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OK, I Changed My Mind

28 May 2013

I have a few confessions to make. I bought a Canon 5D Mk3. After pooh-poohing it I was eventually swayed by a lack of alternative and went for the Mk3.

Two Canons 5DMk3 and G1X

And my other confession: A very close second in my purchase options was the 1DX. And I was very, very close, finally only swayed by the thought that the extra money could be used to get a Canon 85mm f1.2L.

And for me the form factor of the 1DX can be very intimidating, especially in less professional settings, so that’s why in the end it is the 5D Mk3 which is now my workhorse camera of choice.

Having made the bold prediction that a high megapixel camera was imminent from Canon, I have to suck it up on that one as well.

I still reckon there was a camera close to production, but it was trumped by the Nikon 800, and even further by the 800E that is the same 36 megapixel sensor without the anti-aliasing filter, and perhaps final proof that people did indeed want a high megapixel camera.

Canon might have felt that their product was below par in that race and sent it back to the design department.

Another explanation doing the rounds is that Canon’s lenses were not good enough to handle high megapixel imaging. We have seen a lot of workhorse lenses undergoing upgrades with the 24-70 f2.8L II and 70-200 f2.8L II IS the most notable extensive and expensive upgrades.

Or the problem could be more practical. After the flooding in Thailand back in 2011 Canon is taking more production back to Japan, and then hit with the rising yen and the commensurate slowdown in US sales, I would expect there was not great hurry to get an innovative product onto the market.

My other recent purchase should not be such a surprise. I got the G1X which also has a happy home in my camera bag, or more usually, my coat pocket. Now this baby I love.

The focussing system still sucks with its slowness, and while it is supposed to be faster than the G12 this is not noticeable in the real world.

Many others complain about the macro focus being too far away. I thought this was a stupid complaint at first, but now that I see everyone spends most of their photographic energies snapping food, I can see why some wankers might complain.

For me, I’m happy with the image quality and this feature alone overrides its shortcomings in other areas.

Having a compact camera that you can stretch to ISO 2000 or more is the big winner in my book.

With all my other compacts I rarely took them past ISO 50 because the noise at even ISO 400 was unbearable. And this was a major drawback because in all practicality it is the compact that is going to places where lighting is most challenging, because it is with you when you are away from the studio, arena or event.

Another backhanded advantage of using a product that is lacking in one area is that it fine-tunes your skills in others. In the search for work-arounds I am more often pushing the limits of the camera and exploring manual setups that overcome these shortcomings.

You might say that buying something new and then having to work around it defeats the purpose of upgrading, but that’s not always so.

With the 5D Mk3 for example, the focussing system is head and shoulders above the Mk2, but more often than not, it gets in my way. What’s that you say?

Well, I was so used to just using the centre spot focus on my Mk2 for so many years it has become firmly entrenched in my muscle memory.

Now that I can focus by region, expanded region, have better follow focus and options for portrait and landscape orientations, frankly more often than not I find myself going back to my Mk2 habits.

The tried and true method of back-focussing with the centre spot and taking it from there, re-framing if necessary or manually locking on to a moving object serves me better in situations where there is a lot happening.

Instead of going through a number of steps to alter the auto-focus performance it’s easier to just lock on one spot and concentrate on the action more.

So where am I now?

I’m pretty happy with the new gear. I’m especially pleased with the improved high ISO performance of the Mk3 and no longer worry about going over ISO 2000. My new threshold of resistance is ISO 5000, so that is a significant move forward.

Having said that, I still prefer to shoot as low as possible and have erred on the side of conservatism far too often, or you could say so regularly that instead of classing blurry pictures as an accident, it has now become a style.

But, while pointing out again that I am quite happy with the Mk3, I reckon Canon made the transition tougher than it needed to be.

Just changing the layout of the buttons has my fingers running around the back of the camera, and every time I want to zoom in or out on a preview I have to use different fingers. No biggie, just a butt-pain.

The menu system has also changed in annoying little ways. While much the same, just details differ enough to disconcert you when you need to change settings in a hurry.

I wouldn’t mind so much if it was an improved navigation system, as camera manufacturers have never been great software developers, but essentially it is the same basic system with just a few options moved around for no apparent purpose.



Canon 5D Mk3

3 March 2012

So the long awaited Canon 5D Mk3 has been announced. The much anticipated update to what was pretty much a game changer in the industry this time enters the market with a whimper instead of a splash.

5D Mk3
Image courtesy of Canon

Same sensor size, though for me this is no big deal. I’m happy at 22mp and I remember going from the 12mp of a 400D to the 18mp of the Canon 50D and being upset that at the pixel peeping level many of my shots were much fuzzier.

It was a matter of better technique, better understanding and some better lenses that got me over this issue, and then made me better able to utilise the capability of the 5D MkII.

I reckon going to 33 – 38mp would have as many drawbacks as it would advantages.
The 5D now essentially has the 7D ergonomics with the 1DX focussing system. This is good. But it’s not great.

Video enhancement is neither here nor there for me. After the introduction of the C300 I was hoping Canon’s video energy would go that way, but it seems they are still intent on pushing the video capabilities of the 5D line and this is a major aspect of their marketing strategy.

When you see crews filming with the 5D, it is usually just that – a crew – and they have so much shit hanging off the thing that to me it seems the only advantage is that you can go and film in areas usually restricted to photographers.

Don’t get me wrong, I see the advantages in having video on your still camera, but the video capabilities of the Mk2 already surpassed my video needs, so telling me they’re now even better is something I’ll take, but don’t want to pay for.

The improved focus system and speed up to 6fps is good news to me. I tend to shoot a lot of sport and am always frustrated at sporting events when the 1D shooters fire away and I can hear them machine-gunning away at dunks while my motor drive frustratingly kerchunks along beside them.

While only one Digic 5 processor compared to the two in the 1DX, the increase in speed is of great interest to me, especially the shutter lag. Apparently they have it down to 59ms, which is up there with the best in the business.

But I know this isn’t a sports camera and have managed to work around the poor focussing because I know I get advantages in other areas, mainly picture quality, depth and good low light performance.

I guess my major beef is the price hike. With only essentially incremental improvements using already developed technology taken from other lines it seems excessive that it enters the market over $1000 up on price. Same as the new 24 – 70 f2.8L II, seems the upgrade price these days is $1000. Which is a lot if you feel you end up with pretty much the same thing.

And many of the improvements are in the video area, so I guess I’m feeling neglected and asked to fork out for stuff I didn’t want in the first place.

I read somewhere that the video people don’t need more than 22mp because it mucks with the mathematics and makes it tougher to render or something. So maybe the 5D has found a niche in the video world and Canon want to consolidate that position.

In short, I won’t be running out to buy the 5D Mk3.

Like much of their marketing these days I feel Canon is feeling out the market before committing to products. Maybe with the rise in the yen they are feeling a financial pinch that has shifted more focus to maintaining profits over innovation, but with that strategy you lose a lot of customer passion and loyalty.

I still think there is another camera hiding in the wings. Canon knew long ago that Nikon would be hitting the market with the D800 and 36mp and I don’t think they can leave that camera in a segment of its own.

And all the lens upgrades lately seem to be pointing towards more demanding sensors.

Again they might be waiting to read the reviews or see the sales figures, but I believe they have something pretty close to ready, or perhaps even awaiting imminent release.

I expect a high megapixel camera aimed more at the stills shooter. The focus system will be crap again, the speed will suck and the ergonomics fiddly, but it will probably be the camera I’ll go for.

The Megapixel War is Dead - Long Live the Megapixel War

9 February 2012

When Canon announced their still faraway 1DX last year, there were many in the industry rejoicing that the megapixel war might at last be over.

