Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Grey morning

Saturday, 8 June, 2013

159/365 Tidal riverI planned to get up at 5:30 this morning and head out to the beach to take photos of the sunrise. Doing this is always a risk, because you can never tell what the weather will be like, and it’s difficult to tell when it’s still pitch black outside. I checked the rain radar and there were a few tiny specks around, but it was mostly clear. So I went out.

On the way to the beach (a 20 minute drive in the pre-dawn lack of traffic) it started raining. I parked at the beach and sat in the car for a few minutes. The rain eased off and stopped, so I ventured out. The sly was gloomy and the sun never showed its face through the hanging grey cloud. But I got some acceptable photos. There’s a stormy feel to them, which is fine, I guess. You can’t have a perfect sunrise every day!

Stuff I do

Thursday, 30 May, 2013

I tend to have quite a few projects going all the time. I thought I’d take a couple of minutes to list them all in a note-taking program. I was somewhat surprised with how long the list turned out to be. So I thought I’d share, so you have some idea of what sort of stuff I do in my “spare” time.

  • Webcomics
    • Irregular Webcomic! – I did this as a daily comic strip from 2002-2011. I’m no longer making daily comics, but am rerunning strips with additional writer commentary.
    • Darths & Droids – This strip started in 2007, and is ongoing, three times a week. I write it with a group of friends at work. We usually spend one lunchtime a week writing new strips and reviewing upcoming ones just before they are published.
    • mezzacotta – This is a combination webcomic and irregular blog of odd stuff. The comic actually needs no writing or maintenance, so it’s just the occasional blog post here.
    • Square Root of Minus Garfield – A Garfield parody webcomic, started in 2008, updating daily. Most of the strips are submitted by readers – my role is mostly selecting submissions to publish and adding them to the database.
    • Lightning Made of Owls – An original comic which readers contribute strips for. Started in 2008, updated three times a week for a long time but now subsisting on a trickle of submissions.
    • Comments on a Postcard – A “high concept” webcomic, again generated by reader submissions. Started in 2008, updated daily.
    • There are also two old webcomics which have petered out, so I’m not counting them as active projects.
  • Learning
    • Drumming – I’ve been taking weekly drumming lessons at Big Music since April last year.
    • Forming a band – With the friends from work who write Darths & Droids. We’ve only had a couple of practice sessions, but we plan more.
    • Italian – Learning on Duolingo.
  • Writing
    • Irregular Webcomic! essays – Since the daily new comics ended, I’ve been writing a weekly essay about some topic, often scientific, which appears on Sunday’s update instead of a rerun strip.
    • Travel diaries – Whenever I take a trip, I keep a daily travel diary. I stick them on my website when I get home.
    • Secret project – I have a secret writing project I’ve started and hope to finish some day.
  • Creative
    • Photography – I love taking photos. I take them on trips. I take walks and short drives around where I live to visit places just to take photos. I get up an hour before sunrise to go to the beach and photograph the sunrise. I post some of my photos on Flickr.
    • 365 Days Photography – This is a specific photography project. I’m aiming to take a photo every day during 2013. There’s a special set on Flickr for these.
    • Travel photo books – After an overseas trip, I like to assemble some of the best photos into a print-on-demand book, to give a copy to family members and keep a nice printed copy myself.
    • Puzzle solving – My work friends and I enter the annual MUMS and SUMS puzzle competitions. Our team is the CiSRA Puzzlers, and we have won a few prizes, including first place in MUMS in 2007.
    • Puzzle creating – My work friends and I run the annual CiSRA Puzzle Competition. We create our puzzles in our own time and test solve them during lunchtimes at work.
    • Sketching – I occasionally doodle and sketch things using Paper by 53 on my iPad.
  • Gaming
    • Roleplaying games – I haven’t actually run one for a while, but I always have roleplaying campaigns and adventures bubbling away in the back of my mind. I plan to run my friends through Tomb of Horrors (on the understanding that many characters will die and we shouldn’t treat it too seriously). I also plan to run a campaign based in the giant city of Ravnica, borrowed from Magic: The Gathering.
    • Magic: The Gathering booster drafts – My friends and I play semi-regular Magic booster draft tournaments, using the latest sets published by Wizards of the Coast. We also have a stash of old unopened booster packs going as far back as the original Ravnica block, which we occasionally mix and match to create weird hybrid draft formats. We do this sometimes during lunch breaks, and sometimes on Friday evenings.
    • Magic: The Gathering cube drafts – We create custom cubes for drafting Magic as well. So far, most of my playing group have created a cube which we have used. We’ve done powerful cubes full of high-powered cards, and quirky cubes, such as the off-colour cube (cards whose abilities violate the modern colour pie).
    • Magic: The Gathering invented sets – Not satisfied with what Wizards prints, we create our own entire sets and draft those. We’ve done a total of six different invented sets (from memory, it may be one or two more), and at least one of us is always working on another entire new set.
    • Board games – Sometimes we play board games at lunch. Favourites change over time, but have included Settlers of Catan, Formula De, Modern Art, Ra, Citadels, Poison, Tigris & Euphrates, Power Grid, Dominion, Blokus, Ingenious, Puerto Rico, Goa, Alhambra, Seven Wonders, Notre Dame. (I won’t link them all, look them up on BoardGameGeek.)
    • Invent board games – Not content with existing board games, we invent our own. Some are actually card games. Collectively we’ve invented something like a dozen games.
  • Physical activities
    • Walking project – I share this project with my wife. We have a map of North Sydney Council, in which we we live. We are in the process of walking the full length of every street and every walking track in the council area. We began two years ago, and might complete it this year. (The rule is: for a walk to count, we must do it together, and start and end the walk at our home – no car or public transport allowed.)
    • Stretching – Every weekday I do a short series of stretching exercises to strengthen my lower back muscles and keep my limbs flexible.
    • Swimming – From about October to April I swim. Usually 1200 metres, three times a week.
    • Tennis – I play tennis once a week. Well, up until a few months ago when my opponent had an injury. We should start again soon.

