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3 entries from July 2009

Photo Friday: Cameraphone Shot

Cameraphone photo

No entry for this week's Photo Friday competition.   They demand a picture taken on a cellphone.  In spite of the fact that I own several, I have not yet taken a photo with one.

Why so many cellphones?   Try living on four continents in ten years.  One of the phones comes from Telstra in Australia, two from work in Germany, one from Cingular in the USA, and a free-radical 3G model from Malaysia for travel to Japan, fitted with a German drugstore SIM card. 

In theory, you can unlock any out-of-contract handset, and slip in any GSM card.  In practice, it's not so simple.   Ask a phone company employee to sell you a plan without a phone, and their brain explodes. 

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EDIT: For those who asked, yes, I carry a camera most of the time.  It's the smallest I could find with a decent optical zoom; a Panasonic Lumix LX1.  The example of Rick Kennedy's website and books on Tokyo, plentifully illustrated with shots from his ancient 110, got me into the habit.  It's four years old now and has taken around 8,000 snaps.  The autofocus is beginning to give out.  Time for a new one, maybe. Any suggestions?

Funny, no matter how ubiqitous cameras become—no matter whether we find them in our pockets, telephones, computers, dashboards or refrigerators—an old-fashioned photo on paper still holds a mystique.  Doesn't it?

Love in front of he camera 

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Photo Friday: My Favorite Spot

Merrijig 1

My favourite spot?  It's the north-eastern corner of my deck. 

Many glasses—nay, bottles—of wine have been consumed on this very spot.

Living on the other side of the world, I don't get to enjoy the view much.  The house is in Merrijig, a small town about two-and-a-half hours from Melbourne, in Australia's Great Dividing Range.  The peak on the right is Mt. Buller, Australia's busiest ski resort.  Fans of Australian film may like to know that The Man From Snowy River movies were made nearby.  Old sets dot the district.

The view is better than the house.  I have yet to build the garage underneath, so it looks kind of odd.

Merrijig 2

A mob of kangaroos lives on the hill. Every morning, they climb to the top, in order to graze in the sunshine.   At dusk, they take shelter in the valley below.  That means they hop through my back yard twice a day.   

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If you count a mob of kangaroos as pals, you don't need a lawn mower.  But one must take care with trees.

The boxing kangaroo is no myth.  Young males spar with each other in dominance play, like stags locking antlers.  For practice, the bouncing boys turn any handy sapling into a punching bag.  Most native Australian trees can stand such treatment; the pines and poplars I planted can't.  In the top picture, if you look closely, you'll see a young pine tree yoked to a stake with barbed wire.  They forced me into S&M gardening. 

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My favourite spot doesn't really look or feel like Australia, in many ways.  It comes as a surprise to find our friends, the kangaroos, frolicking in the snow.

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The pictures look lush, but the land dries out quickly come summer.  Merrijig narrowly escaped fire at the end of 2006.  Throughout December, a blaze burned out of control in the nearby national park, and lapped at our doors.  Christmas Eve, miraculously, brought a downpour which saved the community. 

A favourite spot, and rather a lucky spot, too.

Merrijig 3

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Photo Friday: Big and Small

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The Edo Museum in Tokyo faces a daunting task.  How does one take the largest, most complicated city in the developed world, and make sense of it?  To show any meaningful detail, maps and scale models must be so large, that visitors sometimes need to walk over glass floors to take them in.

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What we now call Tokyo was once the Second City of Japan; a merchant city called Edo, built on the banks of the Sumida River.  When the capital moved to Edo for political reasons, the shogunate built a new palace to the west, and the centre of the city shifted with it. 

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The museum occupies a spot in Shitomachi, which was old downtown area. The gentleman with the backpack stands on the museum site, in more ways than one.
 
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The arts flourished alongside commerce, especially the visual arts.  The world's first books with colour illustration were printed here, and thus manga was born. 

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A little off the beaten track for most tourists, but well worth a visit. This last bit has wandered of the subject, hasn't it?

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