Scattered Light 167


shot with 5DmkIII and Distagon 21mm lens

the only constant is change
(but you are still allowed a lunch break)


Scattered Light 166


I was busy shooting beautiful autumn flowers up Muko River & stopped to do something & noticed this beautiful decaying red leaf underfoot = the flip side to the all the overt flowering going on right beside it… the only constant is change!
shot with Fuji x100s, background destaurated in Photoshop a bit, sumimasen


Scattered Light 165

An excursion into industrial Osaka…









All shot with Canon 5DmkIII and Zeiss Distagon 21mm lens

Detritus 325


▶ The portal project – help take a solar powered projector & sound system to Sudan, on Indiegogo here – for all that we take technology for granted, just imagine the impact this will have!


▶ the art & philosophy of a walk


▶ never thought I’d say this, but these ‘selfies’ are excellent


▶ there is a great techy interview with aphex twin – this bit made me laugh: “had a funny kind of argument with george massenburg once, was telling him he should make a 32 band graphic eq which was also a vocoder/sequencer/midi controller, with presets and motorised faders ! :) he was having none of it, boooring..”
UPDATED: the original interviews were taken down, but are now archived, part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE


▶ surreal augmented landscape photography by Nicholas Moulin


“I set up three synchronized computers, ProTools for the Surround sound mix, DaVinci Resolve for color correction and 3-D managing, and Final Cut to play what was rendered by DaVinci synched with the ProTools sound mix. The idea was to mix, color correct, and edit at the same time in HD 3-D. We edited two minutes a session..” – fascinating interview with cinematographer Fabrice Aragno, on working with Godard.


▶ “When you stand at the base of its steps and clap your hands, the echo that comes back is a dead ringer for a bird call. Specifically, it sounds like the distinct “poo-yah” of the quetzal, a bird that was worshipped in the area.”


thanks Steve!


Tokyo melody: un film sur Ryuichi Sakamoto

Documentary directed by French photographer Elizabeth Lennard featuring the eclectic Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto during the recording sessions of his 1984 album “Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia”

Mobieus Traffic








This is in Taisho, Osaka – I hadn’t planned to stay up there but when I got to the bridge and saw the view I just HAD to stay for the sunset… So I set a timelapse shooting on my 5D and waited… just as dusk feel this ship cruised past



this was shot handheld with my Fuji x100s, as the 5D was on the tripod…

Apart from the sunset from the bridge I really wanted to shoot long exposures of the mobieus traffic…








Apart from the ship shot with x100s, all the rest were shot with Canon 5DmkIII and Zeiss Distagon 21mm lens


I’ve done a few upgrades to my mic rigging; while travelling I was very keen to find a way to use a single stand to rig four mics – my MKH8040s ORTF and a pair of DPA 4060s in spaced omni. First was to get a more stable tripod, which would also be used with my 5D and after doing lots of research decided on the Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod


I’ve been using a wider four position stereo bar for my MKH8040 mics, the K&M 236 stereo bar as I sometimes like spacing the mics wider… I already had the Manfrotto 088LP adaptor to match the thread of my stereo mic bar on to the thread of the Manfrotto quick release plate. Next I added two tiny Giotto ballheads, and unlike some small ballheads these are metal & can be properly tightened: Giottos MH-1304 Pro Series II Mini Ballhead and the last part in the puzzle was finding a light boom. I came across these Fat Gecko carbon fibre modular boom arms – they are made for mounting GoPro cameras so I am not sure they would handle heavy mics, but are fine for spacing my DPA4060 omni mics. Being modular means they break down into pieces: “the five sections include a 10″ handle, a 10″ shaft with a ball head, a 10″ extenstion shaft, and two 15″ extension shafts. The ball head has a 1/4″-20 male thread to attach your camera, and the handle has a 1/4″-20 female thread to attach it to a tripod or other compatible equipment”

update, here is how the pieces of the boom join together:


The latter part is key – the end of the boom has a thread in it! So I screw the end into the Giotto mini ball heads and add as many pieces of boom as I want for spacing and then attach the DPA 4060s to the end. I’m just using a tiny velcro cable tie to hold the 4060 in place… If I used all the pieces of the boom each side would be 60″ = 1.5m, so with the two of them it would be feasible to space the mics 3m apart!

