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

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Birthday, 3/3

Now we're cooking! Again, happy birthday. Sorry I wasn't smiling in these videos (when you can see my face) - I was concentrating too hard on the filming process. Hope you enjoy them (and future clips) anyway!

Birthday, 2

Hmmm, this 34-MB file is taking rather long to upload, 100 minutes so far, a LOT more than 3x longer than the 11-MB first file did. Probably because of its size (also, it's 640 x 480 pixels in dimensions, like the first one was). Ah well, I'll just let it run its course; then I have 2 more for your happy ocasion. After that, I'll try regular posting from the numerous video clips I began shooting this May, mostly in Svaneti. This is cool!

(Later... MUCH later) Having left the file to upload and finding it still doing so some 4 hours later, I abandoned it and re-rendered it at 1/2 the pixel dimensions. (640x480 is much too large for the blogger-size viewscreen anyway.) Was there a glitch somewhere? I suspect there was; possibly bandwidth reduced to a thread. Nonetheless, trying again at this more practical size, which seems to be humming along nicely. Sorry, this tech talk may be boring for you, birthday person and other viewers, but at least it lets you in on the process leading up to successful uploads of my videos.

Birthday Greetings (you know who this is for)

Happy Birthday to you, dear G!

Hope you had a great day with family and friends.

This was supposed to be a skype video call to you, but the tech details of that proved to be a bit hard to work with - from the Canadian end, by the way, not from my end! Anyway, needing a plan B was the impetus for me to start doing what my blog has recently made possible: posting video clips as well as photos and text. Here's the first one, in honour of you, uploaded on your birthday and directed to you. More to follow - please let me know if you can't access this! (Hints: 1) Use a higher-speed internet connection. 2) Press the Play button, then press it again to pause and let the whole video download in the time it needs, then press Play again to run it.) Please view these birthday videos in order from bottom (this one) to top. (I have 1 or 2 more to post, but I want to do them separately in case something goes wrong with the 2nd one, which is larger than the others.)

All my love,


Thursday, 20 September 2007

Ushguli, July 2007

Just a short while remained to me in the village before July's trip ended. I tried to make the most of it. There's location... and lighting. One may find the former first, then - unless serendipity favours the moment - one generally must return for the latter, for the best light. So, many of my early shots in Ushguli are more like documentaries of the angle, the place to which I must go back once or more often when the atmosphere is right. I'll leave it up to the viewer to judge whether these (any of my shots in general) are finished images or merely their precursors, however.

the W()RD: Coon Poo

You saw it here first, folks. "Coon Poo" is how one might pronounce the Georgian attempt to advertise for Kung Fu lessons - the language has no f, and that g was dropped from the English version as well.

the W()RD: A blogger's dream - or is it nightmare?

Last night this scenario came to me as I slept:

Tony checks his blog and sees its visitor population go from calm (the current, not bad but also slightly dissatisfying c. 12 visitors per day) to critical to CRAZY (the counter showing roughly 100 hits per second) while he watches.

What the dream failed to show was the fallout: Does Tony then become an instant celebrity (hate the word), forced to live as a recluse? Well, moving to Ushguli as I plan to might have that "famous hermit" effect anyway. For now I'll live with the amount of blog visitors I have and be grateful for it.
Ushguli, July 2007

We're back in Ushguli from K'ala after Kvirikoba. The afternoon return walk of c. 10 km was much hotter - and dustier, thanks to all the cars making the trip as well - than the walk down had been. Enough so that by the end of it I could beat choking clouds of road dust from my clothes.

Bottom - an old church lock worthy of The DaVinci Code.

Then, church bell, followed by Mt Shkhara.

Top - an Ushguli tattoo for you.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

K'ala, Svaneti, July 28, 2007

Wrapping up Kvirikoba. More animal sacrifices (lots of those), picnics, feats of strength for young men involving a huge stone or bell to pick up and move... I would estimate that 1000 people came through for the event. TV cameras were there as well, and foreigners from: Armenia, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Japan, Poland, Spain and the UK.

The top shot is a last look at Ushba above K'ala before clouds claimed it for the day.

Monday, 17 September 2007

K'ala, Svaneti, July 28, 2007

Kvirikoba at last. From the bottom:

Lighting candles & sticking them to the outer walls of the church.

Women in the part of the church which they can enter.

People paying the pray-er (see hand holding up money) and bellringer to do their thing all day long, praying for each family and ringing the bell with a loud "Hamen! Hamen!". I was waiting for this to finish in the hope that after it the fabled, fabulous icon of Kririke Church would be revealed for its once-per-year viewing. Maybe it was, but as I had to walk back to Ushguli that day (3 hours of dusty, hot roads), I left too early for that event. Ah well, beter planning nexy time.

A magnificent goat being led off for sacrifice and consumption, joining many animals that day. The smoke at right is from fires with large cauldrons set over them for all that meat.