Category Archives: photography

Stop Taking Crappy Photos: Tip #1


I’ve discovered how to stop taking crappy photos of moving things!



I let Mr. Pettit  take the photos.


note: I went to a BBQ on the weekend expecting this:


… but this was on the menu before the steaks

 double note: sometimes I’m in the right place at the right time … and even invited!


Today #260

Today didn’t have any BBQing or Tahitian Dancing in it. … bummer.


Do you know what the difference between a “crap photo” and a “great photo” is?


… anything else is just pure or impure perspeculation.


note: this isn’t directed towards anyone on my blogroll. I love your photos/pictures/paintings. (no sarcasm)

double note: this wasn’t a “photo opportunity” … it was a “camera opportunity“! hee hee!

triple note: yes, I know I’ve played with perspectacles  before … but this is different … it’s perspeculation!

quadruple note: I just get tired of hearing people bag on someone else’s photos because they don’t like them for technical/personal reasons. These people really pixels my ass.

quintuple note: my favourite photo!


Today #76

Today  just doesn’t sound grammatically correct: it should be twodays.

This Year’s Best Photograph!

I can't help if you thought it was going to be something else.



note: what did you really expect from me?

double note: here’s a photograph of the “photo graph”‘s photograph.

just in case you didn't think I thought of doing this



notes to myself #8

The “Dune” books get crappy after the 3rd one.

If I Live To Be A Hundred …

a good place for a photo opportunity!


I will never forget daydreaming in the passenger seat of a car and seeing a guy up ahead with a camera on the side of the busy road. 
I then noticed a woman with a long fur coat standing on some steps used by railway workers.

I remember thinking, “Why are they taking photos there? The scenic river view is on the other side of the road.

While I was thinking this thought and slowly turning my head  because I am a nosey person … the woman opened up the fur coat and was wearing nothing underneath but her birthday suit!!!

Turn around! Turn around!” I screamed at my girlfriend driving the car.

She wouldn’t. 


note: Later, telling this story to everyone I knew, they all asked the same question: “Was the woman Japanese?”   To which I replied, “How should I know, I wasn’t looking at her face!”

double note: driving passed this place always makes me smile.

triple note: sorry the photo is blurry; I got all shaky for some reason.

When I’m Not Blogging I Also Go To …

Kamakura/Hayama/Zushi in Kanagawa, Japan!

And I take pictures of …

Merry Everything!

Advertisements for booze that cover all occasions.

chicks walking and ... Mt. Fuji

Young women walking on the side of the road … Oh! and Mt. Fuji in the background.

caged Gods
Caged Gods. The one in the back righthand corner could be you!

shave and a haircut 2 bits

Cowboy Hair Saloons!  “Just a trim pardner.”

bamboo my friends; bamboo!

Bamboo! I can’t emphasize this enough.

organized rocks and stuff

Serious gardens.


electricity repairman nightmare
Possible problematic situations for power line crews. 
“Better bring the chainsaw Takahiro!”

blurry torii gate

Torii gates at dusk. I feel a beer or two coming on.



“Excuse me sir. Could you spare a bit of change so I can get a bowl of noodles.”
“Sorry, your nose tells me you’re going to spend it on booze and women.”

Kamakura Manga Brothers

Cool walkway art.

merry christmas

Tacky Christmas Decorating #1.

merry christmas?

Tacky Christmas Decorating #2. Buddha says, “Have a good one with everything!”
(I missed the deadline for this contest)

dig your own spot

Creative Parking.  ” No problem! Gotta bit o’ dynamite?”

no beach party bingoing!

Beach Blanket Bingo No Go Zones. 
Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello are not welcome at Denny’s.

cool bike

Strange Motorcycles.
What’s the ride-ability feasibility on this thing? I smell backache in its simplicitiosity and designtinaity.

dogs pooing flowers or something

Signs about animal shite.
“Your dog is not allowed to poo flowers here. And if it does, you better be picking up its petals!”

How To Look Cool In Photos

People always ask me, “Planetross, how can I look cool in photos like you?”

First I have to explain that they can’t; it’s a photogenetic thing that you have in your kodachromes and monochromes or you don’t.  But …. here are a few pointers to improve your photo-coolness factor without having to buy special cameras with shutter speeds and apertures, or join groups like ISO. 

Tip #1:  Use bamboo

Bamboo is a universally accepted high quality multipurpose flexible usage item.


You might not look any better, but most people will be distracted by how great bamboo is and just think you are too: Greatness by association has worked well for many things: peanut butter would be nothing with out jam, no Jerry Lewis-no Dean Martin, Paul McCartney would have been nothing with out those Wings, … I’m sure you can think of others.