Ray and 1DX

For once there was an emphasis on quality over quantity of pixels, as the new 1DX heralded superior dynamic range and ever improving high ISO performance.

This on top of the mind-blowing 12 frames per second (fps) auto focus, and 14 fps mirror lock headline figures. And at last a new and improved focusing system.

Well, for me it just didn't make sense, and as the update cycle continues with ever more announcements rather than products appearing in the store, everything seems to point towards the megapixel war being far from over.

For me as a 5D MkII shooter I must say the 1DX was a bit of a letdown, and really nothing more than an answer to the Nikon D4 - refinement for the sake of headline market specs.

What I wanted was a 33 megapixel camera that could be set to APS-H or APS-C. This would give everyone something to salivate over in a Canon flagship professional camera.

The APS-H crowd would jump from 16 to 25 MP, and the APS-C shooters would go from 18 (for the 7D) to 20.6 MP, like I said, something for everyone, and good reason to find the $6800 needed to take one home.

Sports shooters could dial in APS-C and get their 12 fps at 20 megapixel, and their glass would be getting the same perspective as a 7D, 60D, 50D etc.

There are still a lot of professional shooters using equipment like this and moving up to the 1DX might not be viable for them because all the sudden the shots they were used to on a 200 mm lens for example, would now be 125 mm, or the 18 megapixel image they shot would need to be cropped down to 11.25 megapixel to get the same reach.

It is, in short, a product that is taking megapixels from our pockets and making our stable of lenses shorter by the APS-C factor of 1.6.

Same for the 1D Mk4 shooters. They wouldn't be losing as much, but still their 16 megapixel APS-H sensor would be dropping their 200 mm lens back to 154 mm, or cropping down to 13.8 megapixels for the same image.

Now with the sudden announcements of new lenses from Canon, including the long awaited 24 - 70, and its massive price hike, it might appear to the more cynical amongst us that Canon is banking on its users needing to make a major update on their glass.

All this seems to point to expected greater demands of higher megapixel sensors, and alongside the need to update lenses in order to get the reach that many photographers are already used to, it seems Canon may have an eye on lens sales punching company profits forward in the medium term future.

So let's have another look over the fence. Nikon, who has been the clear market leader in many areas for a few years now has announced and released a pre-production model of the D800 with its 36.3 MP sensor.

Its price of $3000 is a direct challenge to Canon and the 5D MkII - and the best indicator that Canon will be launching something in similar in the near future.

Nikon already has a far superior focus system as well as an envied high ISO performance, and much of the innovation in the 1DX has been focussed on these areas in what is largely a catch-up exercise for Canon.

But in clinging to the coattails of Nikon they face the risk of falling further behind in other areas such as flash technology.

Canon seems to be riding the rumour mill at the moment and waiting for public opinion to sway, if not direct, their future product line.

Even the alleged leak of a 5D MkII in the wild with the 200 – 400 1.4X lens would again, to my same cynical friends, seem a fully orchestrated event initiated to gauge reaction rather than prepare the market for an impending release.

There is talk of the 5D MkIII, a 7D MkII perhaps moving to full frame, a new line of hybrid somewhere between the 5 and 7 series that might be called anything except the confusing 3D.

Then there is talk of a completely new ultra high MP camera, somewhere in the 40 MP range that would also slightly overstep into the medium format market.

Again, Nikon has already made that step offering the D800E, which is essentially the same as the D800 but without a low pass filter, offering the fine detail expected in studio shooting.

For me, I just want Canon to head forward, to have the courage of their convictions and get behind a product they believe in. Something that will blow me and the whole industry out of the water.

I for one will be putting my hand up for a G1X.

I love the articulating screen for a start, and that's the main reason I got a G12. It lets me get alternate angles on shots and doesn't require me to look like I'm having a dump in the middle of the sidewalk.

Canon's move in putting a near APS-C size sensor in the G series is a good example of market innovation - for me anyway.

I can't see the need for a mirrorless classs of cameras, at least for professional photographers.

Why would I want to invest in a new stable of lenses for a smaller sensor? To me, the G1X is the perfect answer as something that will fit into my pocket at a pinch, and can comfortably travel with me when I don't want to lug around a backpack full of lenses.

But in short, I’m tired of waiting for Canon to catch up to Nikon. I want them to break new ground and astound me with a product that will blow me and the whole industry away.

I want something I can be passionate about instead of just waiting for servings of stale morsels that Nikonians have been enjoying for years.

I just hope Canon can do it before I feel the need to make the expensive and traitorous switch to a rival system.



For Older Photos Click Here



Vicariously Your Logo

Vicariously Yours

Stuck at home with no sight of the world returning to normal? Not sure when you'll be dusting off the passport and heading overseas again?

Well let me take you on a vicarious journey through some of my own travels, adventures, trips and mishaps throughout this planet.

Although I've travelled quite a bit, I'm not keen on research, maps or guide-books, and I've managed to totally miss major attractions while gathering a comprehensive understanding of the backstreets and minutia nearby.

Armed with only a questionable sense of direction and the inability to correctly understand even the most basic of directions, I'll recount my stumblings and surprises and the odd perspective that these adventures have brought upon me.

I'll post an irregular extract from journals and diaries I've kept over the years to both help you pass your time at home, and perhaps even dissuade you from travelling at all once the planes start flying again.

When you first start to travel airports are exciting and something to look forward to, but for the frequent traveller airports are a pain, and more often a place of frustration and waiting.

Having been bumped, delayed, cancelled and re-routed, I've had plenty of time to muse upon the vagaries of airports, and this is what I came up with.

You can see it was written a while ago - in the good old days when you could ask for an aisle seat instead of having to pay an arm and a leg for it.

Ray Airport Extremes

Airport extremes

Airports are places of excess. The excessive cost of airports have been well documented and experienced by anyone who has ever entered a terminal, but this is not the sinister excess that I want to warn you of.

No, the most sinister effect of an airport is its ability to bend and polarise time. "What?" I hear you say, “impossible!” But think about it and soon I'm sure you will agree and wonder as I did, how we did not notice this strange and strong phenomenon much sooner, one so blatantly obvious in hindsight.

Did you ever wonder for example why airports are located where they are? It is not the result of any town planning guideline or any thought evolved of logic, rather it is in accordance with a mysterious vortex grid that exists under this earth and which is known only to the devious airport engineers.

Why else would some airports be over an hour away from any city, like Narita in Japan, or in the middle of the city, like in Sydney, or even in the middle of a harbour, like in Hong Kong? No the reason is not for any passenger convenience, but because of these vortex faults that pockmark the world and demand that an airport be built upon them.

Airports are built on these vortices, areas that are subject to laws of physics that don't apply anywhere else on earth. These polarizing zones are so strong that they draw gravity and swirl it around, and as students of Einstein will tell you, this has a real and marked effect on time. It is at these sites, our airports, that time loses all of its subtlety and, depending on the person, might either slow you down to a crawl or speed you up to a frenetic pace. Time, in other words, has only two speeds at an airport, either full flat out, or so slow as to be almost non-existent.

Think back to the last time you were at an airport, any airport, and you will remember that there are only two types of people; those that run and rush around as if the world is about to end, and those with so much time on their hands that they move around as if in a trance and sip on a coffee or a beer as slowly as if it were made of treacle.

The slow people have time to burn and an eternity before they are due anywhere. These are the people that arrive the specified three hours before their plane is due for departure, and then a couple of hours earlier just in case something goes wrong. These are the people that stand at the check-in line without checking their watches every two seconds in the constant fear of missing their flight, and who don't swear at the counter staff and don't try to push to the front of the line.

