Tuesday, June 29, 2010


flowers at work, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

The thing that really does brighten up our grey workplace, in the toxic waste part of town, is Kubota-san's fantastic Ikebana art.

[taken with Sony TX5 using flash and "hdr" mode - this camera improves its tiny sensor by being capable of 10fps and having several modes that combine exposures in various ways.)

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Monday, June 28, 2010


Fuji-san, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Fuji-san before it disappeared for the summer...

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Thursday, June 24, 2010


A flower outside work, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Number 4in the series "the toxic waste part of town where we work".
Numbers 1,2 and 3, here, here and here.

Thinking I'd been making rubbish pictures for long enough, and that my reader might takeaway all my cool toys if I didn't improve, when recently some blog posts about composition appeared I paid attention. This is the toxic result.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yokohama JR Station, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

We'd heard stories of the lengths that phone companies go to in order to delay cancellation of a phone contact, so at the weekend James headed to Yokobashi Camera Softbank desk prepared for the worst. He needn't have worried. This is Japan. He was served in 3 minutes by a young woman who seemed so sad to be cancelling the contract, but did so immediately, and with no fee. It was such shockingly good service that we left feeling we would gladly sign up again, should they produce an attractive deal some time.

jules was too distracted with the second part of James' cunning plan to notice her sweet iphone 3G connectivity was being plundered....

I already blogged Widney, our new pet, and the first part of James' cunning plan. The second part was even more cunning. He was aware that a new iphone was about to come out with a new flashy camera that would no doubt seduce his wife, which would mess up all his cleverly laid plans. So when, after yet another very wet mountain walk, she expressed interest in an ipsy wipsy waterproof, cold proof, shockproof pink camera, he feigned fascination and gladly handed over the two and a bit 10,000¥ notes required to pay for it (despite being a new model it was on sale). It is a Sony TX5 - and it even takes photos underwater - and took several of the photos I blogged from our latest mountain trip as well as the photo above (see here for my flickr set from the camera.)

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Geek photography

I'm still not bored of our last mountain trip, especially because now rainy season has started, I know things are now very different up there. The excuse for another post is that I got my film back from Yodobashi Camera.


Day 2: The moon at Karasawa Curl

At Karasawa Curl

Day 3: Since I don't have a tripod, here's evidence that we weren't the only ones up at stupid o'clock.

Sunrise from Kita Hotakadake

Stupid o'clock - Yarigatake

Yarigatake at sunrise

Stupid o'clock, Hotakadake

Hodaka from Kita Hotaka

Now for extra super cool geek part. The picture with the moon in, and the one of Yari were both taken with an 100mm f2.8 lens. Such lenses are typically huge, heavy and expensive - they have to be big so they can catch all those photons - right? Not so great for taking up mountains! Turns out they don't have to be big at all...at about about 2 inches long and about 200g, the 1980 Series E is the smallest 100mm lens Nikon have ever made. It is also very cheap. The catch - it neither focuses nor exposes on most modern cameras, my N80s film camera included! Needless to say it also doesn't have the other "features" that weigh down modern lenses, such as image stabilisation. The lack of exposure isn't a deal-breaker on a digital camera since you can take a picture, look at it, adjust settings and take another. Not so easy for film - unless you have a light meter, which I don't. What we did was use our point and shoot digital cameras to take exposures, then do some sums and work out the exposure for the film. What a lot of fun it was doing mental arithmetic at stupid o'clock. ...adjust aperture and speed from P&S exposure to something the camera can actually do (and with 1/100th second or faster shutter speed), adjust exposure for different ISO, and for the polariser if necessary... check by considering sunny 16 rule... press shutter. It worked! Perhaps I should more often try thinking before I shoot...

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Friday, June 18, 2010


Hachimangu at night, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

As a friend for yesterday's photo, here's our other OKish night-time shot. Taken by James, with his Panasonic LX3 on his mini-tripod in early May.

Panasonic prefer to make the night sky fantastic purple, while Nikon (yesterday's photo) head towards an unfortunately more realistic neon effect.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Last Friday we went to see fireflies (hotaru, 螢) at Sankeien garden. They were really good, but don't photograph well, so here is a picture of the irises and pagoda and stuff instead.

The garden feels rather Victorian (opened in 1906), and was built by a guy who got rich in the silk trade, and transported buildings from various places in Japan...including some tea houses, some buildings taken from Kyoto temples, and even a gassho house. It feel quite fake compared even to "real Japan", but if you just think of it as a garden-museum type of thing then it is very pleasant.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Daiyuzan Saijo-ji temple, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Another photo from the huge Daiyuzan temple.