See how the magic of the bamboo distracts you from the bamboo holder! You are probably thinking, “I want to get my hands on some of that bamboo and be like that guy in the photo. Mmmm …. he must be cool too!


Just in case you are a bit slow: bamboo my friends … bamboo!


Tip #2: Flags and Seagulls

Two common everyday items that most people have easy access to in their bathroom cabinets.


Shake the dust off those flags and seagulls and use them to your advantage. (burning flags and seagulls usually won’t win you any cool points though)
How many times have you seen athletes, leaders of state, and large crowds of people waving flags, wrapping themselves in flags, or saluting flags and thought to yourself …. Mmmm …. that’s pretty cool, but it could be better with a few seagulls as well.


Tip #3: Ball Caps, Bridges, and Temples

Separately these things may make you look uncool; but together, very powerful.  


Having your head only cover about 1% of the photo helps too!


Tip #4: Be in a photo with 2 women and a box of doughnuts


Facing away from the camera, pretending to take a photo … but actually thinking about those lovely doughnuts and how wonderful it would be if those women forgot them on the bench when they left, or even just took their eyes off of them for a second, or didn’t threaten to report me to the police for stalking them with my creepy friend standing behind them chanting “eat the doughnuts bury the bodies“.


Tip #5: Be photographed in a cool vehicle


I don’t have any photos of that, so here is one of me in my van.


Final Tip:

If everything else fails to make you look cool in photos, then stick your head in a garbage receptacle or anything else it will fit in to: box, lampshade, KFC chicken bucket, tuba, old cannon barrel, pet carrying cage, toilet, …



If you think you look cool in photos already and are not following the above guidelines, you probably hang out with sycophantic people who tell you lies because you have pots of money, or have a very high opinion of yourself, or are one of the lucky people who were born with several focal points, or depth of field, or isotopes, or some other thing that camera sales people talk about while I feign interest and am really just thinking about what color the camera case will be.


note: all photos taken by Kelly Pettit, except for the Bamboo sign one which I urinated on once, but it’s rained since so that’s okay.

When I’m Not Blogging I Go To …

 Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture Japan

Matsushima is a small town on the North East Coast of Japan. It is home to one of the “Three Views” in Japan. (more info about all Three Views here)

I left the computer reluctantly and drove for 6 hours with my friend Kelly Pettit  to Sendai, Miyagi. We arrived in late afternoon, found a hotel, and enjoyed being in a big city with lots of people for a change. After visiting an izakaya (restaurant/bar) and another watering hole, we called it a night.

In the morning we awoke to no water!! The hotel’s water supply had been cut off for reasons we never did discover. Not a good start to the day.

We drove the  40 minutes to Matsushima and took a 50 minute boat tour of the Bay. For the first 20 minutes the main attraction was the seagulls that followed the boat. The seagull food for sale looked very similar to processed potato snacks.



After everyone got over being excited about the seagulls, the islands came fast and furious. There are about 260 little islands dotting the bay. I didn’t count them all, but there are probably enough to have a salad dressing named after them.


All the islands have names. I can’t remember any of them, but I’m pretty sure none of them are called Ross or Kelly island.


I thought this bay would be a good location for a Bond villain’s house or a high speed jetboat chase; but I think that about everywhere usually, so don’t get too excited. 
I also named all the seagulls: this one is Sammy. 


Oysters are a big business here. There are hundreds of these things in the bay. Water skiing is frowned upon.


Coming back in to the dock we saw our next destination: the small temple hall Godaido. 


We crossed over 2 little bridges and navigated our way around the hundreds of people navigating around us. These temple posts were dressed up the same way as the stillborn/miscarriage Mizuko Jizo statues nathaliewithanh describes in more detail here accompanied by great photos of the usual Mizuko Jizo.


Like most temples and shrines, there are ornate carvings. I’d show more, but looking over my photos I’ve realized that I’m a bad photographer. Who knew? 


After Godaido, we climbed up a few streets and got a better view of the area. We visited Fukuurajima in the background later in the day.


We decided that we didn’t want to walk around all day with bad hair from not having showers in the morning, so we visited an onsen (hotbath). Sorry no photos. The above photo is not of an onsen, but of a man on a bicycle.


Feeling clean and refreshed, we drove to a view point overlooking the town and bay.


I rang the bell.


I thought the bell’s hook thingy looked pretty cool.


Back in town we walked passed this pagoda on the way to Fukuurajima.


