My friend Joe Smith recently told me about a new communications app for cell phones called Periscope. Using the Periscope app, people broadcast videos that other people can watch live and that then stay available for viewing for just 24 hours. (Can you spell ephemeral?) I’ve gone ahead and joined, which is free, and while I was out doing my usual thing this morning I also created a few brief test videos about the native plants I was seeing. These are very much on-the-fly productions without the controlled quality of the still images that appear on this blog, but if you’re curious you’re welcome to have a look. Videos have a couple of advantages over still images:  things move (plants in the breeze, for example, and me)  there’s sound, so you get to hear my mellifluous narration (along with the noise of passing cars, etc.).
You can download the free Periscope app for iPhone at
and the free app for Android at
Once you have the app running on your phone, you can search for people by touching the icon at the bottom right of the screen, the one made up of three stylized people’s heads. I’m listed as Steve Schwartzman; you can also search for Portraits and the app will find my name. Once you find a person whose videos you want to see, you can press the circular icon with the plus sign to the right of the person’s name. From then on you’ll be notified of any new videos the person posts. And of course you may want to start posting videos of your own.