a man feeding pigeons in the streets of Paris, France. Using a slow shutter speed she ws able to freeze the moment of the man tossing out bird seed to the pigeons that gathered around him. Photograph by Andrea Peter Fly
MIKE ROUSH / The Hidden Life of the Burrowing Owl / 5:16
I have always been fascinated by wildlife documentaries. As a kid I would take my mom’s camera and try and get as close to the neighborhood animals as I could. Most of the time this would mean long hours sitting motionless on the back deck with bird seed sprinkled on my lap and shoulders. I never got the shot I wanted, so when Chris and Shannon asked me if I wanted to make an animated film for Titmouse, I said yes before they finished asking.
Chris and Shannon Prynoski, Dik Pose, and I Line up a shot in the middle of nowhere. photo by Steve Kellener.
Early thumbnails of the burrowing owl.
“Owl” was animated in Flash. I used a technique where I would animate traditionally very rough, then I would take a second pass cleaning up symbols that I would be able to reuse later. Most of the final animation you see in “Owl” is puppeted symbol animation with hundreds of symbols and a different puppet for each shot. This way I could get the detail and animation quality I wanted.
The Flash break-down on one of the owl puppets. Lots of feathers!
One of my favorite parts of making this film was having to get out of the studio and go on location. I found an amazing place in central California called The Carrizo Plain using google maps. I spent the weekends driving all around taking pictures and exploring. Fun fact: The burrow used in the short was an actual owl burrow. On one of the days I was taking photos of the burrow one hissed at me from inside the burrow with it’s rattlesnake like call. It scared me nearly to death.
This is how I made all the “live action” backgrounds. I drew a storyboard of what I wanted and photo collaged lots of pictures together to make it look like what I drew. Unfortunately these places don’t exist in real life.
Whenever the owl had to touch the flower or fork, I took hundreds of photos, cut them out in photoshop and animated them. Fun.
On location I used a couple stand-in models to get the lighting right and a maquette when animating for inspiration.
I had a great time making this film and when I was done we were lucky enough to show it at festivals around the world. After 4 years the “Owl” showed at more than 40 festivals, in over 25 countries.
Winter is now approaching and its such a powerful time for weather magic, focusing on magic within the home and self reflection. Here’s some witchy winter things to do!
Collect pine cones for protection and to make the house smell good! You can use pine cone ‘thorns’ for protection or use them to leave offerings to nature as bird feeders! All you need is peanut butter and seeds for birds to eat.
❄️Winter water for winter magic! Snow water can correspond with patience, growth and purity. Blizzard water can be used for curses, banishing and concealing(since blizzards can bury things in snow). Icicle water for protection and defensive magic. Ice rain for petty hexes (think of uncomfortable falling debris constantly hitting you from the sky), or in a positive/neutral light- the accumulation of something.
Snow and Ice Magic
❄️Snow Sentinels to protect the home! You can mold them to look like ordinary snowmen or shape a monster from the snow! I dunno I would much prefer having a dramatic snow troll emerging from the icy depths of my front lawn then a jolly looking fellow but if your neighbors will start asking questions I guess just go for the usual unsuspecting looking snow man. Use them to ward unwanted energy and guests! Build a snowman around a witch jar if you really want to add extra magic and power to your snow sentinel!
❄️Make Ice lanterns especially if you celebrate Imbolc, Candlemas, Candle Day the Winter Crossquarter or (as Upthewitchypunx celebrates) Candlemark! It’s a beautiful and naturesque way to make your yard a glow in the dark times of winter. There are several ways to make it! (1, 2- preferred, 3, 4). Also it’s my Winter Crossquarter personal tradition to welcome the light back by putting out a new lantern every day after Yule and lighting it so that there is a new light. (often this accumulates up to 40 but it makes for a beautiful show). (Since I can only fit so many lanterns in my freezer and I don’t always have time to make more I usually end up making 10-15 and the rest are interior electric candles- just to give you some realistic obstacles to expect if you want to part take in that).
❄️ You can also make Ice Capsules the similar way to making ice lanterns in a balloon or in a cup and sealing your spells in there to be disposed of in nature. Sometimes witches like to bury spells in jars but that might not be the best thing for nature especially if you want to do that for most of your spells. There are great alternatives to burying your spell like in a wrapped leaf or in light paper that can break down easily, but you can be extra creative and seal them in an ice ball to be tucked away under snow.
❄️Cut out snowflakes for papercraft magic! You can write spells in them, or cut out symbols when they are folded up to make a kaleidoscopic piece. Envision something ideally something you’d want to last or stick around for. Cast this spell by dissolving it in snow water, freezing it in snow water and sticking it in the freezer or burying it in the snow outside.
❄️Charge your water safe crystals and tools in the snow! Gather some snow in a bowl and bring it to your altar to place your water-proof items within!