Finally the sun came out and we crossed the 252 meter bridge to the nature reserve. There were a lot of good views of some islands from this island, a little temple, and 2 young women with a box of doughnuts that thought we were stalking them. (the 2 young women not the doughnuts)


Down on a little beach Kelly took a bunch of cool photos of me looking cool, but he hasn’t given them to me yet. Did I say I looked very extremely cool in them? Because I did. I took this photo of an island looking a little cool. (me looking cool; not the island)

We eventually checked in to a little Japanese hotel, ate a big seafood dinner, wandered around the town at night, exclaimed repeatedly that it was a “swing a dead cat town at night” sort of place, and then tried to get in to a bit of trouble anyway with out too much success.

The next morning found us back on the highway heading home at tremendous speeds and happy that we had made the journey. 


note: One of the above photos is actually a photo of a poster. Can you guess which one?  I’m not sure what I will send the winner, but it will be amazing! If more than one person guesses the correct photo, I will give a prize to the first correct guesser, or draw a name out of a hat, or send an amazing prize to all people with the correct answer, or something along those lines.

Field of Vision


As I watched the object slowly appear to get larger and larger; I stood transfixed, mesmerized, and lost in thought about how “depth perception” was an amazing process of eye and brain working together in perfect unison.

How long did it take humans to develop such an incredible ability?

I was pondering this question searching for the answer …

And then it hit me!


Fuckin’ baseball.


note: never play baseball with an eye patch.

double note: photo taken at the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

triple note: I’m not that small really … it’s your depth perception messing with you.

Numata Festival 2008: phlanetrosswithanh!

The following is a response to Single for a Reason‘s challenge of “Me Trying to Be You“. I’ve chosen the amazing nathaliewithanh‘s blog to emulate. If I’ve fallen short, it will be enough.


It was that time of year again. I’d seen the posters plastered everywhere: on walls, sides of buildings, and outside the insides of buildings. It was time for the yearly festival that happens every year annually.

Numata is a quiet city for 362 days a year, except for leap years when it’s quieter for an extra day. Usually the most well attended events are funerals or hospital waiting room waiting areas.

But for 3 glorious days in August, it comes alive and is lively like a living thing. It’s like one of those birds or insects that only lives for 3 days before dying, and then does it all again the next year.

So I packed my extensive camera equipment into one of my shorts’ pockets, checked my other pockets for beer money, and made the long 20 minute walk to the festivities.

No one invited me, but I went anyway.

I ran in to some of my students, that I know and teach, coming from a wifebeater convention possibly. I like the 2 in the middle because I don’t teach them yet. Their mother is single glandedly trying to re-populate Japan (the youngest sibling is missing).

On the mainstreet there were games involving turtle scooping , but check out that kid’s ear!!!

Main street was closed to traffic from 1 to 10pm. This was the real deal!

More students awkwardly posing. That little girl whacked me with the stick in her hand too! Check out Elvis in the background.

Former students off to carry a big phallic symbol around the city.

Phallic symbol previously mentioned, otherwise known as Tengu: woodland spirit and resembling most big nosed foreigners.

Another student. Garbed in festival outfit and sporting a half eaten chocolate banana. He wouldn’t share 😦

Former student and father at the front. Makers of the best cake in town. Carrying the*omikoshi of the festival. *omikoshi = portable shrine.

Then it rained. No biggie; it usually rains, so everyone is prepared or too pissed to care.

Seeking shelter from the storm, I ran across these little urchins who were very impressed with Kelly Pettit‘s “I can detach the final joint of my finger” magic trick. No global warming tricks though: beer drowned my disappointment.

Then it was back to sweaty, drunk, rain-soaked, young, nymphomaniac women carrying around not one but two phallic symbols.  Okay … the nymphomaniac part I’m not sure about … for all of them.

Then the beer kicked in and things got blurry.

Off to the Grand Finale at the Suga Shrine with the 5 invited Dashi* drumming, fluting, and triangling while the Suga Omikoshi did its last frenzied stagger around the Shrine grounds while all the onlookers tried to stay out of its uncontrollable path. *Dashi=pull around floats involving pulling and stuff.

Then it was parked back inside the Suga shrine for another year. And all the festival goers went home and dreamed of the next funeral or hospital waiting room waiting area visit.


I don’t classify myself as a “homer” when it comes to things I miss in Canada, but my adopted city’s festival is a highlight on my calendar. I’ve been to 9 so far and hopefully I make it to another 9 or more in the future. I’d seriously be distressed if I missed the Numata Matsuri.

Can You Guess What It Is?


I went to a 2 hour Firework display in Nagaoka, Niigata, Japan. It was my 4th visit and it didn’t disappoint.

I’m always amazed at the fireworks that make heart, smiley face, and mickey mouse shapes.

Can you guess what this is?

How about this photo?

Maybe this one is better.

Or this one.


note: the fireworks of this turned out perfectly; my camera skills need help.

double note: sweetiegirlz – if you don’t figure it out, I really need to take a photography class.