Sharing Experience

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a still guy. Not still as in “still waters run deep”. Not still as in “still crazy after all these years”.

But still as in my medium is still photography.

In a vlog world, I am still out here blogging for god sake.

In a way, I guess that makes me a relic of the silent movie era.

I bet you there are millions of younger people out there saying “what??? they made silent movies?”

There are a number of reasons why I choose to focus on photography as opposed to video. Still photographs freeze a moment in time and allow us to study the image, imagine the moment, and shut out the real world around it.

People who view photographs have to think. Their brains need to interact with the image … sometimes a little and sometimes a lot, in order to get what the image is trying to show.

And that provokes varied thoughts among the viewers as they come up with their own slant on what appeals and what is the meaning.

But even I understand that there are certain things an image can’t do. So, this morning when I imagined myself going to Circle B, I figured the way I wanted to share the experience was going to need to be done with video.

I ended up creating an 11 minute video that really just attempts to record my trail wanderings with you and let you draw the experience from that, without having to worry about the sweat or tiredness of a four mile hike in FL heat.

The maddening thing about video though is that file sizes tend to be huge and so are not easily shared. I can’t add the video to this blog, because the maximum upload for an individual file is 32 MB. I can’t send it by email to everyone because typically they only allow 20 or 25MB in attachments.

The video is created in 1920 x 1080 px which is Blu Ray quality and at that quality it is 1.27 GB in file size. So I shrunk it to DVD quality at 1280 x 720 px and it still came in more than 750 MB. Try emailing that to someone! then I shrunk it further to 720 x 480 px but it is still over 200 MB.

So I took the only option left to me and I have uploaded the DVD version to YouTube knowing that they will seriously bastardize the quality in order to stream it to the one or two people that might actually take the time to watch it!

So here is the link, should you have 11 minutes to wander a trail with me:

I hope you enjoy it. There are some seriously wonderful creatures waiting there for you, not to mention the old fool at the end who tells you what a lovely day he had.

So as I finished it and then uploaded it a few minutes ago, I got to thinking about this whole quality thing and how it has evolved over the years.

And by the end of the thought process, I shake my head at how laziness has become a key factor in how humans have evolved.

When I was growing up, TV was black and white, music was mono. Nobody had the ability to record anything themselves. I was mid teens when I bought my very first record … it was a 45 RPM single, Frankie Valli’s My Eyes Adored You.

I didn’t have a record player of my own, so when I wanted to listen to it, I would walk to my friend’s house and play it on his record player. It had two speakers (fancy, huh?) but it was only a mono player.

Right now, I am sure that some of you are going “what the fuck is he talking about? Mono what? Did he get that from kissing someone?”

Hang on a sec, folks … it was a single. Not me, I was out there kissing up a storm. ( think my nose just grew a few sizes on that one lol)

Anyway, the point is, our ears were fine tuned to AM radio, mono sounds, on vinyl records. How cool were we, huh?

But here is where we prior generations took the bull by the horns and innovated …. our TV’s became color. European color was better than the American color because the TVs had higher resolution And we laughed at the shows from the US not just because their humor was funny, but because the Americans settled for NTSC format and that was jokingly berated as Never The Same Color.

We could never understand why would America settle for something that wasn’t the best. I mean, they had the money and the technology. They put a man on the moon for god sake.

Music went through its own revolution with the arrival of stereo sound and while I was in college. one of my buddies bought a quadraphonic sound system. The sound was amazing. But we were still playing vinyl.

Come on, admit it. Most of you don’t even know what quadraphonic is, do you? But as great as it sounded, it didn’t catch on. Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells was released on it but the pack didn’t follow and so it died a death.

But that was ok, because stereo was getting better. We developed tape cassettes!! Woo hoo!

So now you could record your own music and even play your music in the car. Can you imagine!!! OK, the incessant hiss was there in the background but the car engine noise drowned that out anyway!

Sony invented their walkman so you could could slap on a pair of headphones, and walk the streets listening to your tapes … you didn’t even need a car. And a whole fitness generation of exercise people was born!

Meanwhile not to be outdone in the video world, technology companies introduced tapes there too. There were two competing technologies … Beta and VHS. Beta had the better quality but the porn industry wanted cheap and dirty cameras (kind of like their actors) so they pushed VHS and guess which one won!

Hey the important things is that we get to see a bit of skin; doesn’t matter how clearly we can see it, right?

So even though technology companies had twice lost their quality wars, they continued their search to improve the quality of what people were listening to and watching. So we got CDs … no background hiss and Sony adapted their walkmans.

We also got DVDs which dramatically improved the quality of what could be seen, so TVs (particularly in America) got massively upgraded. People were now demanding high def TVs. And the technology companies were thrilled.

Had they finally won? Was it a matter of third time lucky?

Well, not yet. Because thinking they had the world engaged in the search for higher quality imagery, they moved to Blu Ray and the world appeared to move with them. DVDs became yesterday and for a moment, American eyes were smiling at their high def video on high resolution screens.

But someone forgot something. I call it the Remote Control Rule.

Remote Controls were invented so lazy asses wouldn’t have to get off the sofa to change a channel. You can smile now, living in a world of hundreds of channels and therefore remote controls being as essential as churches.

But when they were invented, there was only three or four channels on the TV, so occasionally changing the channel was seen as the responsibility of the youngest person in the room.

So when the internet boom happened and TVs became monitors, they suddenly found themselves facing another choice. “Do I watch the high resolution Blu Ray of Lord of the Rings that I have on my shelf over there. Or will I just watch the low-res downloadable one from Netflix?”

Guess who’s winning that argument?

Back in the mono sound and black and white TV days, we didn’t know any better. Our eyes and ears were not fine tuned to high quality digital media.

But now, we know better. And yet we still choose the lower quality product because it means we don’t have to find the Blu Ray all the way “over there” on the shelf, take it out of its package and put it into the player.

“I mean come on, how can I do all that when my hands are full of candy and sodas? I might spill something on the carpet and then Momma would be mad. So, really I am doing this for Momma.”

Our eyes scream at the loss of focus and lower resolution gradients that we settle for. We can clearly see pixellation in the shadows.

So once again our laziness has overcome our better interests.

And that really is the point of today’s ramble. When we allow laziness to become a deciding factor in anything we do, we do ourselves a genuine disservice.

That’s what I am shaking my head. It has nothing today with the Frankie Valli sounds running around inside there at the moment.

Have a wonderful weekend!