Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Europe’s Grand Canyon

The Gorges du Verdon is the largest canyon in Europe and about an hour north of where we are staying. We visited on Saturday to see the impressive sights, as well as experience some of the craziest roads I’ve ever driven. The canyon itself is up to 2300ft deep, with many overlooks (and roadside edges) that drop straight down. The roads are thin and super curvey with many switchbacks, even more so the roads needed to get to the area. They were made tougher by the too-large Ford I was driving and the crazy locals that would fly by in the other direction within inches, but the roads would truly be a blast in a MINI.

We stopped very late for a meal in the cute town of Aiguines near the top end of the gorge, then continued down past the Saint Croix lake and up to Moustiers Sainte-Marie, a small town on the side of a cliff. The town’s geography is incredible, with chapel on the peak, cliffs looming over all the small shops and cafes, and a natural spring flowing through the center to a large waterfall below.

Midwest Meat

Weissman-imported from Nebraska.

Multi-Angle Video in iMovie

On Friday I shot video of my friend’s band, Cheap Leather, performing in Cambridge. My Canon T2i was fixed on a monopod shooting the overview and recording with my handmade binaural mic which hasn’t been used since college. I simultaneously used my Olympus E-P1 with Voigtlander 50mm f 1.5 lens to shoot close ups. Here’s the first of three songs I recorded:

Now in my old days of using Final Cut (2 and 3!), this would be relatively simple, I would just place each camera’s video on a track, roll to sync up the audio, then slice away parts of the video on the top track to show the video of the second track. But I only have iMovie now, and although iMovie ’09 is very capable, it only supports one video track. It took me a couple hours of playing around and digging through forums to figure it out.

Add the main overview angle track to your project. In Preferences, check Show Advanced Tools. Then, you can select the portions of the second angle from its video in the Event browser, and drag them over the video in the project. When you drop it, you’ll be presented with a menu. Select Cutaway. This adds that clip of the second layer literally on top of the original video track in your project–yes, a second video track, but more like a chat bubble. You can then zoom in and carefully drag it while listening to align the audio. Yes, that means you must align each clip you cutaway to, certainly not as easy as Final Cut, but at least it is all possible with iMovie.

In this case the audio was painfully loud and overloaded the nice binaural microphone on the Canon, but the nice thing about shooting with two cameras means there’s a backup. The E-P1 doesn’t quite have the fidelity and separation, but it does have spectacular auto gain control and can handle extremely loud situations. So I had to separate its audio and add it underneath the muted main Canon track. Also, this first song I definitely did not concentrate long enough on each person, moved around too much, and therefore I did not have as much usable second angle as I expected. Hopefully I improved with the next two songs…watch my YouTube channel soon if you want to see.

New Orleans Photo Gallery

My photos of our fantasy football drafting trip to New Orleans have been posted in the gallery.

Flatbread Pizza Co in Davis

Last night we finally went to the new Flatbread Pizza Company in Davis Square. It took over the divey Sacco’s Bowl Haven but with a bit of brilliance, left the ten lanes of candlestick bowling untouched. I didn’t get a chance to bowl, but it certainly made a much more interesting backdrop to the bar than your typical wall of TVs.

I was here for the pizza. We have probably hundreds of pizza places within a few miles, but time and again I’m not impressed. Most are greek style take-out, the italian ones always seem to miss the mark, and in the end I keep on trying new places in search of perfection. Upon entering the door, I was hit with the strong tomato sauce aroma that you might find in only the best italian or pizza restaurants. Turning the corner, there are two giant clay pizza ovens, and wood stacked everywhere. That wood was burning underneath those ovens, as well as a giant cauldron cooking up fresh tomato sauce. I don’t think I’ve seen that before.

We didn’t have to wait long for a seat at what must be the longest bar in the area, and greeted by a familiar ex-Redbones bartender who just added to our already positive experience when she recognized us. I was then quickly impressed with the beer selection, which is not to say extensive, but more choicefully picked; plenty of local and national craft beers and a cheap Gansett as well. In fact I believe it’s the only place I’ve seen Watch City on tap other than the brewery; the Red Ale was spectacular.

We decided to try as much as possible and gorged on three small pizzas. I’ll always order a plain cheese (“Jay’s Heart”), and we also went for a Homemade Sausage, and the Carne special which included homemade meatballs, peppers and onions. I was most disappointed with the sausage, I could not even taste the meat, and we forgot to order it without mushrooms which it was smothered with. Apparently it reads well though, because not only did it fool us, but was the most common pizza we noticed served. Every week they have a veggie and carne special, and ours was good, although again I could not really taste the thinly sliced meatballs; the fresh peppers and onions reminded me of my favorite greek pizza flavor but on a much much better crust.

The Jay’s Heart plain cheese is what impressed me the most. Usually gourmet pizza places can’t do that right at all. It must be their made-in-house sauce and of course the excellent crust, but I think I can say this might just be the best plain pizza this side of the North End. I can’t wait to go back and order a large. We were full of great pizza and beer, but couldn’t resist ordering the awesome brownie sundae, warmed in the pizza oven and served with ice cream and maple whipped cream.

The restaurant just fits with the Davis Square vibe. Gourmet, all-natural food, craft beer, retro bowling. I just hope its tucked-back location keeps it from being discovered by the college kids when they return next week.

Posted from Medford, Massachusetts, United States.

Old Reflections

A mirror from the 1700’s at Tijauges in New Orleans, and an aweseome bartender to go with it.

Posted from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.