These are the people who get to ask for a window seat – and get it – or even the exit aisle. These are the ones that will go and have a coffee and snack and do some shopping and maybe even post a letter and still get to the boarding gate before you, because these are the people that have time stopped for them and they can use every second as if it is an hour, and their slow pace is a slap in your face as you run through the terminal as these slow and labouring figures attempt to thwart your every step.

Which brings us to the other end of the spectrum, those who have time accelerated; when every hour lasts less than a second and no matter how many chores you have to do before departure, some will remain undone and be a burden on your mind for the whole of your journey.

If you are in the accelerated vortex then you are always behind and any time you start to catch up, fate will play some cruel trick that will make you late again. Get a break in the traffic, then you lose your passport, get a good parking spot, then the check-in line is winding out past the front door, no matter what you do, any time you make up will be lost somewhere else along the line.

It is as if you are a greyhound on a racetrack, no matter how fast you run, you just can't catch up, because the vortex is the cruel hand on the control of the fake rabbit that makes sure that no matter how much faster you go, your goal of arriving on time stays ever out of reach.

Once you check in of course you will find that your gate is the furthest away in the longest hallway requiring a ride on 12 or 15 rolling walkways where your progress is continually hindered by those that have been caught at the other end of the time scale; those who stand around in impassable packs as if to make you even later, and they just smile at you as your few remaining minutes pass quicker then seconds in the normal world.

You run all the way and arrive panting and sweating and finally stand at the boarding gate that will get you on the plane, and if you look ahead, you see the person who you pushed past half an hour ago, already somehow there ahead of you and in prime position to be the first on the plane. They stand there, mocking you, calm and collected, and if you stare at them they will probably give you a little smile just to make it even worse.

But while we can laugh at each other from opposite ends of the spectrum, spare a thought for couples who are travelling together, and who are each caught in the opposite time camp. You have seen them, where one is saying relax and take it easy, and the other is screaming and crying and carrying on like the world is about to end, regardless of what the other might say.

While one stands there half asleep and looking about without care or concern, the partner fidgets and jitters, checking pockets and looking at the time, making sure that they are standing in the right line.

One has time to read a newspaper and chat to another passenger in the line while the other is too tense to even consider a conversation; one calmly picks up their bags and moves them forward one step, while the other kicks their haphazard pile of luggage to within a millimetre of the person in front of them, as if that one millimetre will make them earlier for the flight.

My favourite aspect of this phenomenon though is its randomness, and how it can just as easily change at any time.

Again couples are the best to watch. One comes running into the terminal as if the world is about to end while a few seconds later the partner saunters in without a care in the world until they stop at the departure board. Then you see the switch. The person who was calm and collected all the sudden becomes panicked and grief-stricken and in a second turns from total calm to utter anarchy, or just as likely, to realise that in fact they are way too early and have hours to kill.

I love it when that happens. That's when I get on those rolling walkways and try to get in the way of those people that are running around in a panic.




Vicariously Your Logo

In this second instalment we move to Brooklyn, New York, where I spent three cold months in the winter of 2004. This was towards the end of my stay where I had established my preferred stomping grounds around the streets of Park Slope.

Interesting how things stay the same the more they change. News at the time was a cop shot a kid and the New York Knicks still suck.

Also a nice reminder in these times of quarantine of how local bars and cafes serve as an important social safety net.

Ray n Liba

Brooklyn Knights

A night in Brooklyn is half over when I walk into a diner I have made my local snack spot and I nod hi to the girls behind the counter and sit down and have a crappy cup of coffee in front of me before I've made an imprint in the vinyl covered stool and I nod hello to a couple other customers who I have seen over the weeks but never spoken to.

Elmo comes in and sits beside me as I order a bacon and egg sandwich and Liba the Jamaican waitress says that I can have it in a roll and yeah a roll sounds good and I grab the paper and cast an eye over the headlines of the day.

There are some sort of elections but I don't care because politics over here don't interest me and I look for some news that is familiar and I find none; even the way they report things is different over here and police aren't police they are cops and everyone calls them cops even the police themselves.

A cop did this a cop did that and they get a lot of flack even though they got more respect after 9/11 and a lot of people wear NYPD hats. This week they shot a kid in one of the slums and it was a cop who hadn't pulled his gun in 11 years on the job.

I just look at the ads in the paper now because I want to buy a camera and Elmo talks to Liba the waitress and she introduces me to Elmo as the guy from Australia and I go to shake his hand but he makes a fist and points it towards me and I make a fist and I hit him knuckle on knuckle and I remember his name is Elmo because it is tattooed on his knuckles on his left hand.

Before long he tells me he is a thief but not a very good one I think to myself because although he wears the obligatory bandana it covers his eyes so much that he has to tilt his head back at a 45 degree angle to look me in the eye and wears a coat that has a hood and talks in the thick New York accent and has teeth are so bad that some of the front ones are missing but the top ones have braces but he is too old to have braces and he has a tear tattoo under his left eye.

His problem is he's too small and skinny and despite the clothes of a boy from the hood he is not threatening and in fact seems somehow lovable even when he starts doing the rap that he told me he made up in jail. "If you see me Elmo in your neighbourhood, you can be sure that I'm up to no good " - and I smile as my egg and bacon roll arrives.

As I munch on my snack and ask Liba the Jamaican waitress to top up my coffee because I think I am finally getting used to it or maybe it's just late and I need a kick but when Liba takes the coffee back to its coffee cradle Elmo whispers to me that he wonders if I have 35 cents he can have but don't tell Liba that I am asking because she will get mad at Elmo and I search in my pockets and now am good at it because I pretend I am getting all my coins out but in fact I am feeling for the size of the coins so I can give him about 50 cents.

I pull out 45 cents two dimes and a quarter and hand it over though sometimes I say: "sorry you guys have cleaned me out today", I am happy to give Elmo almost half a buck and he thanks me and tells me he is going out to get a drink and I go back to eating my roll and looking at the ads in the paper.

Elmo comes back in what seems way too soon and he has a urine coloured brew in a plastic bottle that he carries around in a brown paper bag and he tells me he likes the snow because it is easy to keep his beer cold and I wonder where he gets his beer for 35 cents when every time I buy one around here it costs me four dollars and an extra buck as a tip.

"I have to get my stitches out," Elmo tells me as he points to the band aid above his left eye which is the same eye that has the tattoo of a tear and as he leans over to show me but Liba yells at him not to take the band aid off and he tells her that he is sticking it down and he tells me that they got him good last week and I think someone beat him up.

"Remember when I left last week?" he yells to Liba the Jamaican waitress and Elmo tells me he tried to go over the snow that is piled high beside the sidewalk and he fell over and fell on his head. "Man I was drunk and I came back in here and Liba told me to go to the hospital and I did". Elmo tells me he has learnt his lesson and now he walks around the snow and not over it anymore.

I say goodbye to Elmo and go up to the cash register to pay Liba the four dollars and one buck tip for my snack and she says bye and she is moving this week because she finally fixed the door where she lives and the landlord is off her back and I tell her I extended my stay and she tells me she extended her stay three years ago and is still here.

On the way home I go past a bar and decide to go in because I haven't been in before and even though it is not much of a reason it is a good enough reason for now and it looks all local on the outside but inside it is all neat and tidy and not like a lot of other bars which have TVs everywhere and barmaids that chew gum.

It's all guys in here and they sit silently and I go into the toilet and see that there is leopard skin wallpaper and alabaster fixtures and it is much cleaner than all the other toilets in all the other bars in the area.

