The weather has been lovely. It’s the perfect temperature, though the humidity has given my ukulele a much more pronounced buzz on the C string. Spring officially begins when I can take the mittens out of my car and drive with the windows down, my only concern being that my music isn’t too embarrassing, and I don’t get a sudden burst of I BE ON THE HOTLINE LIKE ERRRRDAY when stopped at a red light.
I’m still physically recovering from last weekend. I got back to Darren’s late after working a very intense 14 hours, and since it’s been so long since we last saw each other, that was just the beginning of the night. Then we woke up early to see Chris. On the way home, I had to pull over at a comfort station to grab a few winks in my car, but I was too uncomfortably exhausted to fall asleep, and ended up driving home bug-eyed. I’m sure this is why my colitis is acting up.
Probably not good that I’ve been living such a hedonistic lifestyle. I stay up far too late, drink too much caffeine, and indulge in too many sweets close to bedtime. I can’t tell if I’ve stopped caring, or if I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it.
I’ve been going through long stretches without contact from the outside world. It’s forced me to face my own isolation, yet I don’t feel lonely. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s cause I tend to get obsessed with my small hobbies, and it distracts me enough. I worry that I’ve become a little too complacent in this introversion. It makes me wonder how long I can keep going down this path, and whether I even want to be on it or not.
I’ve been feeling nostalgic about Toronto ever since I drove down for John’s wedding. The other day I stepped outside and the spring air brought me back to Camp Creative when I used to live there, between semesters in grade 5–7. At some point this year I hope to drive home again and take pictures of those old schools where I spent the days making gimp bracelets and lip-syncing as Javert in Les Miserables.
Places are only as good as the people though, and I’m sure I miss Toronto for John and Darren as much as those old childhood memories, when life was so simple that the fact that it was disgustingly hot never entered my mind, even though I was outside for most of the day.
Scottish faces in Scottish places. This was literally the size of half the cafe. Off-camera is Mike working his magic to convince these two baristas to let us film inside.
I miss Mike and rainy London nights too. I want to be part of a creative team again, working towards a common vision, with someone who can compliment my weaknesses with their strengths. It’s been too long since I had someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to give me honest criticism and inspire me to improve. Mike does all those things, and I’ve yet to find someone like that here in Ottawa.
Night shopping in downtown Chartres.
I miss France, and Misun and Frédéric, and how they could truly appreciate who I am. I love the culture in that country, and the fact that you can buy a fresh baguette by walking a minute from anywhere. And I’m far from being finished with Paris; there was so much I had left to explore, so many things I’d yet to do. I want to go back as the right person, not as a person trying to escape my thoughts and memories.
Gateway in Kowloon Walled City.
Hong Kong I miss most of all, and my family there. I want nothing more than to walk those streets with Uncle Joe or Uncle Eddie. Sometimes, I sit by my back door with the window open and just listen to cars passing by in the darkness, pretending it’s the din of those highways and the diesel of the trucks. Nothing ever comes close though, and it only leaves me feeling like all these places are so far away.
I purchased a half-metre Glidetrack Hybrid to get some slow dolly shots but with a much, much more portable system. Smooth horizontal camera movements can add a bit of depth to any footage, though the effect can’t be used too often.
So I’ve been practicing with this new piece of equipment for the last month, looking for people to film, and luckily Tiana is always willing to volunteer with one of her offspring. You can see the Glidetrack shots at 12 seconds (the zoom in) and 48 seconds (the horizontal track).
It’s an extremely challenging piece of equipment to use, certainly not something conducive to candid shooting. Things like exposure, focus, and composition change as you’re moving the camera from one end of the rail to the other, and single mistake in any one of those aspects will ruin a shot, so all those things generally need to be carefully planned. On top of that, simply moving the camera smoothly takes a lot of practice, as there’s a certain amount of friction in the bearings, and you need to balance that with the movement speed you’re looking for. At only half a metre (the shortest length you can purchase), the shots all tend to be slow and lingering so you don’t run out of rail.
The percentage of keepers isn’t great (I find it takes me about three takes to get it right), but when it works, the effect is very nice.