Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Time Lapse TC
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Time Lapse TC

Jason Hulet’s mind-blowing video of a city in progress

Robert Downes - January 21st, 2013  

What happens when you take more than 15,000 photos on a city street and spin them into a time lapse video?

For real estate photographer Jason Hulet, the result is a surrealistic portrait of a day in downtown Traverse City that has viewers on YouTube and Facebook awestruck over its psychedelic colors and dreamlike progression.

Scan the accompanying QR code with your smartphone or visit the Video Seen link at www.northernexpress.com to see for yourself. The 5-minute, 28-second video captures various downtown street scenes with people and cars flashing by in a flipbook action sequence while the colors of the buildings and pavement twinkle in vibrant tones and the clouds roil in waves overhead for an other-worldly effect.

Normally, Hulet, 43, spends his time taking architectural photos of homes to promote for sale. He shares an office with his wife, Nicole, a Realtor at Coldwell-Banker in TC.

A graduate of Leland High School where he served as photographer on the yearbook staff, Hulet studied photography at Northwestern Michigan College and attended Grand Valley State before launching his Hulet Real Estate Cinematography & Photography business in 2000. He and Nicole have been married for 21 years and have two children, Ashley, 15, and Emily, 13.


Hulet clearly has a creative side that goes beyond shooting area mansions. So how and why did he create his video?

“Well, it’s January, so I figured this is a good time to get artistic and have some fun,” he says with a laugh. “And that’s what I did a few weekends ago, doing some time lapse photography downtown. Then I thought I’d put a twist on it and do some HDR time lapse.”

What’s HDR? “Well, normally we think of a time lapse as taking a frame (photo) maybe once every five seconds,” he says. “What I’m doing is taking three frames every five seconds and then I use software to fuse those three into one frame that I’ll actually use. So I centerexpose it (the photo), underexpose it, and overexpose it and then those three exposures will be fused together to give me a high dynamic range (HDR).”

Typically, Hulet spends 15 minutes at each shooting location, taking photographs using what’s called an intramometer to control the shutter speed on his Canon SD Mark 2 camera. He chats with curious people strolling by, and in one scene early on in his video a homeless man takes a moment to gaze into the camera.

“I take about 900 images for every 15 minutes I’m on the street, but those are fused into 300 images,” he says. “That gives me about 20 seconds of actual time lapse for that segment.”


Back at his computer -- a 2010 Mac -- Hulet manipulates the resulting images, saturating their shadows and highlights to heighten their colors to an intense degree. He uses Photoshop and Final Cut Pro software to rev up the images and spin them into a video. “You’d be amazed at how gray the actual photos are,” he notes, adding that one of the toughest parts of the process is picking out music to go with the video.

He’s had over 600 YouTube views since putting his video online a couple of weeks ago, and the results are so impressive that the Grand Traverse Visitors Center is obtaining the rights to use his work. “The idea is to help highlight Traverse City,” he says.

Response to his video has been so supportive that Hulet recently traveled to Grand Rapids to shoot 19,552 exposures for two full days on that city’s downtown streets. He hopes that Grand Rapids will show the same interest in his work as the Visitors Center in TC.

“I’m going to keep the ball rolling. I plan on going to various cities of interest. It’s a great way to go to a different city, set up your tripod for 15 minutes and watch the heartbeat of the city and what’s going on. You really start to ‘see’ the city because you’re not rushing through it with the hustle and bustle and people come up and talk with you. You just notice things that didn’t occur to you before.”

The impressionistic artistry is what makes Hulet’s street scenes so compelling.

“I’m not looking for realistic images -- I’m looking to tantalize the eyes with color and see the city in a different way,” he says, adding that he’s also created about 300 still images from his video that have the same granular quality as the film.

“It’s a balance between what’s real and effects that make you wonder, when was this done and how was this done,” adds Nicole. “The video brings up a lot of fun questions and I think that’s what art really is -- it captures your eye and makes you ask questions.”

top: Jason Hulet fuses three photographs with various exposure settings into a single frame which is strung together with hundreds of other shots to create surrealistic street images. Scan the QR code with your smart phone or go to the Video Seen link at www.northernexpress.com to see Hulet’s 5:28 video.

right: Real estate photographer Jason Hulet with some of the equipment used to create his surrealistic time-lapse film of a day on the streets of Traverse City.

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