Back at the bar and a guy and a girl are sitting in front of my beer and my dollar change from my five which becomes a tip and I reach over and grab just the beer and they say sorry and I say no worries and I get a new stool and they get their drinks and go out to the back of the place where there are comfy couch chairs and floral arrangements and I finish my beer and decide to leave because I want to catch the last of the basketball game.

Almost home I drop in on the bar on the corner where I live I walk in and say hi to Jonathan the barman and go to the end of the bar and order my beer and hand over four dollars and leave a one buck tip on the side which Jonathan will not pick up until after I leave and I grab a newspaper that is on the bar and it is the same one that I just read at the diner.

A bloke I've met before comes up and starts talking to me and I smile and take my medicine because I came here a week ago and annoyed someone with my drunken banter and I figure it is karma and I know this guy and I can't change the subject because I know that he thinks he knows something about everything and whatever I say he pulls out some vague fact that I find both annoying and interesting so I listen a bit but pretend that I am much more interested in the paper.

The basketball game is on television but it is over because the Knicks are getting a thrashing even though they have a new coach and new players and I finally finish my beer and say goodbye to my buddy who was in Vietnam and I wave to Jonathan as well as I walk the last couple of steps to the house where I am staying and I open the front door and walk off the mean streets of Brooklyn.

For some reason I'm thinking of Tickle Me Elmo.




Vicariously Your Logo

In this second instalment we move to Brooklyn, New York, where I spent three cold months in the winter of 2004. This was towards the end of my stay where I had established my preferred stomping grounds around the streets of Park Slope.

Interesting how things stay the same the more they change. News at the time was a cop shot a kid and the New York Knicks still suck.

Also a nice reminder in these times of quarantine of how local bars and cafes serve as an important social safety net.

Breeding the Tough

Breeding them tough

The perennial favourite filler on the TV news is the story of the granny who takes her first skydive on her hundredth birthday. It’s always a woman, and the newsreader, nearly always a man, comments that he’d love to be that sprightly at her age.

You see these x-gen grannies and you might think that they’re tough, but I’ll tell you now that they’re no match for Lithuanian pensioners.

You see these grannies skydiving and they are so tightly secured to an instructor and need to nothing more than have a nap. In fact they these instructors could jump from 20,000 feet with a goldfish bowl and not spill a drop.

On landing, the granny always says something like: “That was fun and I can’t wait to do it again.” But let’s face it, she’s only saying that because it’s most likely that she has slept through the whole thing, and it was only the camera crew that woke her up for the interview.

I would like to see a granny really go for it. I would even settle for an octoganerian, standing at the open door of a plane and throwing her parachute out first, and having to jump after it, put it on and pull the rip-cord before hitting the ground, now that would be something to see. But where could you find such grannies?

Well I see them everyday here in Lithuania. They may be frail looking, but these girls are tough, and that’s why I was a bit worried recently when the pensioners had a few protests against government budget and austerity cuts – they could have made the riots in front of parliament in 2009 look like a kids party.

I’ve seen these pensioners on busses that lean more than most motorbikes as they tear through town and country. Fully petrified, I hang on for dear life but I see the faces of these grannies, my fellow passengers, and there is no concern for their safety. They simply pick up the odd potato that centrifugal force sends flying across the aisle. In fact I try to position myself between a bunch of them as makeshift airbags as they don their huge fur coats in winter.

I can see in their eyes that they are not concerned for their own safety, instead wondering why the bus driver is going so slow.

And I see these grannies in the streets. In the winter and snow where I’m not used to walking on frozen ground, and I shuffle down the cobble-stoned streets of Vilnius as if my pants have been pooed, and I hold on dearly to any wall or bench within arms’ reach. As if to mock me the grannies go zooming past, impatiently nudging me aside as they speed off over the horizon in front of me.

And they speed by carrying a week’s grocery shopping and a bunch of flowers.

And if you get between a gang of grannies and a sale of cucumbers or tomatoes at the market you will know the feeling of running with the bulls.

And how do they breed them so tough? Well in the land of pork, potatoes and pints they teach them discipline. How else have Lithuanian girls retained the lowest body fat index in the EU? They send them out in the snow, on cobblestone streets covered in ice and instead of boots or snow shoes, they send them out in high heels. They do this from the age of 12.

And then there’s the legendary goat training.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well read on - maybe you remember this story from a couple of years ago that was widely reported around the web:

Miss Popova from Klaipeda was 93 years old, but not quite as frail as she looked and shocked two young robbers by fighting back fiercely and grabbing one of them by the testicles.

The plucky pensioner, who says she developed a ‘grip like iron’ due to her many years of milking goats, held on tightly until police arrived on the scene to rescue the whimpering man.

She told police: "He started screaming like an animal and his friend was trying to pull him free, but I have a grip like iron."

When officers arrived Miss Popova, who still had the man's wedding tackle tightly in her grip, finally released her prey so police could take the injured man to hospital and his accomplice off to jail.

A police spokesman said: "They would not have got far, one of them could hardly walk and seemed pleased when he saw the police car.”

Additionally, I also remember them asking Miss Popova her secret to health and longevity to which she replied: “I stay away from men!”

I think that’s probably a good thing.



  Sostines Dienos, Vilnius 2017


Sostinės Dienos, Vilnius, 2017
The annual arts and crafts festival is a regular in the Vilnius program. Running pretty much the length of Gediminas Avenue, this is a showcase for Lithuanian craftspeople to show their wares. Painters, jewellers, sculptors, publishers, local food and beverage producers gather in their stalls to attract the passing public and interest them in their wares. Always a relaxed stroll and a chance to catch up with friends..
1-3 September 2017



  Vasario 16, February 16, Vilnius Lithuania


Vasario 16, 2017
Scenes from around Vilnius as Lithuanian celebrated its 99th year of restored independence. Activities included the Presidential inspection of the Guard of Honour in Presidential Square, Vytautas Landsbergis giving his speech from Signataru Namai, the armed forces gathering in front of the Ministry of Homeland Security, 16 bonfires on Gedimino Prospect and a concert in Cathedral Squares. Amongst other remembrances of Lithuania's restored independence and separation from the Soviet Union, February 16 is the most patriotic of celebrations.
16 February 2017



  Vilnius Lithuania Christmas Cathedral


Vilnius Christmas 2017
Shots from December 2016 as Vilnius went about its winter business and Christmas preparations. Some snaps from the IWAV Christmas Bazaar, the impressive Cathedral Christmas tree which really does bring out the best of the season in everyone that passes under her, and some general snow and street shots of ordinary life that time of year. Merry Christmas to all.
December 2016



  Klaipeda Lithuania


Down in Klaipeda for the first of the 2016 Lithuanian National Basketball friendlies, I took the opportunity on a free day to have a stroll around Klaipeda. Of course Klaipeda is Lithuania's main port city and most reports are heavy on the sea and coast, but this time I went the other way, just strolling around town on a lazy summer Thursday, seeing some sights old and new as a way to pass the time and play with my new toys. As always, stayed with Dalia and Cepelinas and made my way out through the centre through the parks and along the canals.
30 June 2016



  Jonines Lithuania 2016


Joninės is the annual Lithuanian celebration of the summer solstice, which has continued largely along traditional Lithuanian pagan traditions. After the implementation of Christianity, Lithuania maintained the celebration and simply changed the name to St John's Day. As with most Lithuanian traditions it involves a lot of singing, dancing and stroy-telling, while many spend the night searching for the elusive blossoming fern, young girls - and pretty much everybody else these days - launch their wreaths down the nearest river in the belief that it will aid them in catching a beau in the coming year. This year I started at Verkiu Parkas where I caught up with Stasys and Birute and then headed over to Party with Jonas, where I met my old mate Vytautas.
23 June 2016



