Place Report: Pine in the Sand

Place Report: Pine in the Sand

Pine in the Sand
Pine in the Sand

After the sprawling, messy, free-form expression along the Somerville Bike Path Sculpture Garden, I was up for something minimal and curated. 

Pine in the Sand fit the bill. It's a striking installation: a single living pine tree atop a sand dune, surrounded by concrete barriers and a cluster of granite blocks. 

It's also well documented, with a website that has a timelapse archive of the construction of the project, and some stills. It also has an Instagram hashtag

Surprising that a tree could live in that environment, but it's been there for a few years. Must be from hardy, Cape Cod scrub pitch pine stock. 

What makes it a place, not just a gawky art destination: the granite blocks that encourage hanging out in this sunny spot. 

I got a late start, again, so I shot a quick video, with an Osmo Pocket camera, on loan from Max Rottersman. 

The camera is unlike any other camera I've ever used, with a head that floats on three gimbels. So I tried to explore its unique capabilities. 

I got as far as testing it out on long tracking shots. It does stay steady on the horizon, even as you move around. It's kind of like a Go Pro, but with more image stabilization. 

So I walked around alot: circling the Pine in the Sand display, just outside the circle of concrete Jersey barriers. I also strolled along the sidewalk, and down some of the paths around the pine and the sand dune. 

One thing that helps explain the camera's reason for being: it's manufactured by DJI, the drone makers. So it was primarily created as a drone camera, which explains some of the horizon-locking settings. But in their repurposing, DJI has added some playful TikTok templates, which help you create frenetic videos from your footage. 

Maybe next time I'll just pick a template and let Osmo Pocket direct the shooting. 

Anyway, here's the video:

Pretty crude, right? 

Too dark (I've got to get out earlier in the day), and my first attempt at a voice-over is just what you would expect. 

Also, are those people on the beach really doing yoga? I just watched it again, and I think they are. They are on a yoga mat. And it's the same people we saw doing yoga a few seconds earlier. Is there such a thing as two-person yoga? I'm not going to change it. 

BTW, I recently came across a mention of "Cunningham's Law," can't remember exactly where. But according to Wikipedia, where I just looked it up, the law states that "the best way to get the right answer on the internet is not to ask a question; it's to post the wrong answer."

I'm surprised I hadn't heard about this law before, because... it's true, and I've frequently benefitted from it. I often find myself starting down a wrong path, until someone more knowledgeable says, "Oh, don't do it that way. Try this." 

I've horrified many engineers with the early versions of many of my projects, and most of the time these more experienced creators take a few minutes to set me straight. I think they are acting out of professional pride and an inner duty to a higher standard. 

The reason I bring this up is that I'm realizing that I'm taking the same approach to my blog posts, social media, and video projects. They're rudimentary and crude, but I'm getting a lot of good, instructive, feedback from people I know who know better.

So it's working for me, but I hope these rookie forays are not wearing out your patience along the way.