Larsblog - personal

History, history everywhere

One thing that's struck me about Japan is how amazingly rich their history is, and how you could spend your entire life digging into it, without ever running out of things to learn. That history is still very much alive to the Japanese themselves, and everywhere you turn you are reminded of it. ...

Read | 2012-09-14 17:41 | 1 comment(s)

Hiraizumi — the Kyoto of the north

In 1100, the Fujiwara clan made Hiraizumi their capital, and ruled almost a third of Japan from here. The city grew to a metropolis of at least 50,000 people, a shining example of Heian Era architecture and culture, to rival even Kyoto the capital. After the fall of the Fujiwaras, however, the town shrunk, and today it has only 8000 people. ...

Read | 2012-09-02 20:48 | 0 comment(s)

The narrow road to the deep north

Once I'd bought the tickets, the next question arose: where to go? I had one week in Japan, but where to spend it? The last time I was in Japan I'd travelled south from Tokyo, so I figured this time I would go north. I'd really love to see Hokkaido, but with only one week I would have spent most of my time travelling, so I decided to not travel that far. Basically, that meant going to the Tohoku region. ...

Read | 2012-08-05 09:50 | 2 comment(s)

Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM

I didn't know much about lenses, having only ever used the one I bought with the camera. I was fairly pleased with it, but discovered that taking photos of our newborn daughter (indoors, necessarily) gave disappointing results. The problem was the same one that made me give up my compact camera: not enough light. I could use high ISO, and get grainy photos, or low ISO, and get blurry ones. ...

Read | 2009-07-17 21:14 | 2 comment(s)

The year of the DSLR

I bought myself a DSLR almost exactly one year ago, and have been working on my photography skills ever since. I've been reading up on theory and equipment, and also worked on trying to make the most of the new camera. I'm happy to say that I think I've made progress during the year. I attribute the improvements to better theoretical knowledge of photography (understanding aperture, ISO, depth of field, etc etc), much better equipment (camera and lenses), and also better post-production. ...

Read | 2009-01-10 16:14 | 2 comment(s)

Travels in 2008

Once again it's time for the annual travel map. This year's is not the most extensive, as I knew when I made last year's, since I knew I was ill and that we were having a baby. This is also why, for the first time in many years, there was no intercontinental travel, and no trips to anywhere even remotely challenging. ...

Read | 2009-01-03 16:06 | 0 comment(s)

Polarization filter

After buying my DSLR camera I've developed symptoms of beginning camera-geekiness, and have on and off looked at all kinds of camera-related equipment, without actually buying anything. I was, however, given a polarization filter as a get well present by colleagues at work, and in return promised to write a blog entry about it. I actually find this an interesting subject to write about, and as I've now spent a few months playing with it, here we are. ...

Read | 2008-07-27 11:05 | 2 comment(s)

Burnt out

I never thought it would happen to me, but I guess they all say that. I knew I was pushing my luck, but I thought I always stayed on the right side of the line and that I'd be able to stop in time. What I didn't realize is that long-term stress wears you down gradually, and that if the effects don't get you while you're going at full speed they'll strike when you slow down. ...

Read | 2008-07-19 21:10 | 13 comment(s)

Goslar

When I discovered that besides being the birthplace of the beer style Gose Goslar was also a medieval town so well-preserved it's been UNESCO-listed it was clear that our German Interrail holiday would have to include a stop there. In retrospect I can say that this was definitely one of the high points of the holiday. ...

Read | 2008-06-03 16:25 | 3 comment(s)

The Kiso valley

In Tokugawa-era Japan (1600-1868) travellers had two main roads to choose between when travelling between the official imperial capital of Kyoto and the seat of power, which was Tokyo (then called Edo). One was the Tokaido, which followed the coast and required the fording of several large rivers. Another was the Nakasendo, which crossed the mountains of central Japan without crossing any major rivers. These roads were much travelled by, as the Tokugawa shogunate required all daimyos (feudal lords) to reside alternate years in Tokyo (so it could keep an eye on them), and both became very important parts of Japanese national culture. ...

Read | 2008-05-24 12:52 | 1 comment(s)

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