James asked why I didn't blog a picktur yesterday. WIRES are to blame. They sent the proofs for the brilliant paper I wrote, all messed up into a dumb-ass American accent, so I had to go through every word to put the meaning back into my sentences. So a job that should have taken an hour at most took the best part of the day. It was really annoying. I thought we'd evolved beyond such rubbish. Another vote therefore for the EGU journals (like this one). There, if the editor and reviewers thinks the paper is comprehensible, it goes to press as-is. Accents of German, Chinese, Italian, American, English, French, Japanese, etc are all OK - we can all understand each other. Makes me think that some Americans need to get out more...

Ommmmm....

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Monday, June 14, 2010


Daiyuzan temple, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

It was only after I got a print made of this photo and stuck it to the side of my cubicle that I realised how much I like it. It seems that some pictures are better viewed from a distance, framed by wall. I wonder how long we will have to wait for electronic picture viewers that are about the same thickness as a photographic print.

The photo, taken on a walk with Helen the sister in law in April, is of an upper part of Daiyuzan temple, previously visited last May (see picture here).

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's behind you!

Since yesterday's post was so popular... OK I lie - but I liked it. Here's another set - mostly same times and places, but looking the other way.


Day 2: Looking back down Karasawa valley, James enjoys arty B&W mode.

Karasawa valley and Yokoo-one ridge

Day 2: Panorama looking South rather than North

Hotakadake

Day 3: Stupid o'clock - looking South

Morning light on Okuhotakadake from Kita Hodaka

Day 3: Stupid o'clock - looking West!

Dawn on Kasa-ga-take from Kita-Ho

Shortly after stupid o'clock - looking South-East-ish can you see Fuji-san in the distance?

Morning glow and distant Fuji-san

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pre-rainy-season raid on Kita Ho


Day 1: Flat trudge

Walking up the Azusa river

Day 2: Steep and scary

Climbing up to Kita Hodaka


From the top: A panoramic view. See the hut perched near the summit.

Panorama from summit of Kita Hodaka

Day 3: Stupid o'clock

Morning light on Yarigatake from Kita Hodaka

Shortly after stupid o'clock

Mountain ranges in the morning

Then we re-traced our steps home. Easily the most frightening bit of the trip was the early morning of the last day, heading off the ridge down the vertical slope, before the sun had softened the snow. No photos of this. Too scared. As soon as we got a few hundred metres lower it got easier, and we even had some fun sliding down the last bit on our arses, using our ice axes as rudders.

Probably just look like normal mountain pictures to you... but I still can't believe we made it to the top (and back) in the snow, and that this famous Kita-Alps ridge was clear all day.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Gendarmes, Kita Alps, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Two weeks ago, we said to ourselves that if rainy season hadn't arrived, we'd go and climb the ginormous and snowy Kita Hotakadake (I'd just read Tsubakuro's blog on the subject). The weather called our bluff to such an extent that, amazingly, we couldn't think of a single reason to be lazy, and James is now a pretty patchwork of red and white, due to slapdash application of the factor 40.

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Friday, June 4, 2010


Takami-ishi, Yatsugatake, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Another snap from the PAYG camera. It is funny that while James is clearly taller than Fuji-san here he appears dwarfed by some not very big rocks. It must be some sort of optical illusion.

[One again, an amazing mind-reading exposure from the N80s.]

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Thursday, June 3, 2010


shorts and winter boots, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

Having been quite upset that the scans from the first 3 films were cropped compared to the transparencies, chopping off things that I considered important details in my pictures, for the 4th film from my new PAYG camera I took the bold move of opting for the pricier scanning company: 2100¥ to develop and scan one 36 slide roll. Result: No crops! Yay! Furthermore, the scans completely trounce both our Nikon D40 and Panasonic LX3 digicams in terms of both colour depth and resolution. The exposure of the N80s is also amazing. I really didn't expect this shot to come out, with the dark shadows and James' legs being harshly lit by the sunshine.

Such things may not be so important for most photography, but it really seems to make a difference in the mountains and I now have some inkling of why people make the effort to heft those medium/large format cameras and tripods all the way up the mountains.

Of course, I am no where near skillful enough to photograph insects or birds or candid shots of people, or even close-ups of flowers with a film camera, so I still need my digi training wheels. Additionally, the 1-2 week delay of film processing doesn't exactly fit in with the daily blog concept too well! Nevertheless, even with the more expensive scan it is an awful lot cheaper and, importantly for mountains, lighter, than a D700 (221,000¥, 1kg!) which I guess may be closer to it (or better?) in terms of image quality.

[Taken on our last mountain trip to Yatsugatake with N80s]

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Wedding Cosplay, originally uploaded by julesberry2001.

While I am sure I haven't yet achieved my aim of my photos being worth 1000 words, this one is, I hope, worth at least a few dozen.

According to Wikipedia: Cosplay (コスプレ), short for "costume play", is type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea.

[photo taken at Hachimangu, Kamakura.]

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