Sunday, April 20, 2014

How I Choose Locations (The Fun Creepy Easter Bunny Edition)

Happy Easter!

Although I am in serious mode here for this one, I wanted to lighten this up with the funny creepy Easter bunny. A little distraction which I’ll explain at end on this one.
I mentioned last time that I wanted to dedicate a blog entry to how I go about choosing which locations or hikes I do. I know I have talked about parts of this in the past, but I thought I would go over it again here. Let me start this off with a story.

Years ago, not too long after the blog really started, I got a reader who enjoyed what I was doing and kept asking me when I would put up a future film location I had talked with him about. It was one that I eventually intended to do since I had pictures and video, but it was not one that I was super excited about. Why was I not too excited about it? Well, it is one of those that you know you are in the right area, but there is nothing too spectacular about it.

When I eventually did get it up he was a lot more excited about than I was. He then “challenged” me to find the location of one crucial scene at the end of a movie. I eventually watched the movie ending to see why he wanted me to do it. The scene was a good exciting one, but there was a problem. First, there were a lot of quick edits. However, the real problem was, after looking into where it was filmed, that all that appears to remain is some empty fields. So, basically, the guy wanted me to drive a few hundred miles to take pictures and video of some open fields.

That’s not really the way I work, nor do I just go somewhere for the sake of going somewhere. There are certain things I look for when I decide I am going to some location. Let me mention a few of them.

At the very top of the blog I say, “explore artwork done in nature.” I’ve always meant that to be somewhat ambiguous. The obvious thing one would think is I am referring to human created films done outdoors. That’s partly true, but the bigger picture is I am talking about the beauty of nature itself. The handiwork that has gone into making the rocks, rainbows, mountains, rivers, clouds, valleys, etc. as powerful and beautiful to behold.

So, that is a major part of the decision in trying to figure out what I want to do. Is something I visit going to give me that sense of “WOW!” Some places I have visited have done that more than others for me. One of the really powerful things is being on top of a mountain looking down for miles and miles around. The majesty or transcendence I have encountered climbing certain mountains is not something that I think can be expressed in videos or pictures. While I attempt to try doing that on here I know I can never capture that 1st person perspective unless one experiences it him/herself.

When it comes to film locations its not enough for me to go to just anywhere a film was made. There still has to be some “wow” factor as far as what scenery was used. For me it’s not really about nostalgia, going to where some actor has been, or even posting “then and now” pictures. Those are not major influences on how I have gone about doing things on here. Those aspects are on here, but its not really what inspires me.
The second part of what I think about in trying to decide which locations to show on here is how unique the location is. Is it something out of the ordinary? Normally, I don’t like to show places that have tons of people around. Why? Because in that case the location is pretty well known. Which means that there are probably tons of pictures and video on all the social media sites out there. Anybody can do that. I try to avoid places I just drive to, get out of the car, point and click. The most rewarding places I have been to are the ones that are much more remote that takes some work to get to. Usually, that is by foot as well.

The third issue I am thinking about, especially when talking about film locations, but it also applies to history sites, is how important the scene was in the movie. Obviously, if a major action scene took place that will probably capture my attention more than just a scene of dialogue. For example, a western movie gunfight spot is usually interesting to me, while a love scene done under a tree not so. Likewise with history, if the spot is of historical significance fine, but if it is just a case of some historical person walked down this road everyday I’ll pass.

Of course, if the movie is important to me then the more I care. In the past, I have had people wanting me to do more for a couple of movies and, as much as I hate to say it, I did not share the enthusiasm they did for the movie. There are a lot of transition scenes in movies I tend not to show on here because of this. I will say that there are some movies that I don’t think are really that great, but there might be one scene in it that was filmed in a really cool way that cause me to search it out.

So, those are the three big criteria I am thinking about when I decide to both visit a location and what I post on here. I’ve been to some places that I just didn’t think were worth posting about. Last weekend I revisited the Baden-Powell Mt. hike which I like to do just as a elevation training hike. I think I have shown the mountain from the distance and a hike at the base of it, but never that hike itself. It just is not that impressive to me to show on here.
Since it is Easter and lots of kids will be looking for those eggs today, I thought I would throw out one other thing that has always interested me about what I have done on here. Many times I have had an image in my head from some movie or a picture of some place, yet I did not know exactly where it was at. I could be at home thinking about it, then I could be out on the field looking for it. I can’t figure out how this could be. Then at the right moment something happens and there is an epiphany. “I’m in the right spot! Oh wow! I’ve just gained an insight about the universe!” More could be said about that, but I'll leave that one for now.

About the Easter Bunny story, I do see rabbits a lot where I live. It’s not too uncommon, but a white one is a different story. I came home from an evening walk about a week ago. I saw this white rabbit, but at the time I thought it was some toy on my yard some kid left behind. Then I saw it eating grass about 20 feet away from me. I wanted to get a picture of it so I went inside my place and got a point and click camera. Unfortunately, I don’t use this camera very much at night so I was fumbling around with the controls trying to figure out how to turn on the flash. Then, the next thing I knew is I nearly jumped as the little creature was at my feet. It proceeded to run around me a bunch of times. At this point, I was pretty sure it was someone’s pet since it didn‘t appear to be that afraid of me by getting this close. I wanted to pet it since it was attempting to be friendly, but decided against it for possibly health issues. I did give it some small carrots I had which it did eat, but I was told after that might not have been the best thing for it…oh well, if it was good enough for Bugs Bunny…it did eat them all.

Afterwards I was looking at the pictures and they kind of creeped me out a bit. You know, white rabbits like that are pretty darn creepy. The fires of hell were in those eyes! So, I had to rewatch some of my favorite rabbit scenes that night:

Monty Python Holy Grail Rabbit Scene:

The ultra weird David Lynch Rabbits:

Of course, there is always an article like this every year: