Friday, January 29, 2010

MD Wrap!!

Natasha is in her 20th Week:
The Bubble Project is in its 10th Week: Mount Davidson 3!!!
Longtime friend and hikebuddy Jeremiah (seen here at a distance), asked me months ago if we could get together and he could shoot pictures of some fancy bubbles...and we finally calendared it for last Saturday. We had intended to go to Lakeside Park by the bandstand where the air is PERFECT...but then I saw a weather report and realized that Saturday might be the only break in the storm for a number of days, and perhaps we should go to Mount Davidson instead, since Monday might be stormy again (and I'd have to carry all my own equipment!). Luckily for me, Jeremiah was game and we headed across the bridge at 6:30am last Saturday. It rained like crazy all the way there and then stopped just as we arrived, only to start again in earnest just as I began packing up the gear after playing for a couple of hours. I can't wait to see his pictures and I'm grateful that he asked to do this because if I hadn't gone until Monday I'd have been rained out AGAIN! Thanks Jeremiah! (He carried a lot of my stuff, too!)
My solution seemed overly gooey, the bubbles didn't last, and I became so enamored of giant arrays of bubble tubes that I made hardly any smaller, free-floating conglomerate bubbles with the new arrays. (BTW I have Sterling Johnson to thank for that design--he saw the previous video with the four-loop wand and suggested I add more loops below, so of course I made a monstrosity that is very hard to lift when wet, but so stunning to see in action.)
It seemed only right to acknowledge the location's significance, so I added a note at the end of the movie to say that I mean no disrespect by bubbling at a memorial site; in fact, I hope it can be taken as my own best sort of tribute.

It is very exciting to me to feel like I'm edging toward a reasonable video facsimile of the joy of in-person bubbles. It's quite a puzzle, but I feel like I'm uncovering a surprisingly apt formula:
*Still backgrounds to emphasize the dynamism of the bubbles
*Actual distant city soundscapes to emphasize the quietness that, I now realize, is an important part of my love of bubbling
*Multiple angles to hint at the startling variety of sights to be enjoyed in a single bubble passing through a lovely space, morphing, refracting, reflecting and transmitting colors and images...
There's a lot more thought about imagery and repetition and such, but I'll let folks notice that as they watch... :)
I hope people will share the videos with friends and family, so the people who, like me, see this stuff and are absolutely captivated, all get to see it. I'm also imagining musicians being inspired to write some bubble music with which we can collaborate on a future short, or maybe a best-of meta-short, when the project is done or moving on from San Francisco.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Escape to Mount Davidson...Ad Infinitum (Sigh)

Natasha is in her 19th week

The Bubble Project is in its 9th week: Mount Davidson 2!!!

AND contrary to the last post, with a little luck I will be heading to Holly Park a WEEK from Monday, because next Monday I have to go back for a third attempt at Mount Davidson. This morning it was dark, windy and lovely in a very non-bubble-friendly way (the video is actually the beginning of an ongoing reel of bubble dues, starting with this past November's lonely start to the Giant Bubble Party II at the Exploratorium):

Bubble Dues from Michael L Miller on Vimeo.

I have wonderful new toys and am quite excited to go back because the summit area in front of the enormous cross is tree-lined and, as I'd hoped, makes a wonderful wind-break. The rain actually HURT when it was hitting me at as I stood at the unprotected lookout point, but just 50 feet away between the trees the winds were reduced by a good 70%! This bodes well for whenever the weather decides to be kinder! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blustery Goodness

Natasha is in her 18th week.
The Bubble Project is in it's 8th Week: Mount Davidson!!
Guess what! The highest point in San Francisco is also a very windy place! I could only use the high-wind garland but it was a joy to watch the evolving shapes zip up and over the easternmost overlook and down the other side into the woods. I got some truly lovely video with my new tiny, flexible tripods but I suspect I'll get more, so I'm saving it... My tarp was too lightweight to drain drippings effectively back into the bucket as I'd intended so I ended up just cramming the whole soaked thing into the backpack as I left. Still it was nice to be extra respectful of this Natural Areas Program soil.
I'm going back this Monday (holiday!) to try and get more bubble variety and break out the NEW garland, based on a design suggested by Sterling Johnson, which made passers-by and me gasp and shake our heads in wonder when I tested it at Lakeside Park (not in the video from New Years--this is a WHOLE different animal). Actually, I'll have all my toys and could really use some videography help and/or co-bubblers! One never knows what the elements will have in store...but even if bubbling doesn't work out, what a lovely way to start the day. Message me if you'd like to participate! Holly Park the week after!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Crazy Wonderful Progress

Natasha is in her 17th Week:
And the Bubble Project is in its 7th Week: Corona Heights Park!

I e-mailed two folks at the city of SF's Natural Areas Program as well as the Nature in the City Project to see if they would comment on that pesky (vital!) environmental impact question (see two blogs down) and I haven't heard back yet but I hope to volunteer some time to one or the other, no matter what they might say about my current project; I've been hiking these hills avidly for years now and I'd like to help keep them vibrant and healthy for Natasha's generation.

The video is a head-and-shoulders above anything else I've done so far. Finally I feel like I'm getting close to capturing a tiny hint of the wonder and loveliness one experiences when in the presence of the real thing. I could seriously put my Quicktime viewer on repeat and watch it all day. I hope it makes you as happy as it does me! Share it with a friend.

Of course, Full Screen HD viewing HIGHLY RECOMMENDED(it may help to pause it and let it load for awhile). Also, I noticed on my Dad's Apple the embedded video shows up chopped in half. If this happens, just double click and it should take you to youtube. Actually, to go straight there, just click HERE.

Thinking about my four-loop wand and last summer's and November's lovely bubble parties, I'm beginning to envision a whole group of us with multiple-loop wands of various sizes--Wow, we could turn some heads! June, Lakeside Park, Oakland! Be there!!

I'd love to hear from you if you enjoy any aspect of this craziness.


Friday, January 1, 2010

A Pause... + New Years at Home in O-Town

Natasha is in her 16th Week.

I wanted to take a full two weeks to allow everyone who might have thoughts to respond to the environmental impact question (see previous entry, below), so I didn't head for a hilltop this week. So far, it looks like:

The Project Will Continue!

with a few adjustments

a. I will check with the USFWS to make sure I am never planning to bubble in protected habitat.

b. Though it appears environmental impact is almost completely negligible, I have set up a monthly donation to in the spirit of offsetting (and surpassing on the green side) any negative effects of what I do.

c. Again, though the impact is probably negligible, the most likely location for any ill-effects is right around the buckets where the most drips fall, so I will set up absorbent material there and, whenever possible, rinse the area with water just before I go.

d. I will add environmental impact Q&A to the info card I hand out to folks with questions.

e. As I continue to learn more, I will alter my activities accordingly!

This week I rung in the New Year bubbling in Lakeside Park, my favorite bubble spot, by the bandstand (here's what you can do there in the wee hours of the morning: 'mike's best bubble video') and I put together an absurdly long (but lovely) video because it was so nice to have a camera person! Thanks Tontra!

If you want to know when you can catch up with the bubbles in person, send me a note!

Come out and play!