Made a plasma donation again tonight. So important that those of us that can donate blood should do so s as often as we can, for as long as we can. #liquidgold #save3lives

On the destruction of Shuri Castle

Like many in the karate world, I was stunned and devastated by the destruction by fire of Shuri Castle last week. Shuri Castle is symbolically and historically closely entwined with the evolution of the various forms of Ryukyu Bujutsu1.

Shuri Castle 2005

I first visited Shuri Castle in 2005 when Belinda and I made our first visit to Okinawa2, and I visited again over the 2018–19 New Years period for KNX Okinawa.

This was actually the fifth time that Shuri Castle has been destroyed by fire in its roughly 600 year history. For most of this period, Shuri Castle was the palace of the King of Ryukyu Kingdom, where the various martial arts that have evolved into contemporary karate were forged.

Shuri Castle was most recently destroyed in the final battles of World War 2, and was reconstructed in the 1990s. In 2000, the significance of the site to Okinawan cultural heritage was recognised by UNESCO.

The historical value of the building itself is outweighed by its symbolic value to the Okinawan people and culture, and the value of the more than 1,500 artefacts and documents that were stored and displayed there—many of which were destroyed in the inferno.

The loss of this artefacts and documents is significant and certainly devastating, especially noting that scant few documents and treasures survived the conflagration of WW2.

As a karateka, I feel for the loss of Shuri Castle and the treasures it maintained. The physical building can—and probably will—be rebuilt. The Okinawan people will weather this loss, just as they have so many other losses throughout their famously peaceful, although often turbulent, history.


  1. Encompassing karate, bukijutsu (weapons arts, a.k.a. kobujutsu, ti and tegumi. [return]
  2. I had lived in Japan in 1991–93, studying karate in Tokyo, but had not previously visited Okinawa, despite having researched it fairly extensively! [return]

🔗 3 Legged Thing Announces Huge Upgrade to Ellie L-Bracket System

Quite excited about this. I’ve long wanted an L bracket that would work with the Peak Design Capture camera clip system

🔗 Social Media, Photography And The Problem Of Likes | Light Stalking

When you photograph for the sole purpose of garnering the likes of others, you’re surrendering your creative integrity to an algorithm

Our Iceland Adventure

In September 2019 Belinda and I spent two weeks in Iceland—a trip that we have been planning and anticipating for some time. It was a goal to get there, and now that we have been, it is a goal to go back and to further explore this amazing island nation.

This post is the start of what will be a series describing our adventures, the planning and preparation to get there, the photography opportunities and challenges, gear for travelling and photography, and more. I guess we will keep posting as long as the stories and supporting images allow us to illustrate how much this land of extremes inspired us.

A Land of Extremes

Iceland is a small country with absolutely massive landscapes.

There is nothing average about Iceland—it is a land of fire and ice; micro and macro; light and dark.

From a photography perspective, you have countless opportunities to capture the massive landscapes, or the incredible details.

To enjoy Iceland fully you need to be ready for anything. And everything.

Our Adventure

We flew into Keflavik Airport and collected our hire car before heading into Reykjavik where we stayed for the first few nights.

From Reykjavik we went on a scuba diving adventure in the Silfra Fissure, undertook an amazing photo tour to Landmannalaugar, and did a self-drive tour of the Golden Circle, as well as exploring the city of Reykjavik.

We then set out to drive around the 1,332km of the Ring Road, with side advemtures to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with the iconic Kirkjufell on the west coast, and Seyðisfjörður on the east coast. We visited Akureyri in the north, and Hofn and Vik in the south.

Our visit in September was timed for the shoulder season—it was not the high season of Summer with the midnight sun, nor was it the icy winter. Weather was variable, with sunny, warm-ish days, and bitingly cold and very wet days.

Reliving the Adventure

We’re home in Australia now, and this series of posts and the images are a chance for us to relive the amazing experiences. We hope you enjoy sharing our experiences.

Daring Fireball: ★ On the Upcoming Photoshop for iPad

the mistake Adobe made was not precisely setting expectations for the initial release of Photoshop for iPad. When Adobe described it as “real” Photoshop, what a lot of people heard was “full” Photoshop, and that was never the plan

Exactly. I’d actually say that Photoshop for iPad should not be the same as the desktop variants.

The engine should be the same but the implementation should be built on—and continue to build upon—the inherent capabilities of iPad.

A beautifully written and heartfelt op-ed on the MV Conception tragedy by my friend Eric Douglas (@diveauthor)

🔗 The diving world tries to come to grips with devastating fire

A terrible event. Thinking about dive industry friends and colleagues. Hope that all are found.

