Monday, November 12, 2012

Toy Quartz Mountain?

OFAI photography faculty member Ben Long snapped this picture of Quartz Mountain during the last Fall Arts Institute weekend. It looks like a model version of the resort, but it's not! Not only that, there's no post-production or doctoring of the image. Ben explains:

The photo was created with a special type of lens called a tilt/shift. You can tilt and slide different parts of the lens to either correct perspective, or throw depth of field way out of whack.

When we see something with really shallow depth of field, we immediately assume it's small, because when you look at something up close, you don't see a lot of depth of field. So, by compressing the DOF to a thin slice across the middle, our brain interprets the resulting image as a miniature.

 I just climbed up behind the amphitheater with that lens. There's no post-production on that image. You can also shoot video through it, which is cool.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quartz Mountain Converts

Fair warning to our friends who hail from the coasts – we’re going to have a little bit of fun with you. ;)

As you probably know, every summer and fall artists from across the U.S. and beyond teach at Quartz Mountain. Most have never been to Oklahoma before, and almost none have been to Quartz. All are usually a bit apprehensive at the idea of teaching at an arts camp in the middle of nowhere in a state known more for its football programs than for its arts scene.

Each faculty member arrives with different expectations; some are thrilled at the prospect of spending time in a beautiful setting thirty miles away from the nearest drive-through, but for others, Quartz Mountain is just a little too “natural.” The staff often gets quizzed about exactly what types of bugs, reptiles, and animals might be lurking around the lodge.

My favorite faculty members are always the ones who undergo a complete evolution at Quartz Mountain – the ones who arrive fearful of the fauna, desperate for a Starbucks, and uttering “in New York…” every other sentence. But give them two weeks in southwest Oklahoma, and they are extolling the deliciousness of chicken friend steak, proudly sporting a new piece of western wear, and asking when they can come back and teach again. And then, they utter our favorite phrase – “Why doesn’t my state have something like this?”

Certainly, we wish every state had an Oklahoma Arts Institute. While there are similar programs in other states, there’s nothing like OSAI anywhere in the world. So while we wish we weren’t quite so unique – every artist deserves to participate in a program like ours -- we do feel gratified when our faculty recognize just how special our programs, location, and of course, our students, truly are.

We’ve said it before, but it’s impossible to experience Quartz Mountain without leaving a little bit of your heart behind. Until we can gather at Quartz again, under those modest hills we call mountains, please keep in touch.