live in Fort Collins, it's blazing hot and you don't have time to drive up into the mountains, I highly recommend a Poudre River swim!

Many times we meet up at the river with one of our oldest and dearest friends, GJ, and of course our dog Whiskey always comes along and is the first one in the cool, rushing water. The day I shot this video, she actually learned how to swim against a strong current - or maybe it was just the day she proved to us she could do it all along.

A special thank you to GJ for letting me use his underwater camera and for being such an awesome friend and all the fun times together. I think this video could also have been called "Buddies Go Swimming" since it features Scott, GJ and Whiskey, who are clearly all best buddies. Can't wait for our next outing together.

The song featured in the video is the instrumental version of "Incoherent" by Josh Woodward. his song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 US License. Thank you, again and again, Josh!

If you have another minute, I'd like to recommend the video of a different adventure we've had in and along the Poudre River: "(Flooded) Poudre Trail – In A Colorado Minute (Week 214)"

Cache le Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colorado

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rise of the Super Moon - In A Colorado Minute (Week 224)

Rise of the Super Moon - In A Colorado Minute (Week 224) 

When, on Tuesday night, we went out to watch and capture the Perseid Meteor Shower, it was the Super Moon rising, who stole the show. Even though I had already shot and planned another video for this week, I thought I'd go ahead and share this capture of the moon rising and some photos I took that night of the moon and the stars.

I hope this will inspire you to take a nice person, or just yourself, out to a place with some open space and watch the moon rise. When it's this big, it's quite amazing how quickly it rises and how it lifts your spirits and imagination.

To show you the moon rise in less than a minute, I sped the video up by 750%. The moon was already waning when I shot this. Maybe one of these days, I'll capture it when it's full.

If you watch a lot of my videos, you've probably noticed that I use songs by Josh Woodward a lot, who makes his music freely available. Up until this point, I've always used instrumental versions of his songs because it's usually easier to edit to, sometimes the combination of lyrics and images feels too much on the nose and sometimes the lyrics just don't fit the images. This week, for the first time,

I'm using a version with lyrics - of the song "Shadows in the Moonlight." He has a really nice voice and I like the message of the entire song a lot. Check out the full song (available under an Attribution License) here:

Last but not least, if you enjoyed watching this moonrise, please check out the (more impressive, in my humble opinion) moonrise video from last year: Harvest Moonrise Time-Lapse – In A Colorado Minute (Week 178).

Super Moon rising over the Rocky Mountains Foothills near Fort Collins, Colorado

Monday, August 11, 2014

Raptors at ELC / Rocky Mountain Raptor Program - In A Colorado Minute (Week 223)

Raptors at ELC / Rocky Mountain Raptor Program - In A Colorado Minute (Week 223)  

The raptors living at the CSU Environmental Learning Center have all been rescued by the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program.

While at the center, I got to see and film a Golden Eagle, a one-eyed Bald Eagle, a Swainson's Hawk, and two Red-Tailed Hawks. Because the fence is very tight, only my iPhone camera lens would get shots without showing the fence. By chance, the battery in my Canon camera was drained anyway.

Considering how large the birds and the talons are, I believe it makes everyone feel more comfortable that the fence is strong and tight - especially when one's fingers are holding a camera directly to the fence.

While the video might not look like much, a trip to the Environmental Learning Center is definitely worth it. Seeing these birds up-close in real life is very impressive. And there's something very nice about knowing that these are not zoo animals displayed for your pleasure but rescued animals, which wouldn't survive in nature on their own anymore.

This video is dedicated to Anne Hanson of knitspot, who checked out the center while she visited me recently and inspired me with her photos. She's a great supporter of my web series - and I'd like to thank her officially for all the encouragement and support with this video. Please take a minute and watch the interview I shot with Anne during her stay - you may just feel inspired as well: Meet Anne Hanson (of knitspot) – In A Minute Portrait (Week 219)

The music used in this video is the song BIRD IN HAND by Jason Shaw. It's available for free via the Free Music Archive with a CC BY 3.0 license.

One-eyed bald eagle at the Environmental Learning Center / Rocky Mountain Raptor Program in Fort Collins, Colorado

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park (Summer Instagram Photos) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 222)

Rocky Mountain National Park (Summer Instagram Photos) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 222) 

Last week, I went to the Rocky Mountain National Park with my friend Jessica, while she was visiting from out of continent. This week, I've had so much work that I couldn't find time to shoot a video. Actually, Scott and I went on one awesome excursion - but I forgot to put the SD into my camera before we left. So I had a "forced" afternoon off from doing anything besides relaxing and having fun. It was wonderful. And it was earned, if I might say so myself.

In conclusion, for this week's video, I put together a collection of photos I took at Rocky Mountain National Park to (possibly) post on Instagram. Hope you enjoy this "not quite so much" Moving Postcard. And I hope I can find time to shoot something new in the following week, which has actually already started. Oh time...

If you'd like to watch a full video from Rocky Mountain National Park in spring, please check out this episode: Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park) – In A Colorado Minute (Week 208)

If you'd like to know more about Jessica, who is an international teacher and world traveler, please check out this episode: Meet Jessica (International Teacher) – In A Minute Portrait (Week 221)

And if you'd like to follow along my travels and explorations (even a busy bee gets the chance to enjoy a beautiful vista in the evening sometimes) via my photo stream, please follow me on Instagram: LuciWest

The song featured in this video is the instrumental version of "Hey Ruth" by Josh Woodward. This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 US License. Thank you, again and again, Josh!

Rocky Mountain National Park