  Prelate Edmundas Putrimas Lithuanian World wide day of prayer


Lithuanian World-wide Day of Prayer
Prelate Edmundas Putrimas, the co-ordinator of pastoral care of Lithuanians abroad, was in Melbourne to celebrate the feast of St Casimir, and the Lithuanian World-wide Day of Prayer at the St Mary Star of the Sea church in West Melbourne. The service was followed by a dinner and reception at Lithuanian House in North Melbourne.
6 March 2016



  Vasario 16 Lithuanian Independence Day


Vasario 16 - Lithuanian Independence Day
Lithuania has a number of national holidays celebrating various aspects of statehood, but the one that stands out is Vasario 16, or February 16. While March 11, January 13 and July 6 are all important milestones in the history of Lithuania, the 1918 restoration of Lithuanian independence is the original and the best, for me at least. Lithuania was still occupied by Germany at the time of the 1918 declaration and publication of the proclamation was banned, and it was only distributed illegally and subversively in the first half of 1918. It was after the end of World War I that Lithuania finally took control of its own destiny and emerged as the independent state that still exists today.
16 February 2016



  New Buffalo Bisons v LMC Darius Svabas


New Buffalo Bisons v LMC
New Buffalo Bisons hosted LMC and notched up a comfortable win in their high school encounter. The Bisons were almost 30 up at one stage, controlling the paint at both ends of the court, notching up impressive numbers in both blocks and offensive boards. A late rally by LMC eased the margin as the home team relaxed after establishing an unassailable lead.
6 January 2016



  photos of Danius Kesminas in Vilnius 2015


DK in Vilnius
Danius Kesminas was in town as a guest lecturer at Vilnius Dailes Akademija and on his last day we went about engaging the locals. It really was quite surprising how the Lithuanians, who on the exterior can seem somewhat cold and aloof, were quite happy to engage in and enjoy a bit of tomfoolery. We went from the Vilnius Art Academy, past the Cathedral and over to the Green Bridge where some of the last remnants of Soviet occupation were recently taken down, allegedly for refurbishing. We met a wide variety of people, some of whom Danius knew, though the majority we met for the first time, and enjoyed a chilly afternoon warmed by the good nature of all those we engaged.
19 October 2015



  windsurfing egle ciuzaite gran canaria


During the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championships we had a free day and went with Egle as she went about her windsurfing passion. We were on Gran Canaria, apparently a destination amenable to the wind and water sports and Rimas also took the opportunity to head out for a bit of kite surfing. Meanwhile Egle and I stayed with the more sedate tourist passions of sightseeing and driving around. Later on in the day we also got to visit one of the beaches on the southern tip of the island.
1 September 2014



  Raining on Pilies Street Vilnius


Rain Day
John first coined the phrase "Stealth Cam" when I was shooting discretely in public, but these days it's become a genre of photography better known as Street Photography. I started way back in 1998 with my trusty Kodak DC120 and became fairly good at, not so much disguising the fact that I was photographing, as much as photographing discretely. This day I had an ideal seat under cover and out of the rain on busy Pilies Street as a shower rolled through. With people more intent on staying dry I was pretty much ignored by most, but as you'll see I was still spotted often enough. In that situation I smile and am more than happy to delete a photograph if a person objects.
17 May 2014



  London Bethnal Green East End


Bethnal Green 'n' Boris
On the way back to Lithuania in the autumn of 2013 I did my usual stop in London for a week or so. Stayed with Kristina and Boris lived just around the corner, so we would usually catch up in the park nearby. It was hot and I was enjoying the temperature as I thought I had missed the summer altogether after coming from an Australian winter. This was a day of enjoying the scenery, being happy to be in London and just people watching. I like London and especially the East End where Kristina lives and always make sure of taking a walk by the canals, the parks and the pubs.
31 September -2 August 2013



  New Buffalo Lakers Darius Svabas


Dudie and the Lakers
Dudie plays summer league with the New Buffalo Lakers, and on this night we went over to see them in the finals. There were a couple of games, and I think that on winning the first they continued to the semi or grand final. The first game, with the boys in blue, they won fairly easily, but an hour later they came upon a stronger rival who they held for the first half, but after the long break, one player in particular went ballistic and his turn of form dragged the rest of the team with him and ended up easy winners over our Lakers. But plenty of potential, and Patrick with his headband means there should be titles aplenty in the future.
26 July 2013



  Sunny summer day New Buffalo Michigan


Sunny Summer Day in New Buffalo, Michigan
Went over to see Vida on the way back to Lithuania last year, and to my delight Sabina lent me her scooter so I was able to trundle between Three Oaks and New Buffalo under my own steam. This was a lovely summer Sunday and documents my ride from the farm in Three Oaks, past the pastures near Union Pier, stopped at the flea market, then over to the shop to check that Vida was working, before making my way down to Yacht Club and over the bridge to the beach and breakwater. Hot too, got sunburnt that day but good to feel a bit of sun after coming over from an Australian winter.
22 July 2013



  Andrew Miksys Disko book launch Jalta


Andrew Miksys' Disko Book Launch
Frankly I had a hangover this day and was pretty close to sitting this one out. As it was a photography friendly event though, I decided to head over to Jalta, find a spot at the bar and just snap away all night. Also had a little job just beforehand, and I like the book so I made the effort. Turned into a lovely, relaxed evening in the middle of Christmas party season and met a number of old friends and new. I took my flash along, but the batteries were dead, so really got to put the 85mm f1.2 through its paces.
7 December 2013



  Kucios Day or Christmas Eve in Vilnius


Kucios Day in Vilnius
After spending much of the previous year in Australia, I was keen to get out and have a look at Vilnius on the day of Kucios, one of the most important religious and cultural days in Lithuania. We were denied snow this year, but this was compensated by the unseasonably warm weather - around +5 degrees - and even some blue sky thrown into the mix. It's a day for families and getting ready for the evening meal, the last of the shopping and getting into the spirit of the main Lithuanian family night of the year.
24 December 2013



  Kucios Day or Christmas Eve in Vilnius


Christmas Day in Vilnius
Naturally, the day after Kucios is Christmas. It is quite obvious to see the difference from Kucios, as Christmas Day is a much more relaxed family affair as everyone unwinds after the more traditional Kucios, which is also a working day. No more rushing around, just time to enjoy the day. And this day was of course sunny, which in itself is a Christmas miracle on this end of the world. Christmas Day is good for wandering around Vilnius and ran into quite a few friends, including Inga and Vincas and kids who I hadn't seen for ages, as well as Daiva, Vytas and family. And good old Santa as well.
25 December 2013



  Suzie Maya Connor Godfrey Maher


Dinner with the Godfreys
Caught up with John, Lindsay, Suzie and the kids before heading back to Lithuania. We tried out the Railway Hotel in Northcote and were pleasantly delighted by the menu. Maya was not camera shy, and knew exactly where to sit, and Connor came in second. Rowan took a few shots as well, most notably of the three best male role models any boy could hope for. We also lucked in on trivia night, and they tried hard not to disturb us, but they were a bit of a nuisance. Suzie was not quite as camera friendly as the kids, but even she joined in after a little while to cap off a memorable evening.
2 July 2013



  All Souls Day 1 November


All Souls Day
All Souls Day, Velines, or Kapines, or the day of the dead, is 1 November all over the world. In Vilnius it is a day comemorated by many as they make a pilgrimage to tend the graves of their loved ones. Always a spectacular sight as the thousands of candles light up Rasu Cemetary in Vilnius, though this night was particularly dark with no moon, stars and only high clouds that didn't reflect any city lights. I'm always amazed at the number of people that turn out on this sombre occasion.
1 November 2013



