Friday, March 17, 2017

Top Gear Episode (Season 24, Episode 2): Supercars for all Seasons

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A kindred spirit of the blog, The Stig, has mysteriously communicated that a segment of this weeks episode of the BBC show Top Gear will be of interest to my readers. The Supercars for all Seasons episode has something called the "Four Seasons Challenge" which starts out in Las Vegas goes through Death Valley to the High Sierra to Mammoth Mountain. Part of the challenge ends up at Bogart Curve on Whitney Portal Road as seen below:
The episode has already aired in the U.K. and should be airing this Sunday night on BBC America. However, check your local listings to find out dates and times.

I'll just say The Great Silence Blog had a tiny little influence on some of the ideas in this episode. Not whole lot, but it was there. While watching the episode I was amazed at how they used some of the concept ideas that I knew of before they filmed it and how the final product came out. It was really well done. There is this point where they travel by Owens Lake, which really isn't a lake anymore, but the reflections and the scenery make it very powerful! So be sure to check it out.

A few of my related blog entries on some of the spots used in the episode:

Bogart Curve.

Mammoth Mountain

As far as this blog is concerned. I've been a bit lazy in the past few months. I should have a minor project up in a few weeks. The big project that I meant to have up by the end of last year then delayed is...still delayed. I haven't forgotten about it, but need more time on that one.

It is nice to know the the drought is over in the High Sierra at this time. Lots of ice this time around. This is good. I'm excited for this season!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

I thought since I've been hearing Gene Autry sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer just about everyday since mid-November on the local radio stations it was time to put up a video dedicated to him. I'm not a hard core Gene Autry fan, but do own a bunch of his movies on dvd and remember him as the Angel's baseball owner when I was a kid. However, my family always had great respect for him and the goodness he portrayed on and off screen. I mentioned the Gene Autry family story in the video and got out the paperwork I was talking about while I was editing the video to make sure I still had it. As I note in the video this was done about two hours after the hike to the Lon Chaney Cabin video I showed on Halloween. I thought I had time for it on the way home so off I went.

It wasn't that easy. I mentioned in that blog that I had to wait for roadwork on Whitney Portal Road. That was one thing, but what I didn't mention is the amount of people in the Alabama Hills.There were many travel trailers in key spots I wanted to video at. I intended to have at least two videos possibly three for today, but because people were parked in the spots I needed to video at I just gave up. Keep in mind what I had faced at the Lon Chaney Cabin if you read that blog. I wanted to slam my head into the ground since I had put some mental preparation time into what I intended to video. Let's just be grateful that I was able to get this video done and leave it at that.

Which leads to this video. Even though I mentally prepared for this one I did make some mistakes in it that I had to do some major editing to make it work. I typically do a bunch of "takes" on all my videos. Then I do the editing of the clips, cut stuff out, add the movie video to it, add music, etc. Some of the clips are out of order in the way I thought I was going to present it when I was there making it. For me to watch it is slightly strange because I say something in the middle of it that I intended as the intro, but to make it work with the movie clip I had to present it as you see. It is not something you would probably know unless I told you, but if you get the idea the video has some repetitive awkward moments then maybe now you understand why.

Have a great day and enjoy the new year with family and friends. I do intend to put together a video in the next month or so that I have put off that will take a lot of work to do. I had hoped to have it for today or the new year, but I wanted to enjoy the holidays and not be in video obsession mode for this one I intend to do. So, I will see you when that one is completed.

The old blog on the Gene Autry Mule Train Waterhole

The music from used in the video is called "Fireflies and Stardust".

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Follow the Gold Leaf Trail! (Christmas Eve 2016)

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you are done with your Christmas shopping and preparations for the big day tomorrow. Take a moment and relax with this one. It has some nice magical/fantasy moments in it:

This was done on the last day for fall colors in that area because the wind that would come that day would wipe out a good portion of the leaves you see in it. The fall colors were the main reason I did that hike to Barney Lake.

I had not been to Barney Lake in about ten years. I had been on the trail a few years ago when I took some pictures in the snow there, but I didn't get to the lake. Some of my earliest blogs from 2006 show this area back then and what is beyond Barney Lake. I would have liked to have gone further, but windy conditions that were to come would have made me miserable. I achieved the main goal which was to see some of the colors and get to this lake so I was happy.
Barney Lake Fall Colors Hike #1
There was lots of gold on this trail. On this mountainside there was a river of gold flowing through it.
Barney Lake Fall Colors Hike #5
Then this was the point I thought the elves and hobbits would show up in this enchanted forest:
Barney Lake Fall Colors Hike #12
Finally I reached Barney Lake:
Barney Lake Fall Colors Hike #18

The above picture is actually looking back, and it was the furthest I went on the trail that morning.

