Archive for the 'Non Kayaking' Category

Greenland architecture

January 12, 2007

copyright not mine

Those Greenlanders are really good designers as well as kayakers.  Image from here (Though someone should mention that the stainless steel flue on this building doesn’t extend high enough up and there is a risk of noxious gases entering in through the window – wouldn’t pass British Building regulations lol).

I posted another image on the architecture of greenland here. There is a catlalog and history of Greenland’s architecture here.

There was also a well known photographer who recently spent a while in Greenalnd photographing the architecture – I’ll need to find that source again and post it here.


Yakuza confessions

January 10, 2007

I will post my book to the first person to send me their address.


I’ve been reading about a few good books Inshore Britain and Scottish Sea Kayaking fifty great sea kayak voyages both blogged by Douglas Wilcox (here and here) and Caileen MacLeod posted a rather droll item about the books he’s reading too. It made me think though of the book I’ve just finished with great regret as it was good and all too easy to read.

Confessions of a Yakuza: A Life in Japan’s Underworld which is absolutely not what you would imagine it to be. It is in effect a historical, biographical story of a man from the age of 16 spanning abouyt 50 years from 1920. His life crosses a time of great change in Japan and his job is both not that interesting and not that large a part of the book. The other parts include life in rural Japan, mining in the mountains, surving the firestorm after the great Tokyo earthquake of 1923, his time a soldier in Anexed Korea, prison treatment and police brutality.

The last two were interesting for me. There is still a lot of bitterness towards Japan from former POWs (and Korean and Chinese civilians) over their mistreatment. The Japanese have never really apologised for anything that happened in the wars (and inter-war too). There is a very good account of civilian prisoners in my neighbouring prefecture of Fukushima here. It concludes that:

“As a guard told us on one occasion, the Japanese police treat their own people the same as we were treated, and he, therefore, couldn’t see that we had any possible grievance. “
This book describes some of the mistreatment and this rings very true. Perhaps the Japanese just didn’t see that their behaviour required an apology. It somehow enamours me to the Japanese, perhaps in a perverse, British since of fairplay way.

Anyway back to the point of this post: I bought this book on hogmany and finished it on new years day, its a quick read. I don’t know what to do with it now, it’s not worth carrying all the way back to the UK and there’s not much demand for 2nd hand books here. So I had the brainwave; if anyone wants to read this book (I recommended it) write a comment and email me your address. I will post it for free to the first person to do so.

read an excert of the book here
and an interesting controversy about Bob Dylan, this book, and plagarism here


I found a new relationship to kayaking:

“Probably a bored Taiwanese fisherman with nothing better to do than toss messages overboard,” says Yamamoto-san, a weathered, chain-smoking 40-something who runs his own sea kayak touring business, who I meet on my way back to Iriomote’s languid port of Ohara. “This kind of thing turns up now and again.”

He calls himself Papillon—French for “butterfly”—and his little finger is missing below the first knuckle, which usually implies some affiliation with the yakuza. I remind myself not to ask him where he keeps his petty cash.

here. Will need to look up this Papillon

Sea kayaking photography

December 11, 2006

Sea kayaking is a highly photogenic sport.


this image from the patagonia website in July.

There are a number of very good photographers who also blog about their stuff. Douglas Wilcox who I posted about last week is one. Is in conversation in a podcast with Simon Willis from sea kayak routes dot com listen to him talk about photography here.

There are also others who take great pictures.

Paddling with a camera is a blog by Marek Uliasz a hard core fitness padlder, mountaineer and photographer. He has some great images and, even better, reviews of cameras, tips and hints. Interestingly he mounts his camera in various positions…


Mark Sanders has a few linked sites including surfnturf where this series of amazing pictures (of some amazing skill) was posted




Mark also explains that he has a paddle mounted camera… interesting


Then there is the more commercial end but non-the-less amazing. John Bowermasters Oceans 8 expedition has some amazing images like these



August 18, 2006

I’m oan the sick. The subject of a hilarious three hour diatribe by a friend of mine and the case at the moment. A full week off work, and two weekends ruined, and even still I feel terrible; like I’ve played 90 minutes of football; can’t catch my breath…

No paddling for two weeks and had to cancel this weekend’s trip with Nori. (Sorry)

Just to have an image to post I thought this was beautiful in a disgusting way:


from here

A photographic technique

July 31, 2006

I’m back from summer holiday.

I went kayaking near Nagoya and will write up a report just as soon as the company who I went with send me a copy of their pictures.

In the mean time I want to tell you about High Dynamic Range Images (HDRI).

In Japan shadows are everything (*) and capturing them with a camera is difficult. HDRI is a technique that I read about that I tried out for the first time on holiday over the last week. Here is my first ever effort at a HDRI:

HDRI image

Its a house in the famous Shirakawa-go (white river village). I took 3 pictures at different exposures wthout a tripod (pretty good considering) and meshed them together using photomatix.

Here are the originals:


While my effort here is pretty garish I still like it and definately want to experiment with this more. I have been thinking about recording some of the (less famous) rural architecture of Japan…

A brilliant use of 5k

June 20, 2006

Here is a website (that only works with IE) that you can use to pick colours for your website. As you may or may not know HTML requires colours to be reprsented in code form; so red = #FF0000, black = #000000, White = #FFFFFF etc. This website allows you to pick your colours. No need to install any software, no hassle, it just works. And it was written using just 5,120 bytes.
It is in my opinion, fantastic.

A beautiful blog

June 15, 2006

But then you'd expect that he's a blog designer.

Have a quick look then wish you could do that here. 

Test post – image compression

June 15, 2006

Here is my example

19k file

19k file

8k file

8K file

Both these images are 100x100mm x 72 dpi. One is more compressed using photoshop. I don’t understand why they should be sized differently?