  Kaliningrad manor house and town


Lithuanian Cricket Team
Another cricket friendly played in Vilnius, this time the visiting Peebles team played a couple of games on a Friday and Saturday. Lithuania did well, winning most games, but we did have a big advantage in better understanding the local conditions. It was a bit late in the season, and it was getting quite windy and dark, but we got through the games without any great delay, and only needing an extra jumper. The pitch was keeping low and erratic, but as always, international friendship was the one big winner.
27 September 2013



  Kaliningrad manor house and town


Kaliningrad Manor
We took a trip to Kaliningrad. Undies and Wendy were in town and Dalia showed us the way through the Russian enclave. Dalia is looking at making a film in this town in the south of Kaliningrad that we could never pronounce, and wanted to check it out, as well as find out how tough it would be to get approval and passes for us. The manor had been used as an orphanage, but was due for renovation, so now sits idle, used only by the local kids who play in the spacious gardens. A nice look at the old German architecture that is evident around this part of former Prussia.
6 September 2012



  Orientica III - A night in an Arabian Harem


Orientica III
GT was in town and along with sorting out some bureaucratic issues, was also involved in putting on Orientica III with his mother. A night in an Arabian harem was the theme and I went over on the previous night to snap the rehearsal. It was a tough gig with little light and nothing to bounce off, but some fast glass got us through. A bit of post-processing helped with this one too in bringing out at least some of the feel of the evening.
11 October 2013



  Mykas Kristens 2013 birthday


Mykas Birthday
Little Mykas just keeps getting older and older. Far from the little second cousin from not so long ago, he has now grown to be four inches taller than me. We gathered at Angie's place to celebrate. All the usual suspects as well as some of their rels from Lithuania surrounded the table to eat and help blow out the candles. It's these ocassions you miss when overseas, so it was especially pleasing to go and help eat the cake.
24 February 2013



  North Melbourne Lithuanian House


North Melbourne Street
The streets of North Melbourne. What with parking getting to be so tough, it usually takes a bit of a walk to find a parking spot, especially if you're going to be there for a while. But it was a nice sunny day and eventually found a spot a couple of streets behind Lithuanian House in North Melbourne, and took to enjoying the sun and the scenery on the walk to and from Errol Street. Classic scenes of inner Melbourne suburban life.
8 May 2013



  Portoroz beach-side town Slovenia


Again in Slovenia, this day we headed out to the beachside town of Portoroz. Rather than lazing on the golden sands we went climbing about the town and spent a couple of hours sitting in a cafe where we were treated to the fresh fish of the day. The fish was certainly good, but the most refreshing thing about that lunch was to chance upon a cafe that has trouble handling the sudden influx of six people. Slovenian architecture is very reminiscent of Lithuanian Baroque, though the town in general has a more Italian feel with the narrower alleys and inter-connected courtyards.
16 September 2013



  Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle Slovenia


Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle
Between games at Eurobasket we had the chance to do a bit of sightseeing - probably the only advantage of going by bus. On this day we headed out to see the Postojna Caves and Predjama Castle. The Postojna caves are said to be pretty much the biggest in the world, and they were impressive, and huge. The castle was quite impressive from a distance, but the interior was not restored; just a ramshackle collection of a few period pieces, some older dummies dressed as monks, a wine shop and the ongoing reconstruction work. And I forgot to to the idiot check this day and took my camera, but without a battery. So I borrowed Inga's 550D, so very was appreciative.
12 September 2013



  Slovenian alps


Brno to Slovenia
A bus trip from Lithuania to Slovenia for the European Baskeball Championships took a couple of days, but was highlighted in the final stages with a drive through the alps that between Austria and Slovenia. For this leg I jumped into the car with Sveika, my roomie for the next three weeks and we enjoyed the spectacular scenery. The views are especially exciting from a Lithuanian perspective as Lithuania is as flat as a proverbial pancake and anything about a couple of hundred metres is considered high.
4 September 2013



  Collingwood v Port Melbourne VFL


Back to Victoria Park
As a long time Collingwood supporter John and I took the opportunity to revisit Victoria Park - the traditional home of the mighty Magpies. It's only used for VFL games these days, but we got to see a good match against VFA/VFL stalwarts Port Melbourne in what was a good tough encounter. Wicks played well and was selected for the seniors the next week on the back of this performance, as was Krakoeur. A legion of die-hard supporters from both teams yelling out the tried and true cliches of player and umpire abuse, and sucking on a can of full-strength VB throughout the game made us very much yearn for the good old days.
29 June 2013



  Uncle John in Geelong


Lunch with Uncle John
As a family we hadn't seen Uncle John, or more accurately Dede Jonas, for quite a while. He had been living down in Geelong and with advancing years was making the journey to Melbourne less and less often. Angie arranged to have a birthday lunch down by the Geelong bay on a lovely warm autumn afternoon. Jonas was hitting 90 so it was quite an ocassion and he looked very well for his considerable years. Always good to get the clan together and share a meal while checking out how the young ones are coming along.
11 May 2013



  A walk through Melbourne


A Walk through Melbourne
On the way to basketball in late summer I got off the tram early and made my way through the city on a lovely evening. Long time since I walked the length of Bourke Street, then past the new Spencer Street Station and then over the Yarra, past the casino and onto Claredon Street where a little puppy was the past pic of the day. I'm still loving the G1X.
21 February 2013



  Min Doogas Simankevicius


Min's Birthday and Exhibition
Dropped into Bird Gallery last night to wish Min a happy birthday at the same time as attending the openning of his new exhibition. After welcoming friends and guests to the ocassion, Min spoke about his Bush Series which were on display, and hinted at a change of direition, or shifted focus in the future. In the current series Min reckons that by enlarging colour values to a point of exaggeration, they reveal a spectrum and intensity inherent in the original photograph but with wonderful results. Also experimenting with a new gallery with these pics.
14 May 2013



  Soviet Jet Graveyard


Jet Cemetery
It was while we were touring through Aukstaitija with Undies and Rima that we chanced across this jet cemetery just outside of Panevezys. And as luck would have it we were just looking for lodgings for the evening so we eagerly drove in to see what was what at this rather odd motel cum airport. The jets were Soviet era relics, and all had their jet engines removed. There were a couple of similar era helicopters there as well that had been rebadged with Lithuanian insignia. One of the jets was a Mig, another was built in the Czech Republic and the other was a trainer from memory. As always, lots of fun jumping around Soviet era cold war weapons that we feared during my upbringing in the West.
2 September 2012





It was late last winter, or early spring rather, when I went down to Trakai for something or other. The car flooded and I just had to wait an hour or so, and went for a walk along the banks of the Trakai lakes during the neglected winter months. Still cold, the winter had not yet withdrawn, but the signs of spring were aplenty. Some great views of the castle and some boats halfway through restoration or renovation made for a pleasant walk. Also a reminder of the rowing season yet to come, and the somewhat antiquated facilities our Olympic rowers need to overcome in order to reach world standard. A beautiful sunset made it even better.
24 March 2012



  Gytis Tiketa


Tiketa - Gytis
This was fun. Tiketa and were advertising a play featuring Gytis. In order to advertise it they wanted to photograph him on a bus wearing a tutu surrounded by the general commuting public. We had a practice the evening before, where we got on a bus to see where would be the best seat for him, which angle and lens would be better, etc, as preparation for the shoot. The public weren't to know that he was getting on and Deimante organised a car that would pull up at the station, Gytis would jump on, and then be ready for him to get off at the next stop. He is pretty well known, but the reactions were pretty funny, and you had to admire his professionalism as it was a pretty cold day and the Lithuanian public in general is not so open-minded.
8 April 2012





