A Truly Endless Summer

My take on “GIF Animate your day like Ben.” The following GIFs cover a single, typical day for me at Lake Tahoe!

Approximately 7:45 am, June 28, 2017: Coffee tastes better when poured in the soft sunlight that undulates between the upper branches of the Ponderosa Pine trees peaking over the balcony of my temporary home. Today is a field trip day at camp, we’ll head to Donner Lake to enjoy a balmy day at a beach named for the pioneers who mostly perished in a cold winter almost 200 years ago, resorting to cannibalism to survive. My campers will smile blissfully with their sticky grins as they bite into ice cream sandwiches from the snack bar.

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8:45 am: The camper who talks to himself and aspires to one day be a Taxidermist circles the great White Fir listing off the members of his dead bug collection. It’s 68 degrees Fahrenheit but the sun is already intense. He could spin in his tiny circle indefinitely, but we have to move on from this moment to greet our other campers, the bus will be here soon.

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10:40 am: The initial shock from ice cold water is fleeting like all of these summer moments. It’s best to take a running start. The water fight that ensues is a frigid battle that will leave me drenched in the clear water of the lake. Despite the purity of the water, my eyes sting and my vision is blurred. I hate swimming and getting water in my eyes, but I can’t help but smile listening to the shrieks of campers as they splash and douse without mercy. Within minutes the war is over, drenched campers are littered along the sand like casualties, shivering and drying in the sun.

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11:15 am:
We hunt dragons to pass the time before lunch. We decide that we’re cougars racing through the jungle to conquer our mystical pray. The girls decide that I’m the mommy cougar and they’re my cubs, they spend the rest of the day referring to me as “Mommy.” The imagined life of the dragon lasts only moments before we’re distracted by reality again.

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11:45 am: It’s almost time for lunch, we swing up and down on a modified version of the see saw. The repetitive up and down is abrupt, we think maybe this is what it feels like to be in a rocket ship. We decide that we could stay on the playground forever and ever.

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12:40 pm: We pretend that the ground has been engulfed in a sea of lava that licks at our heels, the heat of the smokey magma blinds us even from our perch atop the highest point of the playground. We’re granted temporary immunity by a gracious lava monster, so we take our quickest escape down the slide.

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7:50 pm: The mountains calmly come into focus as the sun sets around me on my evening ride down to the Northshore beach. When I put both hands back on the handlebars, I allow myself to pick up speed. This switch-backed hill pulls me forward at greater and greater speeds, the wind flies by me, deafening me until I glance to my right. I can now hear water gently trickling. The air is extremely crisp, unhindered by any moisture it allows me to pierce it and fly on down my hill. The sunlight has become mercifully soft and shimmers as if I’m riding through a world of reflective crystals, almost apologetic for its earlier harshness that has left the backs of my thighs a crisp pink shade.

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8:15 pm: A swarm of gnats dance over a small creek, moving with each other and the slight breeze. They would be more beautiful had I not swallowed several of them seconds earlier as I rode through their tiny cloud.

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8:30 pm: Every moment of my days here feels like this one. A moment that I could live in endlessly but is tortuously, gorgeously impermanent. I fear losing the memory of these moments, I often find that I cant look away from these. I’m worried that if I do I’ll soon forget the smooth lapping of water on weathered rocks, the slight glance of the gentle breeze on my skin, or the modest radiance of the sun as it settles among the snow-capped mountains. If only I could have these moments, this summer, on an endless loop.

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12:15 am: We wrap up each day with a late night cocktail hour after Ian gets home from his second job. We recap our day, listen to new songs debating whether they would be suitable to play at a funeral, if they carry enough sense of nostalgia. We’re all about memories, even in the moment.

via GIPHY

The Story Behind the Story-

The concept of a GIF is particularly compelling to me. I always fear that I will forget the most beautiful moments I experience. Some might say that these are meant to be fleeting moments, that they would cease to be so wondrous if I could have them forever. But I am selfish with my memories, I like to hoard them whether they are tremendous or diminutive. I want to forever capture the beautiful minutiae of those evenings when slowly dimming light seeps through tree branches and soft breezes lift single strands of hair to dance across your cheek. I wish I could put those little memories in a mason jar and watch them bounce around like fireflies. I feel this way with a particular desperation in the summer. Time graciously slows for us in the best of summer moments, it sometimes even feels like the “endless summer” we’ve yearned for all our lives could possibly be a reality. But the pace slows only momentarily, a gift to remind us of how special this season is. Before we know it, the heat reaches its apex and leaves begin to brown. But with this project, I can cling to my mason jar of memories, looping on endlessly.

The Tut
orial


In creating this project(http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/gif-animate-your-day-like-ben/), I attempted to employ some tips from the “Becoming a Better Photographer” post. The object of the assignment is to catalog a typical day, but I made an effort to ensure that I captured moments that were reflective of my “endless summer theme.” I also took steps to position my camera for optimum lighting and contrast, I also attempted to avoid directing the GIFs so that they would be uncontrived, true moments of my day. As I took the videos throughout the day, I made notes in my journal to remind me of the time each video was taken and also gave a brief description that would later aid in producing the narrative above. All GIFs were created by filming short video clips using the Camera App on my iPhone 5s. These videos were then imported to my PC where the Photos App was used to trim all clips so that they met the size limit for the GIF-creating website “GIPHY”
(https://giphy.com/create/gifmaker). On this website I used the page “GIF Maker,” which has the option to upload files for conversion into GIFS. Once I selected the proper file, the site allowed me to adjust the start and end time of the video. Selecting the start point of the loop was a little challenging because I wanted the transition from the end of the clip back to the beginning of the clip to be as smooth as possible, but this is a particularly difficult effect to achieve when a handheld recording device is used. The movement of the camera will prevent the restarting of the loop from appearing smooth and succinct. However, the tools on this site were very easy to manipulate and the creating of each GIF took only minutes. The clips were then embedded into this post.

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