Entre Ciel Et Terre – Between The Sky And Earth


I can’t think of a better way to welcome the new year than gorgeous timelapse from Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films. Timelapse photography is a immensely powerful artform, one capable of reinventing personal definitions of this place called Earth. Few do it better than Adrien Mauduit. Happy New Year from Notes.

In the words of Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films –

“There are only a few regions in the world where the skies meet the Earth with almost no distinction between the two. La Palma in the Canary islands is one of them. ‘Entre Ciel et Terre’ literally means ‘Between the sky and Earth’ and was a perfect fit here. While most of the volcanic island is isolated under a thick layer of clouds, the tip of its crater often punches through it and allows you to be one step closer to the Heavens. At an altitude of about 2300 meters above sea level you feel so far removed from any kind of civilization especially because of the cloud inversion. The air is thin and pristine and the living conditions are harsh but that’s the reason why the ORM (Observatory Roque de Los Muchachos) -operated by the IAC (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias) and part of the European Northern Observatory, was built up there. The summit of La Palma’s caldera benefits from dry and clear skies almost year round with almost no light pollution to disturb it, and only rare Calima (this dusty wind coming from the Sahara desert). It’s safe to say that the ‘Isla Bonita’ is one of the top places in the world to observe the northern hemisphere’s night sky!

The purpose of this short was to capture that special place from a different perspective. I really wanted to give the audience sort of a confusion as to where they are because that’s precisely the feeling you get when you look up at the stars from the mountains. You somehow lose sense of any orientation as if you were lost in the immensity of the universe! One image that I had in my head to describe La Palma’s summit was Asgard or Mount Olympus, where all the elements are united and blend together divinely. Even life found a way to survive in this environment bombarded by high-energy rays during the day and battered by cold winds at night. One highlighted species is the fascinating and mind-boggling Tajinaste flower. Also called Tenerife Bugloss or tower of jewels, this docile and resilient endemic plant can endure extreme drought. I included it in the movie because it looks majestic and prehistoric. It really adds something special to the special atmosphere I wanted to convey, especially when the milky way galaxy and the sea of clouds move in the background! By tracking the night sky or displaying the sequences upside-down I was able to give that impression of the Earth floating and rotating in the void of the cosmos. The unusual but innovative close-up views of some parts of the milky way (including the core, Rho Ophiuchi or Cygnus) moving behind the operating telescopes of the OMC helped me give that only human dimension to the movie. The use of an astro-modified camera also enabled me to almost get the full range of colors a DSLR can pick up on single frames from nebulae.

I already traveled to La Palma island in November 2017 but I really wanted to shoot there again for several reasons. First I really wanted to get more shots of the core region that would be less spoiled by light pollution than the ones I recently took on Tenerife. Secondly I desperately wanted to meet the extremely talented photographer Alyn Wallace (check him out: alynwallacephotography.com) and do a collaboration with him on the island. Thirdly I am still on my way of perfecting the novel art of deep-sky time-lapse and I wanted to reshoot some sequences that didn’t give satisfying results in the past. Finally I wanted to personally experience the Spring vibe of the island when all the plants are blooming and give that sweet smell to the air. I am absolutely thrilled to have met all my expectations (and more!), and I really believe the results look stunning!

Everything was recorded with the Canon 6D Baader modified, the Sony a7s, the Sony a7rII and a variety of bright lenses ranging from 14mm to 300mm. I used the Lonely Speck Pure Night and Matt Aust Light pollution filters to reduce light pollution and increase details, and also the Vixen Polarie to track the stars and get cleaner shots. Syrp Genie 3 axis system was used for motion control. All post production was made in Lr with the special timelapse plus plugin, Sequence for mac, TLDF, and final production was made in FCPX. I hope you like the movie as much as I liked shooting and processing it and I thank everyone of you for your support. All content is of course copyrighted AMP&F (except sountrack licensed through Envato Market), and no footage can be used in any way without the author’s permission. Please contact me for media and purchase inquiry. Please share and comment if you liked the video and follow me for more videos like this one! More at adphotography-online.com.”

Racial Dots


Researchers at the University of Virginia used the 2016 census to create a racial dot map of the United States. Every dot represents a citizen colour coded by ethnicity. Blue dots for white people, green for black, orange for Hispanic, red for Asian, brown for Native Americans and other ethnic groups. Racial segregation is immediately apparent.

This is Chicago, below is Los Angeles, followed by Washington DC

Libby Anne at https://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2018/12/the-most-sobering-thing-about-the-racial-dot-map.html?fbclid=IwAR2jRC4rVJV4I7gbP79GJcneLnzaf3etHjfi0O-sRGSyzlOp2fChoteLBPc&utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral started looking at the bigger picture, focusing on predominantly white rural areas. She noticed peculiar patterns of clustered green dots representing black citizens in rural white America.