🔗 Dive Boat Conception on fire off Channel Islands

Great progress in the efforts to protect sharks and rays

🔗 18 Threatened Species of Sharks and Rays Now Protected

For the scuba divers and those interested in human factors in safety, here is an interesting conundrum on safety…

🔗 Why ‘everyone is responsible for their own risk-based decisions’ isn’t the right approach to take to improve diving safety.

An interesting feature.

🔗 Print Boldly with photo prints on Flickr

25 great travel hacks from explorer Jill Heinerth.

🔗 Ultimate Travel Tips – On the Ground

Daibutsu of Kamamura

Back when I lived in Tokyo for a couple of years one of my favourite places to visit was the ancient capital of Kamakura, which is a short rail trip from the modern capital.

The Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha) is a magnificent structure, dating back to the 13th century.

The Daibutsu was originally housed in a hall, which was twice destroyed/damaged in storms during the 14th century, before being washed away in a 1498 tsunami. The Daibutsu has now been an outdoor feature for some 521 years!

The challenge for photography here is the crowds that flock to visit this site throughout the year. Weekends in particular are crazy busy in the area.

To counter the crowds, I setup to incorporate the base, which is actually a couple of metres above the surrounding ground level and then waited patiently to have the fewest number of people in shot. I have then cleaned up a few errant individuals in Photoshop.

The day we visited was actually quite a rainy day, and this provided a dramatic sky (and kept the crowds down a little).

I highly recommend a visit to Kamakura to any visitor to Japan.

Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
  • L: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4
  • E: Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Epic Valley

Epic Valley

This image of an epic valley near Wanaka demonstrates the grandeur of the landscapes to be found the South Island of New Zealand.

This image was created during a photo tour, and accessing this wonderful spot at any time (let alone for an amazing sunset) was only possible from having participated in the photo tour.

The sunset was simply awesome, and bringing this to life in the final image took some work. To be honest I might revisit this again in the future.

All in all I was happy with the composition, but feel that a foreground object would add some interest. But the reality is that the scene is epic enough to carry itself!

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Spot on.

🔗 Daniel Jalkut

Torre de Hercules

Hercules’ Tower (Torre de Hecules) is the oldest Roman lighthouse that is still in use today.

Located in the city of A Coruna in Spain’s Galicia region, the lighthouse was built in the 2nd century (CE).

This image was created in the morning of a cloudless summer’s day. Although many photographers prefer some cloud to provide contrast in the sky, I actually like a clear blue sky, at least sometimes.

In these conditions a polarising filter is an important part of the toolkit.

Image was processed using Lightroom CC and Photoshop, and there was some distortion correction and a small amount of object (people) removal applied.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
  • L: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO
  • E: Lightroom, Photoshop

New blog post: Gog and Magog.

A photo I made back in January, but just getting around to posting now.

Great overview of some of the apps likely to be usurped by native functionality in iOS 13.

🔗 Sherlocking in iOS 13

Great post by @brentsimmons about How To Support NetNewsWire.

Appreciated each of the thoughtful ways of helping. The last point made me stop and think:

Or: skip helping us, and, instead, help people who need help more than we do. Those people should not be hard to find.

Upcoming Book by Jill Heinerth—*Into the Planet*

I am looking forward to the upcoming release of my friend Jill Heinerth’s autobiographical book Into the Planet.

Jill is an extraordinary cave diver, explorer, photographer, videographer, writer and scientist. We’ve met on several occasions over the years, and she is one of these people who can enthrall an audience—small or large—with ease.

This video tells Jill’s story better than I ever could.

Into The Planet - My Life as a Cave Diver Book Trailer from Jill Heinerth on Vimeo.

Into the Planet is due to be released in late August, and I look forward to reading what I am sure will be an interesting and engrossing story.

Enjoyed the final episode of Game of Thrones. After having been disappointed by the endings of previously much liked series (Lost and BSG), I am happy with the overall conclusion to this epic story.

A seemingly simple feature, but likely to be a game changer

🔗 Report Claims iOS 13 Will Allow Lightroom CC to Import Photos Directly From External Storage

Pleased that an m43 camera made the list (rumours of the death of m43 are a tad premature), pleased that it is a Panasonic model, and pleased that its my camera of choice!

🔗 Shutterbug’s Top 10 Favorite Cameras and Lenses of 2018

Sunrise photography

I’m starting to really like Flickr again, but really looking forward to this change so I can ditch my Yahoo account forever.

🔗 Leaving the Yahoo login behind