Anyway here is what the rig looks like, when I was using it yesterday recording traffic ambiences on a roadway thatw as like a mobieus strip



The other rig I’ve updated is for my cameras – I’ve never liked using a neck strap, with a small camera its ok but a 5D with hefty lens does not sit right at all hanging from the neck. So I went into Yodobashi Camera and bought a Black Rapid strap for each camera – a LS7 Curve strap for my 5D and a Snapr 35 for my x100s. The big difference with these straps is they are shoulder straps and cross your body so when not in use the camera hangs down beside your waiste, and when you want to use it, it slides up the strap.


The Snapr 35 is also a small camera bag and is just the perfect size for my x100s with its wide angle lens adaptor and lens hood are attached, and has space for a couple of batteries, cable release etc… The bag can also actually be fully detached, so the strap can be used as per the Curve strap ie with no bag attached.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 8.35.49 am

The one potential downside to the BlackRapid straps is that they attach to the tripod mount on your camera, via a small metal loop that screws in and when you think the weight of the camera & lens is hanging off this point it is very important it is tight. But especially with my 5D I usually have the Manfrotto quick release plate attached there so it would mean removing the BlackRapid one and attaching the Manfrotto one each time I want to use my tripod, which kind of defeats the idea of it being ‘quick’ release.


The solution I found online is due to the great design ideas of Manfrotto – the quick release plates I have used in the past required a screwdriver to attach them to the camera tightly ie the mounting bolt was a flat screw. But the Manfrotto plate has a metal loop that once tightened, is folded over so as to be out of the way when on the camera is on a tripod. But this same loop is similar size as the Black Rapid loop, so I have just been using the Black Rapid strap directly hooking on to the Manfrotto hook.


Yesterdays session was my first using both, and both worked brilliantly!

I actually found that location when looking for places to record industrial ambiences, but unfortunately the factories I found were too close to traffic to be recorded cleanly. They looked great & there were some great drones coming from them, but impossible to record without getting onsite access and my Japanese isn’t up to being able to talk my way into such a place. But walking further through the area I came across that spiral motorway which went up to a bridge, and suddenly realised it had a footpath & cycleway all the way up & across the bridge! So I lugged all my gear up there & went half way across the bridge, and stayed up there until after sunset.
Carrying all that gear meant I didn’t really get to appreciate the Black Rapid straps, but today I am heading to an old part of Osaka and I am only taking the cameras so will be a better test. Will post a few photos from the locations soon, I really enjoyed yesterdays session but OMG was I tired by the time I got home!!! beer never tasted so good!! Kampai!

Hyogo Museum of Art


Visited the Hyogo Museum of Art in Kobe today (designed by Tadao Ando) and saw two great exhibitions: Noritake Kinashi 1994-2014 and Visual Deception II: Into the Future – the latter was a fascinating collection of works spanning centuries with the common them of optical or perceptual illusions. While it included works by well know artists such as Escher and Dali, it also included a lot of work I had never seen, the best imho was what could only be described as a grand piano which had been deconstructed, but when viewed at the right perspective and via a massive mirror appeared perfectly normal, but look back at the real physical sculpture and it was like some bad acid! It was nicely set up so that you first saw the deconstructed piano & then the reflection was revealed…..

update: found it online, Underground Piano by Shigeo Fukuda


Another great work was Wooden Mirror by Daniel Rozin which at first glance appeared to be a large pixelated display – as people moved in front of it, a pixelated version was displayed on a large screen. But getting closer it became apparent the display was actually made of wood squares & each was moving to change colour by angling to reflect light or be shaded from it – this video illustrates it better than my description:

One of the entrances to the gallery is the stairwell above, and once we had overloaded on art, we spent an hour wandering back into Kobe for dinner, so I could shoot some photos & test out my new lens.. That photo above is kind of beautiful in its symmetry – someone commented on FB that it looks like a cochlea – but the reality is that the photo above was about the tenth as I tried to find a way to simplify it – this was the first photo, overwhelmingly complex:


In learning this new Zeiss lens one thing I wanted to test was its ‘bokeh’ (wikipedia defines bokeh as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”) so I suspect a few people were wondering why I was focusing on apparently blank walls etc… These were all shot hand held & wide open @ F2.8




Walked past this place which at first I thought was from a Cronenberg movie, turned out the name gave it away: Gravity Research = indoor rock climbing


This wasn’t handheld – I stopped down to F22 and put my 5D on top of a fence to get a stable longer exposure….


Super happy with this lens & feel like the more I use it the more I am going to love it!

Stop 1 = Yodobashi Camera

It never ceases to amaze me what a decent sleep achieves. Combine 20+ hours of arduous travel with a 4 hour time zone shift and by last night I was ready for some VERY high quality sleep, and despite waking early, 6am still felt like 10am at home – easy to get up feeling SUPER refreshed! And on to mission #1 = catch train to Umeda & go visit Yodobashi camera & buy this lens that I have been dreaming about for weeks/months!


Ever since getting that Asahi Pentax Super Takumar 50mm vintage lens I have been researching prime lenses to sue with my 5DmkIII. Second step encouraging me down that path was getting the Zeiss Flektogon 35mm lens – both lenses have such hugely superior focus to any of my (expensive) Canon L lenses that I started to lust after a vintage Zeiss Distagon wide lens. But it seems there are potential problems with using them, or more correctly using them on a modern Canon 5D, depending on which adaptor you use. The best solution seemed to involve sourcing the best adaptor ex the USA and then disassembling the mount of the lens and replacing part of it. Yikes!! I could see a number of ways it could go wrong, but worst of all it meant even if found a great condition Distagon lens while here in Japan, my chances of actually shooting with it were unlikely. So I decided to bite the bullet & buy a new Distagon ZE lens, ZE signifying it has been built to mount on Canon EF cameras….

Like seriously good microphones I had to remind myself that it is not a short term investment – I need to learn to shoot with this lens & it is reputedly of such high quality that it is likely I will be shooting with it ten years from now. So my decision was a combination of the need for short term gratification AND long term thinking, same as all my best microphone decisions!

So I waited until I got home to break open the box & have a play, and as the sun was getting close to setting I went for a walk to the local supermarket to buy some iced coffee & take a few photos along the way – none of these are great photos, but wow the Distagon is really seriously great to shoot with! But like all my lenses & microphones I need to shoot lots with it to get confident & learn how to best use it to get great results….


When I arrived this new house was just a frame – I imagined shooting inside it (once the builders went home) and accentuating its geometry, but a day later and they are making rapid progress… But how is that crane!?! Very, very carefully snuck inside the multitude of power cables! Serious skills

And five houses along…


After the supermarket the sun was getting lower so I thought I’d better quickly try shooting a few shots with deep perspective & strong leading lines…


No sooner had I taken this shot than 3 young boys appeared out of nowhere – I pointed my camera at them & made ‘pew pew’ noises, and they laughed and one of them jumped down into this stealthy location!?!


I laughed & took a photo & then showed them it…. which made them laugh

Having watched a bunch of docos recently on street photography it was a great reminder of not hesitating & being ready to shoot… A pointless perspective test shot turned into a funny moment & was gone again within about 3 seconds!

But wow, this Distagon lens – I loved my first wide lens the EFs 10-22mm lens but it distorted the hell out of any & everything… The full frame EF16-35mm L lens was much better, but this Zeiss Distagon is in another league again!

Lots to learn


more info on the Zeiss Distagon 21mm F2.8