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Lost in Light is a videoblog about small gauge filmmaking featuring weekly posts of home movies, work by artists, articles by preservationists and film scholars, video tutorials and other film gems.




Shades of Alaska

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This week, we venture to Sitka, Alaska, for a tour of the water, its fish (including a shot of a giant whale tail slapping the sea!*), and the land that surrounds it. Contributor Kurt Polzin, of New York City, offers a serene, boat’s eye view of the area, while still managing to get a little fishing in between shots. Kurt offers a little more description:I shot this footage on a Eumig Makro Sound 64 XL camera in 1995 during a trip to Sitka, Alaska to visit my aunt.

In the mid 80’s, when the Super8 format was on the way out, all the Photo Supply stores were discounting the last of the Super8 gear. I bought a kit with the camera and a Eumig projector for about $250. The 64 XL had a very sharp zoom lens, and I made about a dozen films with it, and a few sound films before Super8 Sound film became unavailable. At the time, you could buy Super8 film by mail that came with processing. You mailed the exposed film in a postage-paid envelope to Kodak; they mailed the processed film back to you.

By 1995, when I shot this film, everyone was using video cameras, so whenever I shot with my Eumig, people would get a puzzled look and ask me what kind of camera it was.

A few things to notice in the film:
– In the third shot, you can see St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Sitka was once the center of the Russian American Company’s fur trade. Russian dances are performed daily for the tourists, most of whom are visiting for the day from cruise ships.

– What appears to be a very boring shot of a brick is actually part of a memorial downtown for fishermen who have died at sea. The brick in the shot is my Uncle Ron’s.

– I was lucky to catch two Red Snapper which you see being gutted in the film. To me they seemed huge – they ended up being our dinner – but nobody else was impressed; it seems Sitkans are only impressed by salmon.

– Late in the film, there are several shots of the salmon heading up the mouth of the river to spawn.

*I know, I know, whales are mammals! Music: “Krakatoa” by Clouseaux, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network.


Comment from Robert Croma
Time: October 16, 2007, -5

Strap me to the bow of a boat and take me to Alaska…please!

I must get to Sitka one day. Such a stunning location for a city. And again such fabulous footage.

The slapping whale was a pièce de résistance. Well, that and the balletic gathering of pre spawning salmon. Reminds me of swimming in the freezing pool of a Scottish highland river in the 70s, mesmerized by three beautiful salmon swimming past my goggles. Me almost forgetting to come up for air and just one shiver short of hypothermia!

Another piece of magic from one of my favourite places on the net.