Sunday, August 17, 2014

I have to say, I’m surprised the thing has registered over 5000 plays on Vimeo, though I always knew it was going to be beautiful if I did, in fact, get the shot. And I had always intended for it to be a personless set piece that showcased the idyllic camp in Buttonshell Cove. I guess it never occurred to me that the moment you take the faces out of the video, it immediately becomes accessible to the faceless patrons of the Internet, and those worldwide. Anyway, it’s nice. I’m glad people like it.

“GET THE SHOT!” was the Team Video chant/slogan/mantra for the week, with all its funny, drug-addled double entendre. Of course, none of the shots turned out as I had planned. I took the quad out and flew it around Tuesday morning as a sort of camera test, to see how I could move it around the pier and how the GoPro would expose the sunrise. I had planned to review the footage, make some mental notes, and shoot the thing for real later in the week but, alas, there was never another sunrise. Just cloudy mornings from there on out. So at the end of the week I went up and got the shot of the cross, hands shaking, and then went down and threw together an assemblage. I slapped the Coldplay song on it and called it Done.

I had heard the song months ago and immediately saw it in my head, the moving image tracking around the cross on Bible Peak, up and over, and revealing the camp below. And so I became obsessed with UAV photography on the cheap, and I feel blessed to have been able to procure the equipment. The song, “O (Hidden Track)” could be about anything, I suppose, but to me the flock of birds were all those people -high school kids and the groups of leaders- who just come and go, so beautifully, to this place, Camp Fox. And then there’s the serene flying imagery, so here we are.

I had so many other ideas for shots and got none of them. I should’ve used a neutral density filter, since everything seems slightly overexposed, but I didn’t. The tracking shot over the pier is much too long, but I didn’t have any other material to fill out the edit. I’m bothered by the people in it, since I wanted everything to be quiet, and a little desolate, with nothing but God’s beauty. I wanted to shoot the empty campfire circle, and the sun on the grand dining hall, but no. And then there’s my dopey self down below, in half the shots, looking up and trying not to crash. Oh well.

I rendered everything on the last night of camp and watched it and thought, “damn that is beautiful.” I thought of how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful place, and for 25 summers or so, and how blessed I was to get to capture it on film. The camp had a dance that night and then went up to the campfire circle. It was nearing midnight, and we lit a huge fire. I got my guitar and we all sang “At Camp Fox.” And then I spoke about camp, how it is like a slice of Heaven, and how the only way we’ve been able to do that all these years is by doing it under a cross, and so we have. Literally.

And then I showed the video, wondering if it was the last video I would ever show at camp, and if it was the last time I would ever speak at this campfire circle. And I suppose I have wondered that for the last 25 years.