Healesville Sanctuary
Cousin Daiva was in town with Tytus and we took a trip up to Healesville Sanctuary which is a unit of Zoos Victoria, and concentrates on displaying native Australian animals in habitats as close to natural as possible. The sanctuary also has a hospital and Zoos Victoria works hard at zoo based conservation. It's been many years since I last paid a visit so gleefully took the opportunity of taking the kin up to re-aquaint ourselves with Australian fauna. You can get pretty close to some of the animals which is nice, but plan your trip around times when animals are most active - usually dawn or dusk.
28 March 2013



  NBT basketball team


Took some snaps for NBT which also plays on Thursday night, but against our Varpas team. Undies, Nick and Matty play there, and we share a team on Monday nights, The Human Tornadoes, where I've played for the last 20 years - with some breaks of course. NBT went on to win the Grand Final in C Grade Business Houses that season, unlike the Human Tornadoes who remain solidly entrenched in F Grade.
28 March 2013



  Melbourne Lithuanian Pensioner Christmas Lunch


Pensioner Christrmas Lunch
Got back to Melbourne just in time for the annual Lithuanian penioners' Christmas lunch held at Lithuanian House. Went along with mum and ran into a lot of friends that I've known throughout my whole life with many getting older but showing impressive resiliance, and bringing back many fond memories from throughout my life.
11 Decenmber 2013



  Melbourne Street


Melbourne Street
I've always been a keen street photographer and these shots were over a few days in January 2013. First a trip from Greensborogh train station into the city via the shopping centre, then Lynette and I went to a show produced by Russell and Suzanne, then past the market in front of the Arts Centre, over to Southbank and then some later shots from St Kilda looking over Melbourne. There are all done with the G1X, and I'm loving the quality but having to work hard to get around the slow focus.
25 - 28 January 2013



  Kucios or Christmas Eve, Melbourne 2012


Kucios 2012
Always a pleasure to have Kucios, or Christmas Eve, at home with the family. This year it was hosted by Rita and Mac at mum's place, so that was a double bonus. The kids are growing and sadly they get most of the presents, but what can you do? Trialled a new Santa Claus this year, and he did a pretty good job, but could put on a few more kilos to keep the kids happy. And nice to see young Ivy really enjoying the poppy seed soup.
24 December 2012



  Kucios or Christmas Eve, Melbourne 2012


Adele and Marcus
Came back to Australia a bit earlier than planned to get to Adele and Marcus' wedding. From chilly Europe heading straight into the Australian bush was a great way to get back into Australia, as the family home, which was the setting of the wedding was just out of Wangaratta. Beautiful day, lovely people, fantastic weather and a magnificent back-drop of rural Australia made the journey and experience extra special. Congratulations to Adele and Marcus.
20 October 2012



  Panevezys to Riga tour


Riga International Fans' Tournament
Took a trip up to Riga to play in the international fans' tournament. I'd been attending fan championships for the last five years, but mainly just for Lithuanian clubs, but this time we went off to Riga where we were up against the rooters for Moscow CSKA, Lokomotiv, Barons, Siauliai and others. Drove up with Egi and Maze and came back with Laury and Jurga. Got some time to look around and enjoyed catching up with Maze's mum in Panevezys, which is always fun.
24 - 26 August 2012



  Ricardas Berankis Australian Open Qualifiers


Ricardas Berankis
Went off to the tennis to watch Ricardas Berankis play in the qualifier for the Australian Open. Hadn't shot a lot of tennis so it was all a learning process and the extra light and different angles create a whole new set of problems. It was fun though, and sunny and after a tough three set match Ricardas managed to overpower his American oppponent Bradley Klahn. More photos from the qualifiers and my other sporting shots can be found at: www.litnews.lt/litnews/gallery.htm

10 January 2013



  Lithuanian fans in Venezuela


It was another basketball trip, this time to Venezuela to support Lithuania's attempt at qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. A long trip to the northern tip of South America, but almost 90 Lithuanian fans made the journey to cheer the boys home. Our travels were fairly uneventful, though tiring and here is a look at our trip over and early arrival.
1 July 2012



  Elyte and Keith Wedding


Elyte and Keith get hitched
Back in Australia I was scanning some old black and white negs and came across these from my sister Elyte's wedding. I frankly have no memory of taking these photos at all, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to find them after all these years, especially the shots with Elyte, Keith and parents. Not a great choice shooting TriX in full sunlight, but I guess I was in it for the art.
24 February 1984



  Canada Tours Sekla Dilba Alius Daina


Canada Capers
Five of us made the trip to Toronto to watch Jonas Valanciunas make his NBA debut. Sekla, Alius, Dilba, Diana and I were in Canada for about 10 days and between basketball games we did a bit of sight-seeing as well. We went to Niagara Falls twice, because the first time was during Hurricane Sandy. We got up to Bruce Peninsula, Point Pelee and everywhere in between. Apart from the hurricane the weather was pretty good too, so we managed a reasonable taste of Canada, not to mention their beverages, but Dilba will tell you more about that.
27 October - 5 November 2012



  Darius Svabas at the foul line


The Bisons pick up a W on the road
Followed the Bisons out to St Joseph to see them notch up a road win. The Michigan Catholic High School Lakers were disciplined and well coached, but the taller, stronger Bisons opened up a gap with a brace of fast breaks in the second quarter that the Lakers could not match. The Bisons kept up the pressure and went on to take a comfortable victory, though the Lakers put up a better effort than the 12 - 40 odd scoreline suggests.
12 November 2012



  View from CN Tower Toronto


CN Tower
A trip to the top of the CN Tower is a must for anyone that visits Toronto. Especially when one of the gang is scared of heights. At 553 metres it was the world's highest free-standing structure until 2010. The glass floors certainly make you feel odd- looking like you're standing on air 300 odd metres above ground level, and of course the view of Toronto and surrounds is pretty good. We also got to look down on Jonas' apartment from a few blocks up the road.
4 November 2012



  Darius Svabas at the foul line


The New Buffalo Bisons
in Chicago watching my nephew play basketball. They were up against the River Valley Mustangs in the second game of the season. River Valley is a smaller school, so they don't have the pool of players available to New Buffalo. This was my first experience of watching a US high school game. I must say it was a lot more organised than my high school games, and we never had cheerleaders either. Just as well probably, as I went to an all-boys school.
7 November 2012



  Cricket in Vingiu Parkas Lithuania


Cricket in Vingiu Parkas
The Lithuanian Cricket Association has been going for a while now, and after making some impressive steps forward over those years, sadly failed to win a game this season. With little practice and the weather a constant challenge, our disparate group of budding test players were forced to appreciate competition rather than savour victory. But it was fun, and while I didn't get to don the whites this year I went down to see the boys play against a touring British team with the grand backdrop of the Vingiu Parkas bowl making an unlikely spectator.
21 August 2012



  Stasys Paškevičius Siauliai photo exhibition


Stasys Paškevičius
I met Stasys through a mutual friend, Johanes. Stasys is a great portrait photographer and I went along with him and his entourage to Sauliai for the opening of his exhibition at the library. It was a Litho road trip, stopping for snacks and shots and we all got along well with our diverse backgrounds and interests. Stasys and I agree on the merit of black and white, and basically we both embrace colour, and both agree that too many people press the black and white button to save a shit photo.
21 August 2012



