Tuesday, May 22, 2012 

Hey there friends of BigfootSongs - how have you been? the site has a new URL - http://www.bigfootsongs.blogspot.com/.

I haven't been posting much but have been active on Facebook - so friend me there in you'd like. I did travel to see the Annular Solar Eclipse on Sunday and got very lucky to take this photograph! That was a great experience in the hot Sacramento Valley town of Chico, California.

(the Ring of Fire during the Annular Solar Eclipse on May 20, 2012.)

(the eclipse as the moon moved out of the "ring" of the sun.)

Here's what's been going on. In April, the Bay Area Bigfoot group held 2 Footprint Documentation and Casting workshops. These took place at Joyce's family home in San Mateo and went very well. We impressed copies of bigfoot casts into sand and dirt to mimic a possible trackway.

(Our practice trackway at the first Footprint Documentation and Casting Workshop.)

If you found something like this in the woods and were of a mind to document it, the first step is to get out your camera and a tape measure. No tape measure on hand? Then please use an item of known scale - AND NOT YOUR SHOE OR BOOT! (not scientifically acceptable)...a dollar bill, your driver's license, a quarter - anything that can place known scale into the photographs.

(Photograph of the practice track during the workshop. Also ready to measure the length of the track.)

Then start shooting - at least 3 to 5 photographs from different angles. Straight over the print, from the sides, from the bottom of the print, etc. Also, be sure to take some general photographs of the scene - especially the trackway if there is more than one print. Next, begin your measurements. Length of print from toe to heel. Width of print across the ball of the foot and across the heel.

If there is more than one print, measure the STEP between the two prints - yes we think of that as a stride, but it's the step. From the same spot on either print (that is, toe to toe or heel to heel) is how you measure the step. If there are 3 or more prints, you can then measure the STRIDE - the distance between where the same foot strikes to where it strikes again. So, for example, from right foot heel to the next right foot heel would be the STRIDE. Those are the key measurements to take. Note the location, the conditions in which you found the tracks and any other notable details associated with the find.

That's what we do before mixing and pouring plaster. Basically, we discourage the use of Plaster of Paris (too brittle) - and encourage you to use a patching compound such at Fix-It All (widely available wherever Plaster of Paris is sold.) If you have access to US Gypsum's Hydrocal, that is best. It's not as widely available at Fix-It All but is comparable in price if you find a specialty store that sells it.

(Mike and Duffy mixing and pouring plaster into their practice prints.)

Mix your plaster to the consistency of pancake batter - maybe just a little thinner if there are details to capture. Then carefully drip an initial layer of plaster throughout the print. We call this the "splash coat" but only splash it in by flicking plaster off your fingertips if the print is in moist soil. If the substrate is dry and dusty, drip it carefully into the print. (If you are super prepared, you can apply a coat of hairspray to dry soil to set the print before casting.) This initial layer may take several minutes so be patient.

Then immediately add the rest of the plaster to fill in the print. If it is a shallow print, build up a dam around it using sticks and dirt. Make sure your cast is at least 1/2 to 1 inch thick. That's the purpose of framing it in - to add more plaster. Depending on the temperature, you will see the plaster sets very quickly. After 10 minutes or so,  you will still be able to scratch the date and location into the plaster. Do so with a stick or knife. Wait until it is solid and then remove the cast carefully by digging around and under it until you lift out a dirt caked cast from the grouund. Now, get it back home in one piece! :-)

Wait for a week to let it cure before cleaning it off. You can use water and a soft brush to do this. There you go! Hope this helps if you ever come upon possible prints. And please let me know if you do! I'd be there as quick as I could get there.

(the group poses with their practice casts after the first workshop.)

Yakima Bigfoot Round-Up Tom Yamarone - Songs For A Bigfoot World