While I was in Japan I got slightly caught out by a tide, after jumping across a very small stream an hour later I needed a stick to check how deep the stream was thanks to the incoming tide – it was up to my knees & rapidly growing deeper… Another hour and maybe it would be up to my waste? I felt like a bit of an idiot, although knew I wasn’t in serious trouble as there were people fishing nearby….

But if you do any recording or spend any time exploring at beaches, or venture on to rocks this article is worth a read for your own safety: Tides and safety – the rule of twelths

On my way to Akashi I noticed this great structure out on a jetty


So on the way home I got off at a station and bought some beers at a combini and wandered along the beach as dusk fell




Detritus 404

Void Jungle_白靄林 from mwva on Vimeo.

▶ An audiovisual live performance by Chang Funju 張方禹 & Han ChengYeh 韓承燁 via s-v-m


▶ incredibly beautiful photos of NZ night sky


▶ sacred geometry & harmonics… & stuff


▶ apparently it is not a new feature but I only just discovered in iOS that you can record your own custom vibration alert patterns – I made one that sounds like my phone is having an epileptic seizure!
/Settings/Sounds/Vibration/Custom/Create New Vibration
Hit record & tap the screen to perform


▶ 10 principles of Motion Design at giphy



▶ Inside Tokyo’s audiophile venues


▶ I would love to experience one of James Turrells perceptual cells


VHS monsters


▶ Mossy VR helmets let you see the forest as animals do


▶ funny: reading books with fake covers while riding on the subway


▶ these cables & terminators look excellent for field recording rigs, thanks Michael


▶ a great read: Haruki Murikami & Siji Ozawa talk


▶ Someone is learning how to take down the Internet


▶ recording from the Lime Kiln hydrophone

The codes

thanks Aphex Twin

keep your data safe

After posting those stats on my data generation during a two month Japan trip (106GB of field recordings, 428Gb of photos & video) a couple of people asked me how I manage my data while travelling, so here is my methodology & associated tech. Warning: there are no great revelations or shortcuts – it is all fairly simple, and boring… but it works!

The basic requirement is to keep your data safe – so that means creating clones in two, preferably three separate places, as soon as possible. And, at crucial times, keeping them separate ie physically separate.

A final caveat, no doubt there are better ways to do this, and if at any point you read this & think ‘WTF, why doesn’t he just get a thing, or do this then comment & help us evolve for the next trip!

Backup for me = [laptop] + [2 x 2TB drives] + [bag of cables]

In a nutshell, I use a 2013 macbook pro laptop to clone data asap – it has 2 x usb, 2 x thunderbolt and a built in SD card reader. I carry two LaCie rugged 2TB hard drives, which power off the bus and have both USB3 and FW800 connectors – available in NZ here


My sources of data:

sound devices 788T – 8040×2 ORTF + 8020×2 spaced omni = 4 x 24bit 96kHz
sony d100 = 2 x 24bit 96kHz

sony a6300 capturing 4k, 1080p/24fps-120fps + JPG+RAW stills
contax T2 shooting TriX to neg x TIFF hi rez scans
fujinon TX2/xPan2 shooting Velvia50/TriX/400Pro to neg x TIFF hi rez scans

Each of these create different amounts of data, at different rates (especially shooting film) but my aim is at the end of every day, or as soon as the data is available, to transfer on to one of the 2TB drives, and then backup to a clone on the other 2Tb drive.

I have a strict folder naming policy of ‘DATE-DEVICE-DESCRIPTION’
For example the top level folder might be called:

201610 JAPAN TRIP Master

and sub folders labelled
20161107 a6300 Kyoto
20161107 788T Kyoto

The date is generated via a TextExpander shortcut, so the format is consistent.
And I don’t reorganise the contents – this backup is strictly chronological.

On the second 2TB hard drive I have a folder labelled
201610 JAPAN TRIP Clone

And I use a simple OSX app called FoldersSyncronizer to backup from the Master to the Clone.

My Sound Devices 788T has a large enough hard drive in it that I also leave the original data on the device, so for all sound recordings I have three separate copies of the data.

For video & photos, after a week or so I have to clean off the SD cards – it amazes me that as per the photo of the hard drives above, in less space than my business card I have 2 x 128GB and 1 64GB SD cards.

If I was only shooting photos JPG+RAW, I could probably cope leaving the data on the SD cards, but when it comes to shooting 4k video or 120fps 1080, it chews through data… So I tended to let the SD cards fill up, and switch to the next SD card, backing up daily but only then cleaning the SD card after doing an extra check that all data had been transferred.

So thats about it. The only other point to make, and it is an important one, is with regards to the physical location of your backups. While I was in Japan I stayed the first week in Tokyo in one apartment, then six weeks in an apartment in Osaka, then 1 week in a different apartment in Tokyo. So including my international flights there was four times when I was relocating with everything I owned and all data with me. Now it is stating he obvious but, at those times my data is at most risk i.e. if both hard drives were in the same bag as my 788T, and that bag got stolen.. then all of my data is gone.