If you would like to see other pictures I did for this hike then go here: Follow the Gold Leaf Trail! (Flickr Album)

The music from used in the video is called "Ascending the Vale"..

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

In Remembrance of Pearl Harbor (75th Anniversary)

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the day that would live in infamy. You might remember a few months ago I posted some pictures and an unlisted video of the Planes of Fame Airshow in Chino, CA. One part I left out of the video was the tribute to Pearl Harbor they did. I decided to withhold that until today. So here we go:

There is so much out there on Pearl Harbor that I think it would be foolish of me to try to say too much on here. A google search of "Pearl Harbor" or watching the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! should do the job if you are lacking in this area. There are tons of news articles out today.
The Japanese Zero fighter is one of the main aircraft in this video. One of the Zero fighters you see was actually captured by the U.S. in 1944. It is the only one in the world that stills runs on its original engine. You can see the particular zero in the Memorial Day Blog I did.
The Curtis P-40 Warhawk was the fighter that had to intercept the Zero at Pearl Harbor. It was inferior to the Zero, but a few pilots were able to shoot down some of the Zeros.
353 Japanese aircraft were involved in the attack at Pearl Harbor. Yet the the U.S. aircraft carriers they were sent to destroy were not there. A victory for the Japanese, but not the one they needed to defeat the U.S. The element of surprise was gone from now on. The sleeping giant had awoken.

Click here for the unlisted video of the airshow.

Friday, November 25, 2016

North Lake

(GPS: N37° 13.870 W118° 36.770)

Happy Black Friday! Actually, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be happy or wish that on anyone else on this day. I pretty much stay home on Black Friday. So, wish you well if you are one of those that braves the lines. Not my thing, but if it were a long distance hike...

From Sabrina Lake I drove back to the turnoff to North Lake. It is a dirt road that goes to the lake. Since I'm a little different to say the least, I decided to hike in instead of driving to it. I was just in the mood to explore the area and not drive back and forth. So after about twenty minutes of up hill and curves I encountered the lake:

It was very quiet. Much like Lake Sabrina, there were a few fishermen around the lake. There were a few people taking pictures around the lake. I knew this area was past prime with the fall colors before I got here. You can notice that most of the trees have lost their leaves across the lake. However, the trees on the right side of the above pictures still had some left.
So, I was happy to get this. See the tiny fisherman on the other side of the lake?

Again, like Lake Sabrina, this is another area I would like to come back to for some hiking in the canyon.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lake Sabrina

(GPS: N37° 12.720 W118° 36.680)

I want to wish my fellow Americans a Happy Thanksgiving! If you are somewhere else then I wish you a great day as well. 

I'm going to keep things simple today. This is an area that I haven't spent much time at. About a twenty minute drive outside of Bishop, CA gets one to a couple of different areas in the High Sierra. One of these is Lake Sabrina:
I was there during the morning hours, and the sun had not quite cleared the canyon.
I zoomed across the lake for this shot. There were some fall colors there.

It's been a while since i watched Star Trek: Insurrection, but this lake was in that movie (as well as Convict Lake which is about a thirty minute drive away). In any case, I hope to return here in the future to hike some of the trails here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tankland! (Veteran's, Armistice, Remembrance Day)

Happy Veteran's Day! Armistice Day! Remembrance Day!

A few months ago I was at Tankland (Aka The American Military Museum) in El Monte, CA. It is a big lot of military vehicles with the emphasis on the American tanks. It was really fun to see some of these machines in person.
Two Sherman tanks.
M5 Stuart.
 M47 Patton Tank from the side.
M47 Patton Tank from the front.

Go here for more Tankland pictures I took on Flickr.

I took video too. Sometime in the future I will edit a video of this place as well. I'll link it here at that time.

I just wanted to acknowledge the Vets of the U.S. and other allied countries today. Bless you! Thanks for keeping me safe.