❄️If you work with the winter spirits make sweet ice offerings. Mix sugar water (heat it up first to get it well infused) and with an ice tray pour some in and maybe add some natural coloring or even small sliced fruit or berries to freeze! Pop the cubes out (bonus if you have cute ice trays like star shapes) and leave them out as offerings! You can also make stormsorceress’s snow fairy icecream to offer to nature outside as well!
❄️If you use Thawing Salt to for the ice on your property, you can bless it and also do magic to ward away negativity from around your home (since you usually have to spread it around your walkways) it makes for great wards to protect from icy roads and unpleasant energy!
❄️Frost Scrying can be done by divining the frost on icy windows!
❄️Winter is a time of self reflection, rest and hibernation. Don’t feel down if most of what you do this season is stay under the covers and sleep, it’s the season to slow down and relax. Do some self reflection, take time to meditate if you are trapped in doors. There are some really relaxing winter meditation sound tracks I love to listen to.
❄️Winter is also the season of physical self care or else it will get the best of your skin and hair. I see winter as Spa season cause it’s the best time to go to a sauna house and also a season I focus the most on moisturization. Make body butters with coconut oil or shea butter (depending on how dry your skin gets), add warming massage oil in your magical mixtures to give your skin a nice sense of warmth as you apply your body butters to begin your day! I love to use sweet warm scents in my body lotions such as cinnamon (which is also warming), and nutmeg and fragrance oils such as sugar cookie, caramel and brown sugar.
I like to use refreshing winter scents like peppermint and cedar oil in balms to apply on my chest when my nose is stuffy. Peppermint helps to clear up nasal passages. Make sure to mix only a little in cocobutter because it can be icy and uncomfortable if there is too much in the ratio.
❄️Enchant your Chapstick with protection! If you want to have a lip-pain free season, then you will be making the most with your chapstick! Add glamour magic to it if you want to use your chapstick to be more heard while speaking, have more appealing lips, whatever you like.
❄️Bless your clothing with protection. You can coat the dryer balls with cinnamon oil and also cedar for warmth (also cinnamon and cedar smells like a Christmas tree). You can use any oil that won’t stain clothing (most good essential oils won’t if it’s not directly on it) that you associate with warmth and protection to put on the dryer balls and it will help fluff out your sweaters, make them smell great and be an easy discreet way for glamour magic!
❄️Witches love to make spells with infused waters but you can do spells for teas since it’s basically hot infused water! Bless your thermos. Every morning make yourself a magical tea blend for your day before you leave for work or school. Peppermint for clarity, cleanliness; cinnamon spice for fiery energy, warmth, passion; black tea for alert energy, power; orange spice for zesty creativity; pomegranate for love and sensuality; nutmeg for attractiveness; ginger for protection and grounding etc. there’s many correspondences for these listed but also the majority of these help fight colds and lift the spirit so it’s good to drink. You can also use fresh fruit to add in the hot water and vitamin C packets if you need an extra boost!
❄️If you love lattes and making latte art I would highly suggest getting a Milk Wand! It’s a milk frother wand that can froth milk at a high speed (like a super highspeed whisk) and if you have the skill you can make latte sigils into your morning drink to give boost to your day. A fantastic idea queercraft posted is to steam Kava (and other herbs can work) into your milk to make morning latte. Its a great way to begin the day on a relaxed note.
Herbal Remedies can be helpful if you catch a scratchy throat or stuffy nose and want to help alleviate the common cold. You can check out this short and sweet list by Recreational Witchcraft of common herbal remedies that are practical to use in this season!
❄️Tree Decorations can be a great source of magic! If you celebrate Yule, Winter Solstice or Christmas and will get a tree make salt dough ornaments! You can make them very magical and add sigils for joy on them. You can also make spell bobbles for joy and peace! This video will show you how to craft a witch’s ball out of an empty tree ornament bobble for protection!
❄️Make Potpourri to help freshen the home! The air in the home can get stale due to lack of circulation since it’s too cold to open windows. Also day to day cleansing with refreshing peppermint, eucalyptus or pine helps refresh the air!
All right, here are all of the planets in our solar system. They’re all based on photos of the planets in question, except for Pluto. While we will likely have our first actual photos of Pluto in the next few weeks, these are just a celebratory mass of multicolored glitter for our favorite dwarf.
And in case you missed them, here are the starry void (A, B, W) and our sun, Sol (A, B).
The Sawmill Sink is a blue hole located in the Bahamas. It was originally the site of an archaeological dig meaning that it was once dry. As water levels rose, the hole slowly filled with water and preserved the bones that were within the hole. Fossils, including that of a giant tortoise, birds, seeds, flowers, and plants were discovered. The most intriguing thing found was the remains of a giant crocodile, which researchers believe were killed off by locals living in the area at the time. The hole also held the remains of some of the earliest known residents of the Bahamas. They were estimated to be around 1,050 years old.