Apr 302010
 
Hawaii: Underwater Adventures

This week I’m in Hawaii spending some time underwater and working on some new SCUBA certifications. I just earned my Nitrox rating as well as my Advanced Open Water certification, for which I picked these five specialties: Deep Dive, Underwater Navigation, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Wreck Diving and, why not, Underwater Photography. All the dives were boat dives booked through Aaron’s Dive Shop, located in […continue]

Apr 062010
 
Lonely Planet Guides Offer

I wanted to bring this offer to your attention, as Lonely Planet Guides are my first source of information when I travel. Buy 3 books and pay for 2, plus free shipping. Hardly gets any better than that. Click on the L.P. logo to visit the bookstore.

Mar 042010
 
Review: HDRSoft's Photomatix

(Discount Coupon Available Below) In photography and Image Processing HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a technique that allows a much greater range of light intensity from the lightest to the darkest area of an image than a regular image produced by a common camera. Tone mapping techniques aim to reduce the overall contrast so that an image with greater luminosity range can be displayed […continue]

Jan 292010
 
Review: Cotton Carrier

Hiking is a big part of the landscape and wildlife photographer’s life and mine but this means that we often return home with lower back pain and a chafed neck caused by the camera strap. I also find annoying having the camera hitting me  repeatedly in the stomach while I walk with the strap around my neck. My old Minolta 9Xi suffered major scratches […continue]

Apr 202008
 

A simple “Ii o-tenki desu-ne” was sufficient to launch me into a 3 hour Japanese conversation. That ubiquitous phrase, meaning “Nice weather, isn’t it?” is often used as a conversation opener. Little I knew, when I offered it politely at the passenger sitting next to me on the Shinkansen to Tokyo, that the older lady would become immediately curious about my entire life and […continue]

Apr 192008
 
Japan Day 12 – Kanazawa

For today’s excursion, the city of Kanazawa, we took the Shinkansen to Nagoya and from there an express train to our destination. On our way in, just out of the city our view was filled with majestic mountains still covered in snow. Kanazawa, located on the North-West coast of the country, faces the Japan Sea and is an historical city of fascinating beauty, famous […continue]

Apr 172008
 
Japan Day 10 - Takamatsu (Island of Shikoku)

This morning we drove to Takamatsu, a city located on the island of Shikoku (one of the major Japanese islands connected by bridges). The trip took place partly inland, through cities and developed areas and partly through the countryside and coastline, with a total time of about 3 hours. We broke it a little taking a break after crossing the first bridge to rest […continue]

Apr 162008
 
Japan Day 9 - Koya-san

It was nice, for a change, not having to wake up at six in the morning. Chakie picked us up at 9:15 and that gave us plenty of time to be ready for her. Together we went to the train station where we joined with her friend Tomoka (whom I had met in Honolulu about nine years before). Tomoka doesn’t speak much English so […continue]

Apr 152008
 
Japan Day 8 - Osaka

Our Shinkansen arrived in Shin-Osaka, the major train station, perfectly on time perfectly on time at 12:05pm. At the gates my friend Chakie was waiting for us and regardless of not having seen each other for eight years she spotted me from afar and threw herself in a warm embrace of Japanese exuberance which is typically reserved to very close friends. Chakie had worked […continue]