hot picture-taking dates

Nov 23

This is not a public service, but I did talk about PSAs today

This is how good I have it. I made us late today. So, while I was making us late, my lovely bride was making me lunch.

That might be the sort of approach that gets me moving on time. And it wasn’t that I was late-late. It’s just that there a lot of things to do in the morning and it piled up. Plus, there are the cats. Are they trapped in a closet or a bathroom? Do they have food and water? Can you keep them out of the laundry room, which is basically the airlock to the outside world and, like all laundry rooms, could be a few feet bigger, particularly when you have your arms full of backpacks and things.

We made it on time. I did not have to blame the cats. But I got two homemade PB&Js out of the deal!

Today in class we discussed public service announcements. And I broke up the students into production groups. They’ll be making their own PSAs in the coming weeks. This is a fun assignment and, having given them some time today to start their planning, it sounds like they will treat it in that spirit.

I had the students fill out a survey for their crew positions of choice and, happily, in two classes worth of people, it seems like it will work out that everyone will have a role they are interested in. I’m looking forward to watching them all work their way through the process. And, by the end of the semester, they should all have a nice video and some good experiences they can add to their LinkedIn accounts.

It’ll all be great, because, in the back of the room, this owl is overseeing things.

I choose to see him as a good classroom omen.

Since we talked about a state park yesterday, I wanted to show you this video from that trip. I rode my bike to the park, on the other end of the county, near the end of last month to find two historical markers. It was a splendid day, and the trees were bursting with color. I picked the right day to find this path.

It’s a nice park. Charming views in all of the parts I saw. I’ll have to find my way back down there next year.

We’re still padding things out with a few photos from our Sunday afternoon visit to the beach. And here’s the beach.

This is an old resort town. An 18th century resort town, if you can believe that. One of the oldest in the country, if not the oldest. And it predates the country. You never think about colonials taking beach trips. I wonder how many did.

It was sunny and cool on Sunday when we were there. Right here, in the sun, it felt great. But if you found yourself in some shade you’d want to find yourself back in the sun. It was that kind of lovely day.

I took this photo, without adjusting any of the settings. It’s overexposed, of course, but it’s perfect.

I thought it might be the best one of the day, but before I got around to adjusting the aperture, I took this photo, and it might actually be perfectly perfect.

We’ll wrap up the week tomorrow with four more photos from that trip, plus whatever else comes to pass between now and then.

Mar 23

Exploring the Pyrenees in Andorra

Good morning from Andorra. This is the view from our balcony. Not. Too. Shabby.

Today we set out for a bit of sightseeing. Not that there’s anything to marvel at around here.

It was a Hot Picture-Taking Date. I think you can see why.

Here’s a panorama. Click to embiggen.

And here’s the first of several videos of some of the day’s views.

We stopped my a place where several different hiking paths intersected. On one side of the road there was a little cut out for drivers to park and enjoy the views. On the other, a low wooden rail fence, beyond which there was a grass clearing.

A truck was parked there, the local version of a park ranger. No one was around, and you could stand there, feeling like a small king near the top of the world. Naturally there was a stone desk set for your photographs.

That’s 6,496 feet to you and me. Almost 1.25 miles above sea level. Sometimes, when you get to a certain elevation, it feels like you’re looking down on other mountains.

This was the first bit of downhill we’ve encountered in Andorra. The road hit the valley floor and immediately started going back up.

Some more video views.

And I now invite you to enjoy another amazing panorama. Click to embiggen.

Oh, look, here are the tourists, doing touristy things.

Such tourists.

Next we visited Mirador Roc del Quer.

On the sign out front someone named Raimon Diaz Marino has left visitors a message. Pardon my awkward translation.

Mother Earth is magical and sacred. She keeps memories of life and the universe. She witnesses wisdom on every mountain, in every drop of water and in every living being. She nourishes us and we are all her children.

And this place is the Roc del Quer, “The White Mountain.” In the heart of the Pyrenees and what Canillo looks upon.

You want to become an observer? We invite you to visit the route.

Observe and feel what surrounds you and keep this place in your heart.

Think about that as we walk out.

This is the view off the right side of the trail.

Here’s a panoramic version of that view. As with all of the panoramas, click to embiggen.

This is the view directly ahead of you.

Mountain peak heart hands. MOUNTAIN PEAK HEART HANDS!

We are somewhere between 6,379 and 6,276 feet above sea level here. (There were signs at both ends of the short trail, and this is taken in the middle.) The now seemingly low clouds are a good reminder.

“Wisdom on every mountain, in every drop of water and in every living being …”

And then we met this guy.

Who is that guy? That’s The Ponderer.

The Ponderer

by artist Miguel Ángel González, whose calm and meditative attitude invites visitors to do the same. Sitting on a beam, undaunted, it appears as if the height causes him no fear whatsoever. And in fact, it doesn’t: it fills him with strength and confidence.

We’re standing 40 feet off the side of the mountain, on a walkway, taking in these spectacular views, enjoying what The Ponderer is sharing with us, the valleys of Montaup and Valira d’Orient, the new spring ready to burst forth, the winter well into it’s early retreat.

The Pyrenees are about 85 million years old. Moving tectonic plates closed the sea. Refracted rocks fold, faults form. The stones go up, and the valleys too for a time, which is why you can find the seabed so high up. The most extensive glacial erosion in these parts, the signs say, was between 20,000-40,000 years ago. Then the planet’s weather shifted. Ice and snow melted away, and you see these rugged shapes, hints of the still relatively new mountains, though, as the signs note, erosion and evolution of the landscape continues.

“Everything is in constant motion and change.”

There, I just summed up 85 million years of geology, and seven signs about it written in Catalan, in 92 words.

Now, when you walk away from the Mirador Roc del Quer, back up the 400 meter trail, and then down the road a short way to the parking lot, and then drive on down into the valley below, you have a chance to look back, and up, to where you just were. See that horizontal bit jutting out of the mountain on the right?

We were just standing on that.

Here’s a video of some of the views from around that region …

We’ll stop there for now. That’s 18 images, three panoramas and four videos. That’s a high quality hot picture-taking date!