She took to Google Maps which explained green dot anomaly as the Clinton Correctional Facility in Clinton County, New York. A maximum security prison housing almost 3,000 adult males.

Here’s another one –

The Houtzdale Corrections Facility in Pennsylvania, opened in 1996 to house 1,597 inmates, now stuffed with 2,800 predominantly black green dot prisoners.

Libby Anne didn’t start with a list of correctional facilities. She looked at anomalies in the racial dot map and used Google Maps to understand what she was seeing. The pattern repeated itself over and over again all across America. In the words of Libby Anne –

“When activists talk about the criminalization of the African American male and the need for prison reform, this is what they’re talking about – an imprisoned population so racially unbalanced that you can find the locations of correctional facilities on a map that shows only demography and nothing else”

Ponder What Matters


As 2019 draws to a depressing conclusion, forget Trump, divisive partisan media jibber-jabber and political fear mongering. Put aside religious, racial, political and sexual bias – ponder what matters. Every last one of us has a choice – to open our hearts and minds, or languish in perpetual darkness of rigidity.

Playing For Change embodies the essence of equality through the power of music. If you’re unfamiliar with Playing For Change, get on board.

Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music, born from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. – https://playingforchange.com/

Ornamentals


This afternoon work asked me to manage the funeral of a middle aged man with Downs Syndrome. Funerals are tricky, all I knew going in – the church was Catholic. Catholic services take time, I was prepared for anything from open casket processional to body of Christ sacrament. Thankfully all we had to do was brew coffee, set-up food and assure a rather uppity priest we wouldn’t let heat escape through open doors. We took care of our end, then waited for guests to arrive from services in the main church.

The deceased struck me as a remarkable man. He represented Canada at the Special Olympics in Nagano for skiing. His artwork was exquisite, poignant watercolours brightened a rather dreary church hall. I felt at peace, remarkably contented with the life of a man I didn’t know.

As we waited for services to end two church employees who had been acting as ushers entered the hall looking for coffee. No problem, have a coffee, are you hungry? We exchanged pleasantries, fed and watered both gentleman. For reasons I can’t fully explain but instantly recognize, hospitality is an elixir which erodes propriety, replacing it with often unwelcome familiarity. After his third curried chicken tea sandwich one of them said, “there are a lot of retards here, can I say retard?” He looked annoyed when I told him “retard” was insensitive.

He poured another cup of coffee, stuffed another sandwich in his mouth and blurted – “What about ornamentals, can I say that?” Excuse me? Ornamentals? He chuckled, “ornamentals, you know, the Chinese”. WTF Catholic church dude! No I don’t know! “You must have to deal with a lot of greedy Chinese, can’t call them Orientals so I call them ornamentals” he smirked, ever so pleased with himself. Enough Catholic dude!

Retards, ornamentals? I don’t care how old, white or Catholic you are – get out of my sight before shit hits the fan! Fortunately the dearly departed watercolours reminded me how perfect an imperfect world can be.

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Thought-Provoking Words


Filosofa's Word

Until just a couple of weeks ago, I had not, that I can recall, heard of Umair Haque.  Then, our friend David sent me a piece by him that I found to be thoughtful and thought-provoking, so I did a bit of research on the man.  Umair is a London-based consultant, and author of at least three books1.  I read several articles by him, in addition to the one David sent, until Medium, where he publishes, told me I had reached my limit of free articles.  While I do not necessarily agree with all he says … after much pondering, I mostly agree.  I have highlighted in red the parts that really made me sit up and take note.  Please read the following and give it some thought.  I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.


Umair-Haque Umair Haque

Here’s a tiny observation. Forgive me. You might not like it.

I’ve…

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Exploding Kittens


Over the years card/board games have evolved into an integral part of Christmas Day. Without fail a new game appears under the tree, we know enough to realize game play is the only way to bypass convoluted rules. Never let it be said initial impression has any bearing on entertainment value. With that in mind we embraced a round of Exploding Kittens. Oh my, suffice to say it was painful. So bad each of us hoped an exploding kitten would end the misery.

See the source image

Time to dust off Werewolf – players draw one card, that’s your character. Every character has specific powers to switch other player’s cards or draw a new card during an opening round dictated by a game app instructing all players to close their eyes, followed by instructions for specific characters to open their eyes and switch character cards etc. Everyone opens their eyes and you have 5 minutes to figure out who the Werewolf is. Sound lame? It isn’t! It takes nerves of steel to lie convincingly to people who know you well – so much fun!

See the source image

It wouldn’t be Christmas at my house without card games. That said, Exploding Kittens is one game destined to gather dust for all eternity. Happy holidays from Notes.