Saturday, February 21, 2009

Round Robin Photo Challenge: Light Moves

I went in on another Round Robin Challenge
(head there to see who else played).
The idea for this challenge is:

Take a picture that shows the quality of the light.
By that I mean the hues of a sunset, water reflected on water,
refracted light, something interesting with light.

I have to confess that mostly I relied on stuff I had already shot.
So let's start with that, then I will give you my new shot at the end.
And here we go:

St. Thomas sunset

Port of Long Beach
a little on the grainy and seedy side

Pepto-Bismol port sunset

sea and sky

Water, light, magic

Shadow play


The water's fine

Just under the surface

I've been on that blimp
(and on that bridge)


Can you tell I like sunsets?
And water...


So I really do need to get back into the habit of
taking pictures, pictures, pictures.

I was really good for a while.
I do carry the camera at all times.

But usually everything is such a rush.
Rush to get to work.
Rush at work.
Rush to get home.

Note to self: Slow down. Look at things.

Take more pictures.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A glimpse below the surface

I had seen a mention on another Web site about a new IMAX movie at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. It is called "Under the Sea 3D."

I mentioned it to Manfriend and we watched the movie trailer.

We decided to see if there were any showings Monday since we both had the day off work. We were in luck. We got two tickets online to the 1:30 show.

(Note on the tickets - The fine print on the tickets says parking is $6. It is really $8 now. The guy at the entrance said they raised the price at the start of the year. This reminds me now that I was going to call the Science Center to let them know they need to update their Web site.)

We had some computer chaos in getting our print-at-home tickets printed, so we were running later than we hoped. By the time we go there a long line had formed. So our seats were not the best.

Next time we need to leave earlier so we can get seats in the middle. I think it will make a big difference.

But, as for the movie...

This is a 40-minute 3D film that focuses on aquatic life in the waters off Papua New Guinea, as well as Cape Catastrophe and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

You get your obligatory great white shark and sea lions and sting rays. But there are some other, more interesting creatures, too.

Some highlights:

Sea dragons
Sea snakes - the creepiest, but really beautiful. And the 3D was good here.
Juvenile catfish swimming in a wave over the ocean floor - MF loved this scene.
Frog fish - crazy-looking creatures
Potato cod - just a big prehistoric-looking fish. 3D was good here, too.
Garden eels - this scene was mesmerizing for me.

MF really liked the 3D graphics. Even down to the titles and credits, the 3D graphics were good. I think with seats more in the middle they would have been even better.

The movie was narrated by Jim Carrey. At first I was worried he would be, well, Jim Carrey. But it was a pretty subdued narration with only a couple lame, family friendly jokes in there.
The main thing I noticed about the narration was that it was slightly preachy in parts, talking about global warming.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is an important issue.

But yeah, it was a little preachy. Maybe they figure since the audience is mostly kids they can get them to start thinking about the issue early. Which is not a bad thing, I suppose.

And really, it could have been a lot preachier.

I did like that even though the movie is geared to kids (yeah, yeah... but the adults were enthralled, too) the filmmakers did a decent job of making it realistic but not too scary.

They showed the mating process of cuttlefish. Not anything too graphic or nasty.
And they also showed things eating other things. Again, not too graphic, but part of the cycle of life.

Of course, when they showed the great white shark and then the cute sea lion puppies and said "The sea lion needs to be ever-vigilant about the great white" I was thinking "Noooooo... they can't show a baby sea lion being eaten."

And they did not. Which is good. Because a lot of little kids would have been traumatized. Not to mention the nightmares I would have had.

As for the theater experience... Well, I would have preferred fewer kids. Maybe going on a school holiday in the first weekend the movie was open was a mistake on my part.

The place was crawling with kids. And the showing was sold-out. So we were cheek by jowl in that theater.

Kids were standing in seats trying to reach out and grab 3D fish as they swam by; they were yelling out "Shark!!!" when one appeared onscreen; they constantly asked questions.

I was hoping for a more peaceful experience. I think a child-free showing would be extremely popular.

All in all though, it was worth the price of admission, the drive to downtown and the masses and masses of kids.

And I think I want to go again. Maybe in a month or so. And get good seats. Maybe an evening show. Maybe after the kids have all gone to bed.

If you want to know more about the film, including some cool behind-the-scenes footage, check out the movie's Web site.

And a couple newspaper reviews with differing opinions:

New York Times review - mostly positive

San Francisco Chronicle review - more harsh