So my final comment is when travelling/changing locations, place your three copies of data in three different bags. For my international flights, two sets of data went via each of my checked baggage suitcases and one set travelled with my as carry on.

Worst case scenario, travel insurance would replace my recorder & cameras. But there is no such possible insurance to replace data that will never exist in that form ever again.

In an ideal world I would also be uploading my data to a server as/when I had time… But this is rarely possible while travelling eg I rented the fastest 4G LTE wifi modem I could find, with no data cap. But all mobile data is assymetrical and is geared for fast down/slow up. The only other way would be to find a friendly ISP and pay to do a rapid data dump upload, but good luck negotiating that with my sub-primary school Japanese language skills 🙂

Oh, one other thing: those 2 x 2TB drives also contain Carbon Copy Clones of OSX from my laptops internal SSD… so if I had a devestating drive crash or had to replace the SSD in my laptop while travelling, I have a CC OSX copy to reinstall back on to a new drive. That laptop wont be doing many backups if its internal drive died!

Shooting B&W versus Colour

Which image is stronger?











Shooting digital the decision is easier: shoot both ie shoot colour & then can choose afterwards which you prefer. And many cameras allow you to shoot RAW+JPG, so you can even set it to display & store a B&W JPG, while the RAW will retain all of the colour information.
Shooting film the same theory applies if you shoot colour film, ie you can always process it to monochrome later… but half the fun of film is committing to the image you shoot, and I so love seeing a monochrome image, shot on monochrome film, for the first time…

This article makes the great point that even if you are shooting with B&W film, you are seeing colour through the viewfinder, so maybe one advantage of shooting with B&W film is that you are forced to previsualise the image you shoot as monochrome, and not ‘leave it until later’ ie when you aren’t in the moment or location…. Some other ideas worth considering here too, especially the 5th one appeals to me: it amplifies how you use negative space

Also an interesting article on film types to shoot before they disappear. Relatedly there is a interesting article about TriX here: “Corbijn and McCullin had both panicked at the news of Kodak filing for bankruptcy protection at the beginning of 2012. “I bought 2,500 rolls,” Corbijn told Intelligent Life’s Bryan Appleyard. “My studio in Holland has three floors and there’s a fridge on each floor, all full of Tri-X.”

Mass Transit

While the incredibly highly evolved train system in Japan is what makes almost every part of the country accessible, there is another aspect that works hand in hand with the train system, something every large city could take notice of (I’m looking at you especially Auckland!)










Big Fish


shot near Akashi

JAPAN sticker data dump

146 images in this little gallery…

Komiyama Books

My last day in Tokyo felt weird – partly as I had checked out of my Air BnB apartment by 10am and put my two cases & backpack into coin lockers & was then kinda homeless, floating in Tokyo until my flight home that evening…. I had planned to go recording but rain was forecast so I flagged that idea & did some shopping instead, heading first to Komiyama Books which is a secondhand book store specialising in photo and art books… International shopping info here


I went with no specific intent, other than hoping to become aware of some Japanese photographers but when i came across a whole section of rare Michael Kenna books my credit card took a beating!


Michael Kenna early works 1976-1986


Michael Kenna catalogue from an exhibition in 1990

Upstairs were different floors/sections – I think third floor was fashion books and top floor was rare prints… and a robot


Fantastic store – I could have spent hours & many thousands of dollars here!!

Last stop was Yodobashi to stock up on film…. esp after checking the price of Velvia 50 back in NZ


After some great sushi for lunch I had an hour to spare, so headed back to Ikebukuro where my bags were stashed and went & sat in the sun in a nearby park… and had a classic Tokyo experience!


A friend had mentioned this park as a mecca for people playing Pokemon Go and sure enough there were quite a few people standing around, staring intently at their phones… but the most surreal thing that happened was when a young woman turned up, put her bag down in the exact centre of the park, plugged her headphones in and then proceed to practice dance routines for the next 30 minutes! It was kind of cute, especially as no one else could hear the music… Most people just ignored her but every so often she’d do some routine that involved hand claps and she would catch peoples attention briefly…
How great, that people can do such things & no one really bats an eye…

Eventually I went & retrieved my bags from coin lockers (momentary panic when one of the lockers would not unlock… I stashed that bag the previous night & ahar – the locker needed feeding for day 2 before it would release my bag, phew! Glad I didnt leave it until the last minute to learn that!!) Then on to the Narita Express, a cruisy 90 minute train ride to the airport and homewards bound…

nuzic 12

▶ Machinedrum – ‘Morphogene (ft. Ruckazoid)’


▶ remixes please, needs some #distortedtb303


▶ new Bonobo! New album ‘Migration’, released 13th January 2017 on Ninja Tune


▶ new Porter Ricks!!! release 4 November 2016


▶ Overcast Sound – Brackish EP