Blog-Archive

2014/04/21

Some Lightpainting - first try

What to do when the weather does not present any opportunity to do some nice photography outside? Well, take pictures inside, obviously. First time I tried some lightpainting.

first try: my trusty Yamaha acoustic guitar, and some lines painted with a cigarette lighter

then I went into the bathroom, to  have some light pouring into my tub...

next some burning hot music. did this by placing candles on my turntable and turning it on

last but not least, set some a toothpick on fire and let it dance around my whisky

This is a hell lot of fun, and I will probably continue doing it...  I will keep uploading them to my set on flickr:
Lightpainting - a set on Flickr

Stay enlightened ;-)

2014/04/06

Super GT Weekend at Okayama 2014


Getting up at 04:00 in the morning on a Saturday after a long week of work, only to jump onto a train for almost 4 hours ... there must be a good reason for doing that kind of thing! And indeed there is, and for people who like the smell of gasonline and have to grin uncontrollably at the sound of engines backfiring, this reason is called motor sports.


Specifically, this weekend it was called SUPER GT, and the season start of 2014 in a remote place called Okayama, Japan.

To sum it up: it was lots of fun, the weather could have been better, but it is definitely worth the trip.
And of course I made some pictures. Divided into two for easier viewing pleasure: RACE and PIT.

Here's the link to all the RACE pictures at my flickr photostream:
Super GT 2014 - Okayama [Race]

Examples:



Here's the link to all the PIT pictures at my flickr photostream:
Super GT 2014 - Okayama [Pit]





2014/04/01

A walk around Tokyo Tower by night

Nothing special here, just taking the Pentax K-5IIs out for a walk around Tokyo Tower...
More interesting pictures will hopefully come up again.

Taken on a tripod, 3 images HDR
Cherry Blossom and Tower number 1, HDR again
Cherry Blossom and Tower number 2, HDR once more

Some B&W white view of the Tokyo Tower
Triumph shop looking good with the Tower in the background

2014/03/08

Hiking in Japan - Mount Ryuugatake (竜ヶ岳)

Sometimes Tokyo is a little bit depressing to me. Everything is full of blinking lights, advertisments, people, and concrete. No nature to be found, no quiet (unless you count the various parks, which are, to be honest, not the real thing).

So that's why it can be very nice to get out of town once in a while. For me, this weekend it was finally hiking-time. Since we are now in the off-season, a lot of the mountains are closed (I don't even know how that is supposed to work, how can you "close" a mountain?) and tourist numbers are very limited, since outdoor people are now drawn to the skiing areas.


So, in order to carefully test the waters of "hiking in the snow without any proper gear", I decided to not go too far up. I chose Mount Ryuugatake. I will not bore you with my description of the way there, partly because I am lazy and partly because Wes Lang already made a very nice job of doing that: http://japanhike.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/ryuu-ga-take/
Check out the site, it is really nice.


Once I got to the foot of the mountain is was surprised by the wall of snow on the side of the road, and one of the few other hikers I met on the way up was quite surprised to find out that I did not bring any "Eisens". Seems I was the only one without any crampons on that mountain that day.

turns out "boots only" left me a bit underdressed in the weather conditions
the start of the "path" up the mountain...
yeah, without the tiny red flag I would not have found it either

The hike itself is very nice, and - in winter, with snow up to your knees - quite demanding. It starts very steep, and only after a lot of sweat being shed on slippery serpentines in the woods, you finally make it out of the trees. Once there, the view is absolutely worth the effort. Mount Fuji seems to be just a few meters away, large as it looms over everything around.




various views on mount Fuji on the way to the top of mount Ryuugatake

I fell on my face quite some times, since the frozen snow was constantly breaking under my considerable weight, leading to me sinking in up to my knees (and in some places up to my hips).

steep is the way to nice views

snow... so much snow...

the weather was perfect, just warm enough to set some of the icicles to melt

the treacherous ground giving way wherever it can
stalling me, making it hard to labour uphill

On the top, I met the hiker from the beginning of the journey again, and after some friendly chat I set to cook some soup to reward myself with.

Otsukaresama desu!
お疲れ様です

cooking time!
Mahlzeit!

See you again soon, Mt. Ryuugatake! As soon as you get rid of all that snow...

2014/03/02

The road less travelled in Thailand - Enduro Tours!

What comes to mind when you hear the word "Thailand" as a response to the question "where did your last vacation take you"? Sandy beaches, palm tress, Ko Samui and Phuket, and the obligatory enjoyment of the nightlife in Bangkok. Right?

Wrong. Well, at least partly wrong. That might be Thailand, but it's not all there is to it.


In February 2014 I took a guided Enduro Tour through the north of Thailand with 3 fellow motorcycle fans. The start and end of the tour was in Chiang Mai, and it was organized and run by the fellows at siamenduro.com.


A pickup was organized from Chiang Mai airport, from where we went to the "basecamp", a compound owned by the tour company and equipped with a main house and some bungalows for the guests. The atmosphere was friendly from the start, and reminded more of a get-together of friends rathern than a booked tour. The best indicator of that was the fridge filled with water, beer and soda open for self service, where everybody kept his own tally of how much he consumed.


The bikes for the tour were provided by siamenduro.com: Kawasaki KLR 250's and Honda CRF 250's. Riding with the group was our local tourguide Tommy, who not only spoke perfect English and was an experienced rider, but also provided lots of insights into local culture and philosophy - and is a very gifted storyteller and entertainer. Following behind the group - wherever the roads allowed it - was Siamenduro Founder Walter in his trusty Toyota 4WD pickup - just in case something breaks or somebody needs a lift as a result of a slide/crash/fall.


Fortunately nothing serious happened during our tour (although all but one participant fell at some point), so we could concentrate on enjoying the weather, the landscapes, the food, and most importantly the various different offroad paths that we had to conquer on 2 wheels. After 6 nights I was exhausted, beaten, dusty and sweaty. And I felt great. Anybody with a motorcycle drivers license who has never been offroad should really give it a try. Since the travel speed is much slower than on the road - tricky passages often slow an unexperienced driver like me to not much more than walking speed - a potential fall does nothing more than cause a few bruises.

And the experience of travelling the lesser travelled path - that is well worth a few bruises. Go to siamenduro.com for more information.