Top: World's first 360-degree Panorama of Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia, Feb 24/2009, from 12 separate photos...

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Ushguli, July 2007

Scenes and reflections in windows and shades.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Ushguli, July 2007
Several more just-scanned images from my July trip to the incomparable end of the road in Svaneti.

Svaneti, July 2007

This one too is a brand new scan - I just finished assembling it from 2 frames a few minutes ago. I may post more photos later, but at least you have this one for today.

On my July visit to Ushguli I was able to walk up the pass which gives one views of Ushba and Shkhara and one side, with Ushguli far below and even K'ala village off in the distance, and the Lentekhi region of Svaneti on the other.

I left at about 6 a.m. with little planning - meaning no breakfast eaten or taken, foolishly. Just some water. It was a good 4.5-hour slog, up to the Tamara fortress first, then past it. One section had plants up to chest height, with rather uneven ground hidden underneath them - not easy walking. That past, all I had to contend with was weakness from the altitude and lack of food since last night's supper! Press on, step by step, marvelling at the view. I even had my tripod along for making a 360-degree panorama from the pass, the second such I've made and the first using a tripod.

This was the hardest walk I've done in Svaneti due to feeling so weak, but the landscapes drove me on. I made the panorama - 15 shots this time instead of a handheld 17 - and descended. And on my way down I found this magnificent little spring-fed pond, nicely reflecting Shkhara! Bonus, and the water was drinkable as well.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Svaneti, August 2007

We've jumped ahead for a moment, missing July's just-scanned 6 rolls of film to this image from 7 rolls in progress. I stitched it together from 2 side by side vertical shots. It's of Mt Ushba again, but 90 degrees from the recent angles we've seen: from here, the 2 peaks are one in front of the other. It overlooks Becho valley and village rather powerfully.

This is all you get for today, but I chose it hot off the press because it's enough.

the W()RD: Ginger Ice Cream

A recipe. From Tbilisi, where it's 34 C in the shade now.

1. For those who have powdered or dried ginger, throw it away and say to yourself, "Never again."
2. Take your vanilla ice cream out of the freezer and soften it up on the counter until you can stir it with some difficulty with a big spoon. Spoon it into a bowl.
3. Grate some fresh ginger root in a cheese grater, either on fine or, failing that, coarse setting.
4. Mix about 1 Tbsp of the grated ginger into each 1/2 litre of ice cream, or to taste. ("To taste" is the fun part.)
5. Re-spoon the ice cream back into its container. Re-freeze it, stirring occasionally to prevent ice crystals from forming. That's it, all done. Spicy-hot and cold at the same time! Other variations: Chinese 5-spice powder, cinnamon-allspice-nutmeg, any of the "sweet" curry ingredients such as cardamom or cloves - these should all be freshly ground rather than whole or bought as powders.
Stencil Graffiti I, Tbilisi, Summer 2007

Earlier this year, on my walks around Tbilisi I began noticing a new form of graffiti on city walls. This isn't the ugly spray-painting of people's names which has marred particularly the Vake district; nor is it the sophisticated polychrome work one is usd to seeing in major American cities. Rather, it is usually one-colour images sprayed on through a stencil of some kind. Some of them are quite large, over a metre high or wide, others smaller. One wall off Melikishvili St has a whole cluster of them. I decided to record the works using my cellphone camera. They are a sign of things changing in Tbilisi, along with: new roads; the central food market's current renovation (rather hard for the 1000 or more vendors and a shock to people like me who loved shopping there); the renovation of another building where anything could be brought for repair by people in small kiosks (they're out in the cold, or the heat, again); the impending removal of the Dry Bridge open-air nostalgia and art market; and so on. The city is gradually becoming more European or western, for good or otherwise.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

the W()RD: Good News - and a Link

Dear viewers,
At last, the internet has arrived on my computer again! (Or the machine has been reconected to the internet, or whatever.) My room's renovation at the guesthouse was finished faster than I had thought it would be; I moved rooms on Monday; yesterday I determined from 2 computer shops that a cable extension from the guesthouse's office modem was needed, not another modem; today the "Cable Guy" came in, followed by his buddy the "Internet Guy" when despite all physical connections the internet failed to materialise; and mid-afternoon everything was up and running. Deep breath of gratitude. No more zipping up and emailing to myself sets of blog photos, to download them on the office computer and blog from there!

And here's a nostalgic Georgia photographic link from the 1980s, sent to me by a new friend and recent Svan discoverer thanks to yours truly:

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Another Fractal Day...

The Dragon Curve and TwinDragon

Take a long thin ribbon of paper and fold it in half, making it half as long. Keep on doing this in the same direction until it's too thick to fold. Then open it out and make every fold 90 degrees. The resulting shape is called the Dragon Curve for its form (see the bottom 3 images). It's a simple fractal with every section identical except for scale. But it's also a tile, meaning that copies of it can be scattered across the space of its dimension with no overlaps or spaces in between. Moreover, it can tile in 2 ways: in a pinwheel of 4, or in 2 laid "nose to tail". This latter shape is then called the TwinDragon, a tile in its own right (see the top 4 images). Made in CorelDraw, jazzed up in PhotoShop.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Graphics Day 2.

Anyone remember the Commodore 64? 64 *kb* of RAM, that is!!! Whoa! My family had one, and for my 18th birthday - in early 1985 - my sister and her husband gave me a graphics programme for it, called Doodle!.

The 64's screen gave 320 by 200 pixels; there were 16 colours TOTAL to chose from. In spite of such limitations, Doodle! proved addictive. I once asked a friend to have his mathematician father calculate for me: what would be the total number of all possible configurations of only black and white pixels for this screen? The answer was relatively simple: Number of colours (2 in this case) raised to the power of the number of available pixels (200 x 320 = 64000). So, 2^64000 or, conveniently, 10^19264, a number which I have never forgotten. Considering that the estimated number of atoms in the universe is only 10^100 or so, this is an *unimaginably* vaster number than THAT.

Here are some of my Doodle! pieces from the late 1980s. All were printed on an early ribbon printer, then copied and actually screen printed (I was a screen printer at the end of the 1980s too). My fascination with science fiction is evident. The top picture (which features on the blog's right-hand column, a bit lower bit down) is the face of a rather frustrated alien upon finding himself on such a perplexing planet as ours.

the W()RD: One day at a time

So I had about 35 MB of files for the blog in my USB stick to upload to my gmail account at an interent cafe in Tbilisi, after which I could then go home to the somewhat ancient guesthouse computer, download them from gmail to it, and then blog away. (That computer has USB ports, but they don't recognise anything put into them.)
1.5 hours of upload time later, I gave up, unsuccessful, and went home. I'll try again from a faster cafe today. There's lots to post; just gotta cope with these somewhat circuitous methods, at least until my computer is hooked into the guesthouse internet, which will happen after my room has been renovated and I've moved into it! One day at a time, indeed.