Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Columbia Journey

The spectacular Columbia River Gorge marks the boundary between Oregon and Washington. On a recent drive along the Washington side of the river, I took snippets of video along the way.

Across from Hood River I stopped to watch hundreds of wind surfers scudding over the waves. Farther down the road, a couple of hours were spent exploring the Maryhill Museum of Art, Sam Hill's marvelously incongruous concrete castle perched high and lonely above the water. Hill was one of those visionary, force of nature type guys who became the driving force for building a road through the gorge.  Sam planned to make Maryhill home, but his wife took one look, grabbed the kids and scurried back to Minneapolis.

In the museum I learned about Loie Fuller, friend to both Hill and the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Maryhill houses one of the largest collections of Rodin's work in the world. Loie was famous herself--she got her start as a child actress in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and later became a pioneer of modern dance and toast of the Folies Bergere in turn of the century Paris...you can't make this stuff up!

On Whitcomb Island's Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge I watched dragonflies and deer. Continuing east, ghostly white wind towers loomed hundreds of feet above the dry, brown hills.

 I began to notice a strange connectedness in the random things I chose to film: from wind-filled surfer's sails to billowing cloth swirling around a dancer, everything had something to do with rhythms, movement, air and time. I threw it all together and this quirky video is the result.



Becky McS said...

Nice work, Don. Even in that lonely, desolate stretch going East from Portland beyond The Dalles, there is always something moving to catch the eye. You did a great job capturing it. Have you seen the mountain sheep? We're always able to spot some; they just lolly-gag up in the scrub and rocks, blending in almost perfectly. It's a good thing they've got some white on their butts or we might miss them unless we catch some movement.

Anonymous said...

What a fascinating video. I really enjoy the rhythms blending together, even the wind towers. (The wind towers dominate the landscape, which I don't like.) Maryhill is a wonderful place to visit--haven't seen it in some years. Great choice of music to enhance the images.
Anne Thrower

Don Gray said...

Hi Becky--I haven’t seen the sheep—I’ll keep my eyes peeled next trip.

Thanks for the note.

Don Gray said...

Thanks, Anne. It was a fun trip. I hadn't been to Maryhill in many years. I was probably around 12 when I first visited--the art and the strangeness of the place made a huge impression on me. The wind towers of today add to the strangeness--they look like alien invaders.

Sheila Vaughan said...

Wow, what a beautiful art house film suffused with movement and moments of important stillness. I see a few of these installations at the Cornerhouse cinema in Manchester (they have a tv in the corner of the foyer for that purpose) and this is honestly one of the most mesmerising I have seen. Interestingly, as you know, I am very hard of hearing so don't even try to hear sound tracks as they often sound distorted. This was magical as a silent movie.

Don Gray said...

Sheila, what generous, kind comments. The videos are just fun for me. I don't pretend to know anything about how to do it. At any rate, I'm pleased you enjoyed it--thank you.