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Broadway: Is it Finished? (Yes, yes it is!)

Well, just when you think you’re finished with something, people remind you that you aren’t.  Yesterday, while I was choking on the seeds in some home-made bread, my picture story class attempted to watch the last draft of my essay on Stephens Lake Park.  I say that they attempted to do so because, as much as I love my hosting provider (BlueHost), I don’t have access to a streaming server, and the process of loading the minute and a half video took close to ten minutes.  Yikes.

A lot of people in my program have been posting their final videos on the hosting service Vimeo.  For a while, I didn’t understand why: the video is great, yes, but there are ads for Vimeo all over it, and the only way to watch the videos in High Definition is on their Web site–it cannot be embedded.  No one told me an account where you don’t have to deal with any of its (few) shortcomings was available for only $60 for a year!

In any event, I received some very good feedback, particularly from David Rees, Calin Ilea, Lillian Kelly, and Vivian Esparza.  While I’m fine with other people introducing textual information into their documentary presentations using “text slides”–black slides with white text–I’m usually trying to avoid it for my own work.  However, with some healthy dialogue and also a touch of arm twisting, I was convinced that the introductory sequences of the video needed to be changed.  I think that this is, finally, “it” for the Stephens Lake Park piece.

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Third Draft: Stephens Lake Park – A Green Oasis on Broadway

While I was “officially” finished with my contribution to the class’ Broadway project on Wednesday when I turned into my professor, David Rees, a disc with my “second draft” of the video, I was still not quite satisfied with it. The timing of a few things was still off.

On Thursday, I posted another version of the video, and received some more feedback from it both in person and through a comment on the post, and took those into consideration. I was also unhappy with the color of certain clips in the video, and adjusted those within Adobe Premiere. Finally, I went back to Stephens Lake Park for one more “walk around,” which was also my last opportunity to experiment with the Canon 35mm f/1.4L lens. The result is a little tighter, with better matching between audio and visual components.

I consider this a finished piece, but am still more than happy to hear comments and suggestions.

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Stephens Lake Park: A Green Oasis on Broadway

In late March, I posted a “draft” of my contribution to my Picture Story class’ project on Broadway, one of the main arteries of Columbia, Mo., which was a “think piece” about Stephens Lake Park.

This Monday, I had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Saitta, Parks Development Superintendent for the city of Columbia, and ask his thoughts about the relevance of Stephens Lake Park for the community, and the significance of the park’s location on Broadway.

I believe this to be a significant improvement upon my original idea, and I hope you’ll agree. Comments and criticism always welcome!

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Impressions of Stephens Lake Park

Introduction

Over the past couple of weeks I have been making photographs and video of Stephens Lake Park: what the place looks like, how it is connected to the city of Columbia via Broadway, and how the people of Columbia make use of the space.  It is “landscaped nature” in that is is completely man-made, but tell that to the birds who pass through, or the dogs that happily scamper through the grass.

This is a “draft” of the project.  At the very least, an idea of what it could be like.  I would like to incorporate some spoken narrative–my plans to interview someone from the Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation fell through this week.

The video was made with both the Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon 7D bodies, and the stills were made with the same cameras.

Update: On Video…

A friend of mine just e-mailed me to ask about my impressions of the video from the 5D Mk. II and the 7D, respective to one another.  I thought I would copy my thoughts to this post given the topical nature:

As far as the movies produced by the 5D II versus 7D, I would grant you that they do “feel” different, and I like having both cameras, but if I couldn’t only have one for video, specifically, I’d opt for the 7D.  I posted this draft of my project for David’s class on the Friday before Spring break, and the majority of the video is from the 7D (you can try to guess what was from the 5D–I’ll let you know if you’re right).
Movie mode is easier to access, and autofocus is more intuitive on the 7D.  The depth of field (DoF) is different because it’s a 1.6x crop as opposed to a full 24x36mm sensor, but I actually like having a little more DoF.  Sometimes, the 5D II’s DoF just seems too shallow for video (obviously, you can stop down) and that can be very distracting.
Food for thought!

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Broadway Update: Stephens Lake Take Two

Walking the dogs into the sunset

Walking the dogs into the sunset, Stephens Lake Park, Columbia, Mo. | Canon 5D Mk. II and Voigtlander 40mm f/2 Ultron lens; exposed 1/8000 sec. @ f/2, ISO 200.

On Thursday afternoon I headed back to Stephens Lake Park to continue “note taking” for an essay on the park that is right off of Broadway, yet feels almost like you’re immersed in nature in the middle of Columbia, Missouri.  I saw almost because the illusion fades when your boot gets stuck on the landscape fabric that’s underneath all of the pebbles on the side of the waterfalls…yeah, those were man-made.

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Broadway Project – Stephens Lake “Notes”

Sedges near Stephens Lake

Sedges near Stephens Lake | Canon 5D Mk. II and 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens @ 16mm; exposed 1/60 sec. @ f/9, ISO 800.

On Tuesday I made my way over to Stephens Lake Park on East Broadway and took some visual “notes” while I walked the loop along the lake a couple of times.  A lot of people were walking their dogs, others were power-walking, some jogging, and some people were just playing with their kids, teaching them to cast stones.

On review of the photos, one thing that I was astonished to find was sensor dust!  I’m so accustomed to using the 5D Mark II without any dust whatsoever!  So, I cleaned it last evening; I’ve owned the camera for fourteen months, and this was only about the fifth time that I’ve cleaned its sensor.

I’ll be going back soon, but for now, I’ve posted some of the “details,” including the most successful image (above).

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Twilight over the Gas Station

Twilight over the Gas Station

Twilight over HyVee Gas, West Broadway, Columbia, Mo. | Panasonic Lumix G1 and 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens @ 21mm; exposed 1/60 sec. @ f/5, ISO 400

This is the view that greeted me as I pulled into HyVee last evening to pick up a couple of groceries.  I thought it a fitting tribute to our picture story class’ ongoing  exploration of the street that connects so much of the city.