Archive for the 'General' Category

General posts

Ohio Amish Farm

After crossing the Rockies and leaving Denver, we drove 1,500 miles to make our way to Ohio to visit my folks. It was chilly at 17°F. Today we took a leisurely drive around some Amish country in northeast Ohio, and even though the countryside is still stuck in the blah of winter, it's remarkably beautiful country.

Dinner at Der Dutchman was a fantastic followup.

Tomorrow we return the RV and head to the airport.

デンヴァー市から東へ、2,500kmの運転の後、僕が育った所(オハイオ州)に到着しました。 今日は実家から一時間位離れているアーミッシュの田舎を見に行きました。平穏な所です。


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Vacation Update: Crossing the Rockies

After arriving in Grand Junction Colorado and overnighting at the exceedingly clean and reasonable Junction West RV Park, we made our way farther east toward Denver...

Last night we overnighted at the overpriced and under-featured Dakota Ridge RV Park during a fierce windstorm that knocked the power out to the whole area. Very pleasant weather this morning to push farther east, though we haven't decided yet whether to go via I-80 or I-70...

Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Bryce Canyon Hike

After visiting Bryce Canyon National Park yesterday mostly by car, today we went back for a short hike.

Here's a bonus wigglegram:

This evening we're in Grand Junction, Colorado, four hours out from Denver. We'll probably stay in Denver tomorrow.

Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Bryce Canyon National Park

After arriving yesterday from Arizona, we spent the day at Bryce Canyon National Park. Not sure where we're heading tomorrow, but we've got to get moving east, so probably toward Denver...

Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

After yesterday's wonderful visit to the Grand Canyon, today outdid it.

This evening we're at Ruby's Inn near Bryce Canyon National Park. They have an RV campground that's not open yet, but they also have some RV spots with electrical hookup right behind the hotel, and that's where we're staying. This place is fantastic (best RV spot we've had so far), and we quickly decided to stay here tomorrow night as well so we can enjoy Bryce Canyon at leisure tomorrow.

Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Grand Canyon

After yesterday's drive from Las Vegas on our RV trip across America, we made it today to the Grand Canyon.

We're in Page Arizona tonight... tomorrow we visit Antelope Canyon.

Continued here...

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Vacation Update: Vegas to Williams

A quick update on today, of my vacation....

Tomorrow we see the Grand Canyon. I hope it doesn't make me woozie like it did when I first saw it at 10.

Continued here...

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Vacation Going Well… Just No Time to Write…

I've taken 1,000+ photos so far, but it turns out that I have absolutely zero free time to process them, or blog about the trip, at least so far. When I do get time (which may be after the trip is done), I'll start posting about it... hopefully making a diary for myself, and sharing a bit of Americana along the way.


Continued here...

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A Crazy Couple of Days in Silicon Valley

I've been in The States for two days now, getting read to start a drive across America in an RV. In the two days I've been here, I've gotten 5 days worth of stuff done, and had to let another week's worth fall by the side for lack of time.

Still, I've done plenty.... Highlights, lowlights, and notable experiences so far include:

Playing Ultimate Frisbee with old Yahoo friend Brian, and getting a tour of the WhatsApp offices and meeting some other old Yahoo friends there, including Jan (who used to play Ultimate with us back in the day, [...]

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Anthony Graduates from Elementary School

Anthony graduated from elementary school today, a big event in Japanese culture. I snapped the photo as we were heading to the school for the last time.

It reminds me of this photo of the two of them from the day he started elementary school half his life (six years) ago, and also the post about his going to school on his own for the first time. He's growing up all too quickly.

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Photo-Development Challenge Results #1: Hillside Temple Buildings

Today I'm sharing the first results from "Photo-Development Challenge: Inspire Me and Others With Your Artistic Interpretation". Today's photo is one of some minor outlying buildings at the Yoshiminedera Temple (善峯寺) in Kyoto, Japan.

First, let's look at the uninspiring original:

This was from a productive outing four years ago that produced "Temple Hopping in the Mountains of South-Western Kyoto", two examples for "Heading Out To Photograph The Fall Foliage? Don’t Forget The Polarizer Filter", and an item on "Visiting My Photo Archives: Random Pretty Shots #1".

For lack of a better idea, I'll present the various results in the [...]

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Another Nice (Tough!) Bicycle Ride in the Mountains Around Kyoto


Two days ago I did a short easy bicycle ride into the mountains of western Kyoto, but yesterday I did something a bit more ambitious. As seems to be the habit since my first ride with folks from Cycling Kyoto!, we met in front of the Starbucks on Sanjo Street. This time there were seven people total...

Today's route would be a repeat of one that Manseki had done two days prior, so he was group lead. We got moving at 9:20.

We spent the first 45 minutes heading east on Route 1. The route looks horrible in the [...]

