Caving, Hiking, Nature - videos and photograpy

About Hodag Video Productions

Who am I?

Dave SockyI have been caving for 25 years, and have been doing still and video photography for 23 of those years. I started caving in 1973 from Louisville, Kentucky, where I was working for General Electric. I went caving almost every weekend in Kentucky and Indiana, plus a few excursions out west. When I moved to Circleville, Ohio, I bought a 35 mm camera. I was still caving almost every weekend, surveying caves, drawing maps, and taking many pictures. I even entered some of my prints and slides in the NSS Photo Salon. I garnered at least one Honorable mention.

After spending one year in Circleville , Ohio, I moved to Cleveland to work for General Electric's lamp facility at Nela Park. After putting up with Cleveland for five years, I obtained a better job (and location) with GE in Roanoke, Virginia in the fall of 1981. My primary criteria for a new location was that it had to be within a couple hours of decent caves, of which Roanoke fit the bill very good. What made Roanoke even better was the fact that it was not a large City - it is also were I met my wife, Mary Sue, who is also a caver.

After reaching saturation for still photography, I switched over to cave videography in 1983. Since then, I have slowly been improving my video equipement and my editing skills. What really kept me going in the hobby of videography was the purchase of a non-linear, digital editing system. The editor I use is manufactored by Draco, Inc in Colorado and is called the Casablanca. This system made it far easier to edit video over linear or tape to tape editing. The quality of the distribution takes also increased by orders of magnitude.

What do I do?

Anything about Hodag Video Productions is about me, Dave Socky. I am a one person enterprise (which is more of a hobby than a business), and specialize in videos about caves and caving. I produce documentary type videos about specific caves or caving areas, conservation and/or educational programs, semi-fictional programs about caves and cavers, and even fun MTV style "music videos" about caves and cavers. I do more then just caving videos, though. I've produced 2 programs of plays and variety shows put on by our local elementry school. I did a 10 minute program about a charitable organizations help in constructing a school playground. And I have even done a program on a retirement dinner, and one family wedding (The wedding was in the family. I do not do weddings, but this one was done as a family favor).

About Hodags

What in the world is a Hodag?

Photo of a HodagThe Hodag, a creature native to Wisconsin, has the head of a bull, the back of a dinosaur, and the leering features of a giant man. Its legs are short, its claws are long, and its tail is spear-tipped.

It is a supernatural beast. According to legend, in its first life it took the form of an ox that belonged to Paul Bunyan. Upon its death, the ox was burned for seven years to cleanse it of the profanity of its master. But seven years was not long enough. The soul of the ox emerged from the ashes in the shape of a Hodag, exuding a foul odor.

Eugene S. Shepard and a group of companions tracked the creature down to Rhinelander, Wisconsin where they succeeded in capturing it. After its capture the creature was displayed for many years at country fairs. The exhibition of the Hodag usually occurred in dim light. According to malicious rumors, what was actually exhibited was a large dog over which a horse's hide had been stretched, but such rumors have never been substantiated.

The Hodag's name comes from combining the words 'horse' and 'dog.' It is also known as the Bovine Spiritualis.

Jack Cory, editor of the Rhinelander Daily News, once hypothesized that the Hodag was "the long-sought missing link between the ichthyosaurus and the mylodoan" of the Ice Age.

Pictures showing a Hodag surrounded by men with pitchforks (similar to the one to the left) appeared on many Wisconsin postcards during the first decades of the 20th century. The same pictures also hung in many saloons.

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