To close this post, I’d just like to say one thing. If your reaction to my list is to think, “Man, you have too much spare time,” then you are wrong. Please read this essay I wrote about creativity and spare time. I don’t think I can say it any better than that here. :-)

Mona Vale sunrise

Tuesday, 26 March, 2013

On Saturday I went out to a concert – the Sydney Symphony playing Carmina Burana – and so got home late. I wanted to get up early on Sunday to go photograph the sunrise (best time of year for it right now), but I was tired. So I decided not to set the alarm, but if I happened to wake up before 5:30, I’d get up and go out.

I slept solidly and when I woke up it was still dark. I turned to look at the clock… and it said 5:29.

So I got up and drove to Mona Vale, which is possibly my favourite beach and ocean baths for sunrises. It wasn’t a great sunrise, but I think it turned out to be worth it.

Muted fire

Tokyo!

Saturday, 26 January, 2013

I’m back from three and a bit days in Tokyo. Most of it was business, with meetings and stuff, but I got some time off to do some sightseeing. And there are a lot of sights to see in Tokyo. Here’s a photo from each day.

22/365 View from Shinagawa Prince Hotel, Tokyo

Tuesday I arrived after sunset. This was the view from my hotel room window in Shinagawa.

23/365 Tokyo parking

Wednesday I went to Shimomaruko for business meetings at Canon Inc. headquarters. Shimomaruko has a much smaller “village” feel than skyscraper feel, with detached houses and little fruit stalls and stuff in the streets.

24/365 Meiji Jingu Garden

Thursday I had a few hours free before meetings to tour Meiji Jingu, the major Shinto shrine in Tokyo.

25/365 Akihabara Electric Town

Friday I went to the National Museum, and spent some time in Akihabara, which is the major electronics retail area. It’s insane!

Four very different flavours of Tokyo in four days.

Fish & Chips & Riesling

Friday, 18 January, 2013

Friday night, dinner out. We went to Garfish at Crows Nest, a really good seafood place about 15 minutes walk away. The weather was really hot (new record all-time high temperature for Sydney at 45.8°C), so I opted for the beach feel with the simple fish & chips from the menu that includes a lot more fancy stuff than that. It’s really good fish & chips. And the wine was Brindabella Hills 2011 Riesling, from the Canberra wine district. Really nice, lemony, a bit of residual bubble, and a bare hint of the usual riesling stoniness. It went really well with the fish on a hot night.

18/365 Fish & Chips & Riesling

Morning swim, with satellite dish

Thursday, 17 January, 2013

The swimming pool at my work, with a view to the main satellite dish which I believe is used by Foxtel to uplink subscription TV broadcasts to their satellite. I went for a swim this morning. The pool is only 12 metres long, so I did 84 laps for a total of 1008 metres.

17/365 Dish in pool

The other end of the line

Wednesday, 16 January, 2013

And this is the other end of my daily train commute: Wollstonecraft station near my home. Much nicer than the underground station at Macquarie Park.

Trivia: My suburb, Wollstonecraft, is named after Edward Wollstonecraft, who settled the region after fleeing England to escape from the controversial notoriety of being related to his early 19th century feminist aunt, Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

16/365 The other end

The Station

Tuesday, 15 January, 2013

I catch the train home from work here every (working) day. It’s a fairly new station, opened in 2008. Before that I used to catch a bus to and from work. The train cut about 30 minutes off the trip in each direction.

15/365 Macquarie Park Station

Door to another time?

Monday, 14 January, 2013

Monday morning, so I thought I’d take a picture at work. I work in the same building as Foxtel has some of its offices. They seem to split them up by channel. So for example the ground floor houses the Weather Channel and Nickelodeon, both of which have signs and other stuff proclaiming them (such as the giant Spongebob Squarepants by the door). On the first floor there is this mysterious door off the lift lobby, with no other labels. I presume that behind it lurks either the BBC or Sci-Fi channel.

14/365 TARDIS door

I didn’t blog Saturday’s and Sunday’s photos, but if you want you can see them by clicking.

El Karim

Friday, 11 January, 2013

My wife and I usually go out for dinner on Friday nights. Tonight we went to El Karim, our favourite Lebanese restaurant. These are the felafels. Delicious as usual! You can see (most of) the rest of the dinner if you wish. (That one omits the fried halloumi, which we’d polished off already.)

11/365 Felafels at El Karim