Tag Archives: Technology

12-Safari of Life

Kob eating grass while experiencing fame at Murchison Falls

I’ve always wanted to go on a safari. I would see photos and hear things on TV that made it sound like an adventure suburban America couldn’t rival. True to its fame, it inspired me to create this.

Load up! Everybody grab their cameras. Is yours fully charged? Check to make sure the memory is wiped. We are going to shoot some animals.

Scour the horizon! Look for any heads bobbing up from the grass. Let everyone know so that we can all see and then shoot it.

Stop, driver! You are making too much noise, you might scare away that kob there. Plus, if we are moving, it is a lot harder to shoot it. Look at how frozen it is. Does it think that we will kill it? No, we aren’t predators. No, we are here only to shoot it. Don’t worry furry friend, you will see your family again. Just stay frozen so I can get a crisp shot. Look at the golden beauty: those protruding bones, brimming musculature, and life-filled eyes. Look at how proudly it stands over the grass.

 

I raise the lens. I peer through the viewfinder. It is just me and the kob. All my focus is on this beautiful beast.  My eyes lock on his mesmerizing poise and commanding wonder. He is in focus. All my focus is on him. Our eyes find each other, and for a moment we become connected, for a moment we become one through some primal connection. In that eternal moment, an omnipresent silence lifted me from the earth. I was back in Eden where nature was at peace. The life beating in his obsidian-black eyes revealed mother nature herself. Wait until my friends see this. The sacred moment ended almost as soon as it began. It was broken by me thinking about myself.

Click!

For a moment, my world became dark. The mirror had flipped in the camera so the sensor could capture the shot. In this moment, a wave of regret crushed me. I realized what I had lost. In that moment of blissful serenity, I choose to shoot, I chose to capture instead of absorb the moment. Some moments are too beautiful to capture. I have lost Mother Nature and captured an kob. I have traded Eden for an image, an image of selfishness. By disturbing the peace, I have acted against nature and tried to freeze a moment in time. Now captured into an image of an antelope, I own this moment once mutually shared between us. I traded sacredness for power over time. Beware all nature, for my camera will transform your vibrant beauty into a static image. Once people see the image, nature will die. People will look at this craven image as reality. They will miss the holy enlightenment I shot. For this hollow and corrupt facade is nothing compared to the light that shown on my broken heart from Mother Nature’s face of limitless elegance.

Look at my shot! Everyone crowds around the camera. The shot was so clean that my hands were rendered obsolete. My eyes could see such detail, that I didn’t even need to touch the animal.

 

Nice shot! I wish I could take a shot like that! Ok, everyone, its just one shot. There are plenty more that need to be taken.

Go, driver! Once again, the crew was on the prowl looking for its next victim. They scoped out the wild grasses and scraggly trees. They found many throughout the course of the day. All the animals they saw looked at them no differently than if they were a predator, no differently than if they were hunters. They were caught in between running away and defending themselves. Despite all the shots, not one animal died.

This is a short made-up reflection. I was inspired to write it once I learned that only 860 elephants remain in Murchison Falls National Park, and there used to be 15,000. Hunting and poaching these animals is absolutely horrifying. Photography is infinitely better, but still has its limitations. Coming here and witnessing the incredible majesty of nature has been a blessing that I’m so grateful to have.

The majesty of that moment! I did not have it with an animal but with the savanna. We would drive on the top of some small hills, and we could see far off into the distance. The amount of land and trees there was humbling. The vastness of Africa was revealed to me. I felt like i was nothing. My problems felt unimportant. It made me realize I am a irrational fraction of a bacteria to the moon. In the midst of such austere magnificence I felt my own loneliness, my own powerlessness. It gave me great peace. The problems we photographed and videotaped on this trip are bigger than us. They require a God-sized remedy. I am not responsible for it happening nor am I responsible to fix it. Not even God can fix it. He came to earth and wasn’t able to crack the heard hearts of the Pharisees. There is a mighty and inalienable evil in human nature. I can try my best to fight it knowing that I will fail. However, in attempting to fight the devil, I might become the devil. Instead of sacrificing the good that is left in the world, I choose to stand by it. I hope that God will turn the blazing world into a praising world. I stand behind God as we watch the world burn trying to save a chunk of it so that there will be something left to build upon once this evil fire chokes itself with its own wickedness.

7-Circle of Life: Economics

Road to Murchison Falls

If I thought the effects of globalism and technology are bad in the US, I don’t even have a word to describe its effects for the people of Uganda. The poverty here is unprecedented in the US. There are people walking the streets at stopping lights trying to sell food, maps of Africa, and other things. There are billboards advertising for 20 MB of mobile data for less than 300 Ugandan shillings (8 cents). There are people carrying wood, water, and other things on their heads as they walk to their destination. I have not seen one iphone.

The US is already feeling the effects of globalism and technology. Car companies have replaced people with robots. “Made in China” is branded into most products. These are just a few examples of the initial effects of the march of capitalism. Even this beginning phase has garnered a strong response from the workers who have lost their jobs. There is a pervasive fear that robots will replace people and that other countries can out compete the US in producing cheaper goods. The result is the lack of money to pursue our happiness.

To the average person in this part of the world, the pursuit of happiness through money is not something to be lost because they never had it in the first place. With robots making human labor obsolete, the dollars these people earn per week will disappear. The unrest that results from this system will be revolutionary. It is already happening. Uganda is one among many of the countries in the developing world. It has many fierce competitors who can create the same goods for a cheaper price. In fact, agriculture makes up 72% of the Ugandan GDP and industry just 4%.

If people in the US are worried about the effects of globalism and technology, it is because they are scared they will have to live people live today in the developing world. Technology could turn America into a third world country and turn third world countries into fifth world countries unless there is a major shift in the momentum of Modernity. This reflection doesn’t even mention South Sudan. A country like that is in the Dark Ages compared to the US. My only hope is that countries like Uganda don’t turn towards a war over resources turning itself into another South Sudan.

 

 

 

A Whirlwind of Information

In theory transitioning between photography and video should be a fairly smooth process. A good shot in video is composed with the same elements as a good photo, but I’ve learned it’s not that simple. A videographer must maintain rigid control of the elements around them for the length of the shot, which is not to say they don’t welcome interesting but random subject matter in their shot. A photographer, on the other hand, only has to maintain control for a moment. It’s a subtle yet critical difference between the two, one that I didn’t fully grasp until video boot camp started.Essentially video boot camp is an entire video-journalism class condensed into a week. It’s fast paced and challenging but ultimately extremely rewarding.

Video
photo courtesy of freerangestock.com. While I wish I had taken a picture of us learning all of this, I didn’t have time so to the stock photo library we go

I think what has surprised me the most over the past week is how simple and yet complex Final Cut Pro is. I might not be technologically inept but technology has such as steep and constantly changing learning curve that I often ignore it, which is admittedly ignorant on my part. Final Cut Pro is different because although there is a learning curve, it’s not insurmountable, especially with our teachers guiding us every step of the way. In fact I’m motivated to learn more about the program with every video we make because I can see my mistakes the way other people do. While it’s mildly terrifying to think that at the end of this journey we will have a rough cut of a documentary, its also exhilarating because I know our group can pull it off.