Field recording Japanese Summer Insects at Lake Unagi

While in Kyushu we went exploring in our rental car into Lake Unagi, which google earth reveals to appear as a crater lake…



We stopped along the side of the lake & I went for a fly & shot a few photos…


Once I flew high enough & could look out to the coast the crazy rock formations could be seen in silhouette


We drove around to the end of the road, passing a few geothermal vents with steam plumes but it was when I stopped the car & got out that the sound overwhelmed me!!!


If you look to the bottom right of centre you can see my little Sony D100 sitting on the ground and OMG the insects were so loud! I’d recorded some insects up Mt Rokko and Mt Maya and the gain was set for those but the density & volume of these insects were such that it was peaking like a rock band!!!

The alien world is revealed even more when slowed down…

And some of the recordings I made on Kobes Mt Rokko and Mt Maya:

First a ratchet sounding insect, at real speed, then half then quarter speed

Second, a cicada/semi that to me sounds like a laughing chainsaw – real speed, then half & quarter speed

Lastly an insect with a pulsing call, the rhythm is revealed at quarter speed…



This is one of the first photos I took with my new Zeiss Distagon 18mm ZE lens – early morning after the rain, and the water is like mercury

Mt Maya Shrine


Last week I caught the cable car up Mt Rokko, above Kobe and then walked a few kilometres across to Mt Maya, and then descended down through the forest… I love stumbling across shrines such as this one, deep in a forest… shot with Canon 5DmkIII and Zeiss Distagon 21mm ZE

Takachiho Gorge 2

Apart from Mount Aso this location was the initial motive for venturing into the mountains – upstream by 30km or more from the earlier photos of Takachiho Gorge I was intrigued to visit here as apart from the amazing gorge there was also the option of renting a row boat and going up to the waterfall! Due to the heavy rainfall there was a torrent of water passing through the gorge and no boating was available for safety reasons, but we could still walk a few km up the track beside the gorge to experience the incredible scenery carved through the gorge….


The waterfall was so beautiful and made me wish we had more time & could stay here for a night or two – shooting at dawn would look amazing!!!




Both this gorge & Mt Aso are relatively close by rental car to the city of Kumamoto, which can be access via Shinkansen… so I suspect a repeat visit will be on the cards for sometime in the future!

The Overlap

The keynote address at SIGGRAPH 2015 this year was made by Joi Ito, of the MIT Media Lab, and while the presentation and video excerpts are fascinating what I found personally interesting was the venn diagram used for each project and/or head researcher, illustrating the core abilities & fields of experience/expertise… While the four main sections explain the background or origins of a project what intrigued me was the overlap. If you can’t be bothered watching the video I’ve screengrabbed a few below….

What intrigues me is this: a fairly well known concept is that while specialisation is important, ideas & inspiration from other mediums is often the difference between new ideas versus extrapolating existing ideas. If your expertise is focused exclusively in one field, it may be at a creative cost to you.

So I thought no matter what your primary field of creativity is, it could be interesting to apply the venn diagram to your own work, ideas & creative practice…



So what would you enter as your four primary fields of creative research?
And having established them, what is the overlap?


There lies the magic

Mt Aso


Feels like we spent the last few days up in the clouds – driving up Mt Aso, in pursuit of the volcano



As we got closer to the top we got an awesome view down on to the plateau below


Unfortunately the volcano is currently VERY active – so active that all access to the area is limited to 1km below the crater and even the ropeway (gondola) was not operating… I tried flying my drone up to get a look but as it reached its limit of signal transmission still couldn’t really see into the crater…


Having watched a video on youtube of someone flying a drone above a fire & crashing due to lack of ‘air’ I wasn’t keen to start experimenting with the ability to actually fly when video feed is starting to break up & there is no means of retrieval if it does lose the plot… Still awesome to spend time up here & I have a feeling I will be back – I was ready to spring Y500,000 for a helicopter flight over the crater but even they weren’t operating… Next time!

Takachiho Gorge


Climbed up into the Kagoshima mountains today, on the way to Mt Aso we took a side trip into Takachiho Gorge because it looked so unreal in the mist… Too damp to fly the drone but shot this with 5DmkIII and new Zeiss Distagon 18mm lens….

Makurazaki, Kagoshima


awesome shoot today at Makurazaki, Kagoshima!


It always makes me nervous flying my drone from a boat – we are on the little white boat in middle of the photo – not much margin for error when landing (especially as the home GPS location moves as the boat drifts!!!)


Detritus 360

(thanks Nathan)


▶ The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t?


▶ Electronic music and the big screen


▶ singing the solo from Giant Steps?


▶ Ars electronica 2015 winners have been announced and in the category Digital Musics & Sound Art:

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Chijikinkutsu by Nelo Akamatsu (JP) received a Golden Nica

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Drumming is an Elastic Concept by Josef Klammer (AT) received an Award of Distinction

::vtol:: oil by Dmitry Morozov (RU) received an Honorary Mention

UNDER WAY by Douglas Henderson (US) received an Award of Distinction

Electromechanical Modular by Gijs Gieskes (NL) received an Honorary Mention – checkout his electromechanical Eurorack modules here and on youtube here

Rawr! A Study in Sonic Skulls by Courtney Brown (US), Sharif Razzaque (US) received an Honorary Mention

Tipping Point by Kathy Hinde (UK) received an Honorary Mention

Soft Revolvers by Myriam Bleau (CA) received an Honorary Mention


Osaka Dawn


view from our 30th floor hotel…


even the bath had an awesome view!!