Recently, certain American football players have made the news in not acknowledging the American National Anthem while it is played before their games. They have every legal right to do that, but I do not believe they have the moral right to do this. Whatever past sins the U.S. has been apart of, those players have not made the sacrifices that our veterans have made. Many of which are minorities. I used to enjoy watching NFL games, but I refuse to watch anymore until those players apologize. My sacrifice is not the same as landing on Normandy, but I will not spit in the face or on the graves of those who have given me my freedoms.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Survival of the Fittest

I wanted to upload this video I took a few months ago. I thought it was kind of interesting. I was not sure who I was rooting for while I was watching it take place:

What I thought was “fun” about this was how prey used its environment to its advantage. Normally a predator like this would completely overwhelm the prey. However, due to the ‘smartness” of the prey it was able to do what it did. I had one of those “Bruce Lee” moments while observing nature in action. A powerful opponent can be stopped if you can find a way to neutralize its strengths.

A few thoughts on the election (really about the media):

I did want to make a few comments about yesterday’s U.S. election. As I have said in the past, I really don’t like it when entertainers or bloggers I follow that specialize in something that has nothing to do with politics feel the need to go partisan. There is a guy with a nature blog that does this to a predictable level during every election cycle that drives me nuts. So, I hesitate to do too much of this on my own blog for the same reason since this is not a political blog. However, one of the issues that comes up from time to time on here is the sources of our beliefs. What good reasons to we have to believe something?

What bothered me about this election was not the candidates involved. It was the way the media handled it. Imo, they were not even trying. Or, from a different perspective, they were trying way too hard. I would log into my e-mail everyday and before I would do that this past year I was getting “hit piece” after “hit piece” on one candidate. There was a blog earlier this year that I mentioned my frustration with the media on this issue.

I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories, but one day I was on the Reddit conspiracy message board. It was chilling to see that they had come to the same conclusion I had come to. There was one message that showed how all the news stories over a few days to a week were so anti-Trump to the point of absurdity. It actually shocked me that I’m in line with a conspiracy site. That’s aliens and UFO territory there, right?

The expectation is that the media is reporting and representing the issues the public cares about proportionally to the views of the public. The media should not be trying to create reality or influence the public this way. That is what Joseph Goebbels style Nazi propaganda did. I wonder if members of the media truly thought the way they presented the election was fair, or are they really that biased and blind? As it is, it came across like they were bought off by someone. That is what I get off of popular sites like Yahoo news where someone is just paid off by some group to promote their views.

The notion of a “fact checker” is always an interesting idea to me. Who “fact checks” the fact checkers? Especially when they have different values, assumptions, and agendas.

I need to add that Wikileaks exposed a lot of this too. CNN was shown to be colluding with the Clinton campaign. Preparing questions to Clinton before the debates, asking what questions should be asked to other candidates, asking about what they should be publishing, etc.

In any case, if there is one thing that I took pleasure in, it was seeing the public give the media a dose of reality. The media was defeated big time. Something to remember as you watch or read anything from the media in the future. Which leads to the following article:

I hope the media starts to reflect a little more like this article does.

One of these days I will talk about what I call, "Playing Psychology" when you can't win someone over with facts and good reasoning. The article hints at that on a few points.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Big Pine Lakes #1 and #2

So this is a continuation of the last blog which was really dedicated to my return to the Lon Chaney Cabin. As I said, when I got to the cabin there were already people there which kind of ruined the moment of making the type of video I wanted there. So, somewhat demoralized, I just skipped the cabin and moved on for another forty-five minutes to an hour of uphill switchbacks in an elevated canyon. Finally, I discovered Lake #1:
Big Pine Lakes #1
That picture is looking back at it since I didn't like any of the views of it from the trail. I was always getting blocked by something that didn't really capture the beauty of it. I'm sure I could have gone off trail to get better pictures of it, but I wasn't in the mood to do that. The thing was I knew Lake #2 is connected with it, and just a matter of minutes of getting to that lake.
Big Pine Lakes #2
This was really the "payoff" lake as far as I was concerned. This was the personal goal of the hike that morning since I had hiked to the cabin before. I had seen pictures of Temple Crag in the background so I had always wanted to view this lake in person. I like the "hand" reaching toward the crag. :)
Big Pine Lake #2 (Glacial Tarn)
These are glacial lakes so that have that glacial tarn turquoise look to them. There are many more lakes back here, but I turned around at this point. I am inspired to go back and explore beyond this point. So in the future I hope to have more to say about this area.