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A Bicycle Ride to the Kuuya-taki Waterfall in Western Kyoto with Manseki Kanemitsu

Today I went out for a short, mostly-easy bicycle ride (track at Strava) with Manseki Kanemitsu, another member of the Cycling Kyoto! group on Facebook. Rain was forecast for the late afternoon so it was just us.

It was my first real ride since the grueling 90km mountain/snow adventure three weeks ago, and my third "real" ride in total, since my inaugural ride a month and a half ago.

(We're planning to do a more ambitious ride tomorrow with a larger group, so that'll be ride #4.)

We decided to head off to the Arashiyama area of western Kyoto, which [...]

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Performing Minor Surgery on a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens

I've had my Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (seen here) for more than eight years. I don't use it all that much anymore because for the last few years I've tended to prefer faster prime lenses, but it's a great lens for many situations.

I'm pretty tough on my gear... I don't baby it, I use it, and this lens is no exception. In particular, after using it all day in heavy snow five years ago ("First Look at Snowy Shirakawago Village"), the zoom became a bit less smooth. It wasn't so bad that it was worth the bother of having [...]

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Thoughts on the Venus/Laowa 60mm f/2.8 Super-Macro Lens

After seeing it mentioned on PetaPixel earlier this month, I ordered a Venus (LAOWA) 60mm f/2.8 Ultra-Macro lens. For less than $400 I didn't expect much, but it was worth a try.

(It seems they're changing their name from "Venus" to "Laowa". The Chinese characters for "Laowa" seem to be 「老蛙」, which means "Aged Frog", at least in Japanese.)

This is not a "review"... just some observations that I haven't seen others make yet, and some illustrative photos. In addition to the review on PetaPixel, other reviews I've seen include this and this.

For the TL;DR crowd, here in short [...]

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Photo-Development Challenge: Inspire Me and Others With Your Artistic Interpretation

A week ago I posed about a fantastic video of an experienced photographer giving a quick once-over to photographs submitted by strangers. The change from unprocessed original to processed result was often striking and of interest on its own, but the true value of the video was the running dialog of the what/why/how of his editing decisions. No right or wrong... just inspiration and ideas.

With that in mind, I think it could be quite interesting to see how different people interpret the same photo, so I'd like to offer a few unprocessed raw files from my own photo archives, [...]

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Filming a TV Segment about Mochi and Shiga

僕はテレベ出るかもしれない。来週の火曜日(24日)、関西テレベ放送のスーパーニュース アンカーの中 の短い部分、滋賀県の話題について。放送予定は17:20〜17:45です。よろしく!

I recently had a fun experience to be part of filming a short TV segment scheduled to be shown next week... it's scheduled to air on Kansai TV on Tuesday the 24th, during a bigger news program, sometime between 17:20 and 17:45.

The segment was part of a larger piece on Shiga Prefecture (the "state" next to Kyoto) and what it has to offer, and why it's not as popular among foreign tourists as Kyoto. The TV station was working with Tour du Lac Biwa, a tour company that provides day excursions into Shiga, in English, [...]

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Facebook Engineering Opens a Satellite Office in Kyoto (For a Few Hours)

Facebook engineer Ryan Mack and his wife Nadia and their blissfully-sleeping two-year-old took time from their 10-year-anniversary Japan trip to join me for dinner at Uroko (鱗) in downtown Kyoto the other night.

Ryan has sometimes provided help or insight on navigating the complexities of Facebook's third-party app API, which I must use for my Export-to-Facebook plugin for Adobe Lightroom, so I was happy to finally meet him in person. Meeting Nadia was a wonderful bonus, though I didn't really get to meet his son, who slept the whole time we were together. (Jetlag sometimes giveth, I guess.)

It's just [...]

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2015 Kyoto Marathon

Today was the 2015 Kyoto City Marathon. Just as when I blogged about the 2012 Kyoto City Marathon, I went out with the Nikkor 300mm f/2, but new this time is that I intended to try to photograph two acquaintances who had told me their intended pace and sent photos of what they were wearing.

To help increase my luck in picking out two faces from 16,000 runners, I set up a bit past the halfway point just before a turnaround, so runners were going both directions in front of me. If I suddenly noticed a friend going by one [...]

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Fantastic Video for Photographers: Get Inspired From Stu Maschwitz’s Artistic/Lightroom Agility

This is a fantastic video for photographers. (Note: I couldn't get the original Adobe Connect version to work in Firefox; it worked for me in Safari. In any case, there's now a YouTube version for easy viewing, though the video quality doesn't seem as good as the Adobe Connect original.)

In the video, visual artist Stu Maschwitz sits down to a blacked-out Lightroom catalog loaded with a couple dozen photos submitted by strangers, and one by one he unveils and processes them as the whim strikes him, providing a running commentary about his artistic reasons for doing things, or technical [...]

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