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Old April 5th, 2010, 04:02 PM   #1
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Mojave desert: wildflowers and solar power


Here's a film I just finished (hopefully). There is at least one conservation group that intends to post it on their website. It includes a lot of footage of desert wildflowers and wildlife. Comments and /or suggestions are really welcome and appreciated.

Peter
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Old April 5th, 2010, 04:43 PM   #2
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Maybe a different VO. Also, the shots are held too long IMO.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 04:50 PM   #3
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"the shots are held too long IMO."

Through the whole piece or anything in particular? Thanks.

Peter
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Old April 5th, 2010, 06:29 PM   #4
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Hi Peter,
I liked the VO. Only one thing i would change with the VO would be to omit the bit where she says "here is some footage of the dessert" Ok, that's not exactly what she said, but the point is, i think you could have simply let the clips play without it, or better still, just some sparse comments on what we were seeing in those clips.
I found the length of clips good, maybe you could simply mix it up with some shorter length clips as well, but that i will leave to you since i certainly didn't find myself thinking "when is this clip going to end".
I would have loved to see some jib shots of the flowers from a low angle then rising to reveal how far the flowers go for. That is something i am looking at doing in my own filming to keep things interesting.
Great work,
Bryce
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Old April 5th, 2010, 09:21 PM   #5
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I like that idea — the line is kind of redundant. Thanks.

Peter
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Old April 9th, 2010, 06:26 PM   #6
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I am not sure if the film wants solar power, or not? Anyway did you use a polarizer filter at all. I know that sometime vimeo cuts a lot of color.

I liked the audio, nice and clear.

Ken.
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Old April 10th, 2010, 05:42 AM   #7
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Hi Peter,

I found the lenght of clips just right for the message you are trying to get across. I thought during the music section you could have mixed the flower and wildlife shoots more.

Also have to agree with Kenneth the wording during the intro needs to be more precise.

Other than the above enjoyed it very much.

Mick.
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Old April 10th, 2010, 09:44 AM   #8
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Thanks for the comments. The issue this video addresses isn’t an easy one to explain (at least for me, it seems). It comes down to whether the development of “green” power is such an absolute good that it overrides any other considerations. For instance, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) has been quoted as saying, “…anything with a three percent grade or less that isn’t wilderness or preserve is going to be covered with wind and solar installations.” There’s a history for this type of thinking in the West. It used to be law that a mining claim took precedence over any other type of property right. If a claim was filed for the land underneath someone else’s house the claim owner had the right to demolish the house to develop his mine. The Desert Protection Act of 2010 will put a small part of the desert off-limits to this approach to energy development.

The Desert Protection Act of 2010 has disrupted the plans of some well-financed interests. One is BrightSource Energy, which has raised over $160 million to develop solar power. A previously proposed project of the company would be blocked by the legislation. Several well-known people are reportedly financially connected to the company, including Governor Schwarzenegger and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and they have received a good deal of media attention. In a New York Times interview Kennedy, “slams Feinstein for taking "land off the table without a proper and scientific environmental review.”*

So that’s some of the background. I think renewable energy is a great thing but not anywhere, anytime. Big money always elbows its way to the table. This video is my 2˘ of contribution to the discussion.

Re: polarizers. Many, if not most, of the shots were done with a polarizer. Some were taken on a Canon 7D with a 17mm Super Takumar full frame fisheye which can't use a filter. That lens, though, produces such saturated colors that it usually looks like a polarizer was on it.

Peter
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* Mojave Desert Blog: California Desert Protection Act of 2010
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Old April 13th, 2010, 05:27 AM   #9
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I do not find the clips too long, not at all. Myself a fan of long clips, I think the could be even longer.
In the first clip of the bighorn sheep they all show their behinds - not that good.
The redtailed hawk clip is too unsteady. If you enlarge the clip you may centre the bird.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 04:49 AM   #10
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Sverker,
Thanks for the two good suggestions. They are definitely weak points in the video.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 04:33 PM   #11
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Peter,

I thought you did a pretty nice job here. A few shots seemed just a tad long, but not sufffering from attention deficit I managed to enjoy it. I grew up in san fernando Valley and spent hundreds of hours out in the Majove, a favorite spot would be Jawbone canyon. Also fond prairie falcons nesting in the top of a joshhua tree one year, amazing place, and the bloom is to die for!!!

Dale Guthormsen
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Old May 10th, 2010, 12:30 AM   #12
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I just saw this since it got bumped to the top. I think it is cool you've made something like this, advocating a point of view. I had to read some comments and then watch part of it again to really understand what was being advocated though.

Anyways, looks like a beautiful part of the country.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 06:37 PM   #13
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Dale,
I'm more familiar with Red Rock Canyon park a few miles north of Jawbone Canyon. The Mojave Desert side of the Tehachapi Mountains is a fabulous area - not only beautiful visually but an important place for paleontologists. A researcher once explained to me that there is a time period in North American prehistory that is preserved in fossils there and nowhere else on the continent. If I remember right the region was once the seashore of the Pacific. Lot of stuff to see and find in the hills.

Ryan,
Thanks. I think its important to show the rest of the world what is at stake in policy decisions. There are so many talented people producing beautiful images on this board – it's a great latent power that can do a lot of good if we choose to use it.

Peter
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Old May 31st, 2010, 07:41 PM   #14
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Peter, as with all your videos, I enjoyed this one a lot. I agree with most of the suggestions that others have offered previously. You explained that the solar power issue in the Mojave is complicated, but as was mentioned by someone else, during the first half of the narration, it seemed more like you were advocating the power projects, than opposing them. The line about "How much space do you need for solar power, anyway?", seems undefinable as to what position you're taking. Only in the last part, does the narrative seem to express a solid opposition to solar power projects in this desert. Frankly, I'd recommend starting all over with the narrative. You can only patch the first version so much. Keep up the good work.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 03:52 AM   #15
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Stephen,

I'm really not opposed to building solar power projects in the desert—although I've been so focused on this one aspect of the issue that it might seem that way. I just don't think it is necessary to build willy-nilly in the Mojave wherever any company thinks is convenient. The Desert Protection Act of 2010 protects an area that I think is worth saving while leaving plenty of room to build in other places. The film isn't meant to oppose all solar power development but to direct it to less sensitive locations. It's not surprising that part of the film seems to be pro solar power as I think solar is an excellent way to replace coal-fired plants in the Southwest. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to lay waste to every acre that can hold a solar panel.

By the way, Southern California Edison (one of California's BIG utilities) recently testified in Congress in support of the Act. The legislation is also supported by various desert area Chambers of Commerce (they are concerned about certain developments' impact on tourism) so this is a nuanced discussion, not an all or nothing proposition. It's also not a strictly partisan issue but more an attempt to steer people to intelligent development. Getting all the shades of gray clearly defined in a short piece may be beyond my current capabilities but it seems like some of the message did get through at least. I hope it even inspired a few letters to Congress. Thanks very much for the kind words and suggestions which I will think about.

Best wishes,
Peter
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Last edited by Peter Rhalter; June 1st, 2010 at 05:24 AM. Reason: added thought
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