The Lon Chaney Cabin (Flickr Pictures)

I did an alternative video for this hike that I am calling the "Majestic Edition".The area is beautiful, and I wanted something to reflect that. I cut out some footage, added the lake footage at the end, cut out the special effects, replaced spooky music with more uplifting music, and cut out the intro narrative. It is unlisted, and I don't expect many to view it, but it is okay to share with others if you want to. I just wanted to get away from the "horror" theme for this one.

The Return to Cienega Mirth (Majestic Edition)

The music used from is called Brittle Rille and Majestic Hills.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Cabin at 7 Cienega Mirth (Halloween 2016)

Happy Halloween!

Up until about a week ago I planned to skip doing anything for Halloween. After thinking about it I thought there is one area I would not mind doing again on here. So without further ado, here is the video for The Cabin at 7 Cienega Mirth:

I’ll be doing another blog that should be up next weekend that will run a slightly different non-Halloween edit of this video with some alternative footage. I explain why when I get to that point. However, in the meantime let me go over some of my thoughts on this video and what actually happened.

Video editing thoughts:

If you have seen the original video that I put up some years back, you might remember the weather conditions with the clouds going over the mountains making it a little extra spooky. I knew there was no way I could reproduce that atmosphere in this most recent video. That is probably the main reason I will keep the old video up along with this new one.

The old video, like a lot of my old videos, is hard for me to watch. It was good for the time I did it, but it was from an older camcorder that did not have the features my latest one has. I did a bunch of things in that video that I would consider editing mistakes today. After thinking about it over time I started to get the itch to do another video of this spot.

Originally, the idea was to video the cabin all in one take right as I reached the spot. That didn’t work out as I explain below. So, I went with the backup plan. The video came out alright. There are a few moments I would have liked to have done over, but overall I am pleased. I had more special effects ready to go, but when I did some tests on Youtube the quality wasn’t working. So, I decided to cut some of them out.

Hiking thoughts:

You know how I mentioned in the video that it can’t get worse than a zombie outbreak or the Evil Deadites showing up? Well, it did!

I parked at the backpacker’s parking lot again for this one. There is a trailhead closer to Glacier Lodge in Big Pine. The trail from the backpackers parking lot is a little more exposed, seems slightly longer, but starts out a little higher. I got there around 8:30am, noticed a bunch of cars parking, and started right away.

I had the trail all to myself. It took me about an hour to get to the cabin. Then as I was making my way with the camcorder recording I spotted two people in front of the cabin. It was slight shock to seem them since I thought I would have the place to myself. I decided to skip the cabin and go to the first two Big Pine Lakes.

On returning to the cabin I started the recording again. This time I noticed some people sitting by the stream by the cabin. Oh no! I didn’t want to have any people in this video since that would ruin the mystique of what I was trying to create. No problem, I just went with the backup plan you saw in the video.

However, before I did that I shut off the recording and went to the people there in an attempt to just be High Sierra friendly and let them know what I would be doing. Oh my goodness, these people were complete “holes”. As I approached I said “hi” and then asked in a joking way, “So, are you fishing today?”  They didn’t look back at me, but just said “Huuuuhhhhhhhhhh?!?” I asked the same question and got the same response. Then I changed it to, “Are you taking pictures?” and the same response. Sigh. I understand people wanting to be left alone in the isolated High Sierra, but these people were ultra-unfriendly. I then told them that I was going to take a short video of the cabin, but not too worry I wouldn’t be getting them in the video. The guy then completely understood me and told me they were only going to be there for five more minutes anyways. I did what I said and got out of there right as others showed up. So, I never did have the cabin to myself. No big deal, but that couple really put me in a bad mood. Zombies, Evil Deadites, or unfriendly idiots made stupid by a haunted cabin seem to be all the same for me.

Other tidbits:

When I got back to the trailhead I was still a little irritated, but felt better driving back to Big Pine and HWY 395. I still had another thing I wanted to do that is…going back to the Alabama Hills! I should be feeling great when I get there! Then as I made the turn in Lone Pine to head to those rocks, and I saw a sign that said, “Roadwork ahead! 25 minute wait!” You have to be kidding me! I thought I had escaped this. Turns out on this trip at many points on HWY 395 from just past Kraemer Junction to the June Lake Loop to Lee Vining and beyond there were twenty minute stops due to roadwork. The one place I didn’t think would face this, but they were doing something on Whitney Portal Road. There was something else that was annoying about the Alabama Hills, but I leave that for some other time.

A few links: