Eyes of Silk

I think the world is a beautiful place. This planet never ceases to amaze me. We are surrounded by beauty every day. And this isn’t just because I just came back from one of the most picturesque countries on the planet…I was actually thinking about this on the bus last night, as I watched an odd assortment of people bobbing along to the rhythm of the bus, casually staring out the window, reading their newspapers, or perhaps cuddled against their loved one. They’re the sorts of people who would never be together in any other situation but the bus. And it’s these types of situations that I love the most; that make me really appreciate the world and nameless people and community that surround me every day.

The Isle of Skye (refer to the title of this post for its apt anagram) is one of those places that makes you think about how amazing the geological world of mountains, sea floors, and other physical forces are at work in the planet. It makes you imagine the earth heaving and swelling and then receding and contracting in these great Olympian movements that can only be captured in your own imagination, rather than in any scientific charted representation.

Glen Coe

River of Youth

Cairngorms National Park

From the Skye Bridge

Slighean a Ghlinn Mhòir

I heard tales of giants, faeries, gods, and kings who all once played a role in Skye’s creation and subsequent mythological and historical wealth. The island contained much more than, what I consider to be, ‘classic beauty.’ What I mean to say is that out of all the landscape poetry I read in high school, or out of the entire landscape gallery at the DIA, I haven’t been able to connect what I saw on Skye and in Scotland’s highlands to those pieces of art, despite all the good intentions of the artists. I, myself, can’t connect to my own photographs of the place! I can’t see the photographs as representing what I really saw, or, better, what I felt, on the trip.

Well, I suppose, in a few short sentences, my trip to Scotland certainly has inspired me to begin this farm film. I’m certainly not the first, nor will I be the last, to be inspired by Scotland’s landscape.

I began my filming today, actually. One of the most frustrating things, sometimes, about filming, is the uncertainty in your subjects’ actions. I encountered this for the ump-teenth time in the milking parlour today. Thinking that you’ll follow a piece of action doesn’t always turn out how you imagined it would in your head, because people are very unpredictable and don’t always do what you want them to. And asking them to do it again, for the sake of the film, well, that’s technically acting, and it usually looks like they’re acting.

Remember in Something Like a Tradition when, just after getting drenched and whipped, Patricia tells Woodee she loves him and gives him a hug? I loved that moment but I asked her to do it again because the radio microphone was in the shot and the shot was a bit jumpy. But the first time, the natural time, is the one that made the final cut in the movie, because the second time just looked so staged—and it was, to be fair.

So that’s one of the challenges I face as a filmmaker of both human and bovine subjects—the unpredictability of movement and, often, sound. It’s a task I need to either create techniques to get around (wider framing?) or learn to simply accept, appreciate, and cope with in editing.

Tomorrow Graham is going on a date and an appraiser is coming to look at some of the cows to determine their health for sale, so it should be a busy shooting day for me. On a side note, it is also the 4th of July, which is observed as our independence day in the U.S. In true American fashion, I’ll be celebrating in multi-cultural style with hot dogs for dinner and then heading down to the local pub, the Fox Inn, for Morris dancing, capped off by the Detroit Tigers vs Minnesota Twins baseball game on telly late that night.

I’m looking forward to this summer, so stick around, I’ve got plenty more coming.

Until next time, tarah!


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