  Sining and dancing at La Huerta Venezuela


La Huerta
We went to Venezuela in early July to watch Lithuania qualify for the Olympic Games. There were almost 90 Lithuanian fans that made the trip over there, and it was a bit of a tough trip, and somewhat reminiscent of the old Soviet days. One place we could always relax however was La Huerta, a restaurant just around the corner from our ambitiously rated two star hotel. The staff made an effort to learn Lithuanian and even opened up for us a few times when they were going home after a long day, and to be fair we re-payed them with quite some patronage. Many good memories from our little haven in Caracas, and I well remember the incredible guacamole.
1 - 9 July 2012



  Vasario 16 Lietuva


Vasario 16
Again, my favourite Lithuanian commemoration. I remember it as a kid in Australia, and in Lithuania it is that much more real and relevant. It's a cold time of year, so people are out because they want to be part of it, and not just because they happen to be out for a walk. Again, I lost track of these shots and forgot to make them public and you can join me as I wandered around that day from the Cathedral Square, up by Signataro namai, over to the Ministry of Defence before coming home along Gedimino where they had put a series of bonfires.
16 February 2011



  Deimante christening Vygis


Deimante's Christening
Photographed Vygis daughter's Christening. Also a while ago, but often I put up pics and give clients the link so they can have a look through the pics before they go public. I remember there was a bit of concern that some of the people on the edges of the frame came out distorted, and I had some trouble focussing in the low light of the church with the Nifty 50, but it was a nice day, even though it rained throughout. Also learnt that doves don't hang around for a long time and you have to shoot them fast because they don't stop to pose.
20 August 2011



  Shoe shine stand Izmir Turkey


Shoe Shine Detail
Some pics I forgot to put up ages ago of a shoe shine stall in Turkey. They were quite common over there, and I was quite taken by the olde world charm and detail of the portable office that is pretty much repeated in all of the shoe shine stands I saw. In fact I was so charmed that I even had my shoes cleaned, even though I was only wearing sandals and I let the guy rip me off. His photos are somewhere else in here, he's wearing a t-shirt that says: "You are the weakest link goodbye."
13 August 2010



  Bus to Czek through the snow.


A Weekend in the Czech Republic
We decided to take a bus trip to the Czech Republic to watch Lietuvos Rytas play Nymburk in Eurocup. We went by a bus that looked very big in the brochure, but what it lacked in size was doubly exacerbated by the fact that our drivers were determined to criss-cross all of Poland and Czech avoiding any and every toll road and making our journey twice as long as it needed to be, and then stopping any time anyone wanted to pee. The only time they hurried was when we were coming back and were in danger of running over their 21 hour limit driving time, but it was through a snow storm. Plus we lost. It's a pleasant memory now, but it took a while.
22 January 2012



  Human Tornadoes Undies, Ant, Matt


Tornado Warning
All the pics I could find of the Tornadoes basketball team, and some from Undies as well. Started playing with the Tornadoes in the old Albert Park, must have been around 1994. We played a couple of seasons there, then a season or two in the school gyms around the place before the first pics here in the new stadium. More after-basketball action than court shots, but I guess we were just too fast for the fledgling digital technology of the day. Still have a run with the deadly Tornadoes whenever I'm in town, and we still cause a storm in the pub.
1996 - 2011



  Apuokas, Alina and Dilba


Lietuovos Rytas fans hit Moscow
We decided to head to Moscow by bus to watch Lietuvos Rytas play the final four of EuroCup in Khimki. A tough journey with a lot of bus time, and we lost to Valencia in the first match before taking third place, but a lot of fun and good memories now that the butt soreness has passed. Moscow is always impressive and we got to see Lenin lying in state, though they wouldn't let us take cameras in there. Still a bit of support for the Soviet Union as well.
13 - 16 April 2012



  Aiste Šlapokaite and Antanas Guoga


Aiste Šlapokaite's Birthday
It was Aiste's birthday with a party put on by beau Antanas Guoga at TonyResort in Anupriskes. It's a tough room; long, low ceilings, different coloured lights with mirrors at one end and windows at the other, but all worked out well.
18 February 2012



  Rodney Gullan 40 and going away party


Rod's 40th
Rodney Gullan had his 40th birthday party here in Vilnius which also coincided with his leaving party. Held at the Tower Gate, a long list of friends and people that wanted to make sure he was leaving - :-D - gathered to give the Rodster a fitting send-off.
18 February 2012



  Rodney Gullan 40 and going away party


A Not So Cultural Tour of Italy
Took my first trip to Italy with Raimucka, Dilba and Petras. We went to watch Rytas play their final game in Eurocup, and decided to drop in on Mindaugas Lukauskis in Beneton, Sicily as well. We hired a car down in Sicily and again in Treviso so we could get around a bit more, but unfortunately we relied on Petras' Lithuanian GPS to get us around. It got us around alright, round and round in circles, but we always eventually got to wherever we were off to. It was a great trip and the photos only show a fraction of the fun we had.
25 February - 1 March 2012



  Elwood front garden


A Cultural Tour of Italy
We headed down to Italy to watch a bit of basketball and have a bit of a holiday. It was my first trip to Italy, and after a long Lithuanian winter the sun and warmth were as much a tonic as the food and change of scenery. We went from Milan down to Sicialy were we drove around for three days before flying back up to Treviso, Venice, Verona and home. Just the tourist shots here and did get a bit carried away with the new clarity control in Lightroom 4.
25 February - 1 March 2012



  Elwood front garden


Christmas at Kev's
Kevin Davis had his second annual Christmas turkey on 10 December last year, an early Christmas dinner with mates before he headed back to the UK. Turkey was extremely moist and was gobbled down with glee by all assembled, as was the pudding which was put to the torch with some help from a dram of Alitas. Rodney, Mik, Kristina and Gaza came over, Zarema made it over from Cyprus, Jono was in town for his wedding. Gary and Svetlana got some cooking tips, Ruta and Stuart came over with the bubs, and Kevin Handley got to pass on some of his great wisdom. Looking forward to next year.
10 December 2011



  Elwood front garden


Around St Kilda
As I trudge around the melting snow of Vilnius in my felt-lined gumboots, memory draws me back to when I lived in Elwood, Australia. This was a late spring Saturday or Sunday when I took my Kodak DC4800 for a walk around the hood, all within a few kilometres of when I lived at Anno's. It was across the street to the park and beach, up through the St Kilda Marina to St Kilda Beach and Luna Park. Back past the market stalls, past a couple of my all-time favourite pubs - The Espy and the Village Belle - then into Jerry's after having a look in some of the neighbours' front yards. Tell me why I left - that's right, I hate the beach.
4 November 2001



  Osaka tour 2003


A day trip to Osaka when I was in Japan back in the autumn of 2003. Albina was working over there, and I went to visit for a month. On this day I met up with a Mariko, who my cousin introduced me to, and she showed me around her home town. Osaka is the third largest city in Japan, and it's massive. We had a view from one of the tallest buildings, went to the park where the homeless had pretty good tents, to the castle, and saw the buskers who roll out all the heavy equipment to perform in the park. And to top it all off a visit to some electronic stores before heading back to Kusatsu.
30 November 2003



  Ray Vysniauskas winter wear


Winter Wear in Vilnius
If you've ever wondered what the best dressed people are wearing while coping with the freezing -20 temperatures, and still trying to look fashionable, well look no further. A sneak peak at the citizens of Vilnius out and about on one of the coldest days of the year. Furs are in, though they were never out over here, scarves are a must, but it seems the hat is optional. Me, I'm a hat fan. Always tough pointing a camera at strangers, but managed to get home in one piece.
3 February 2012



  Sunny Sunday pidgeon feeder


Cold old Thursday
It had been a mild winter up until last week. Some were starting to speculate that there would be no real winter this year, but as always, the snow and cold always find their way to Vilnius. This morning the mercury was showing -22 and there was a definite lack of life out on Pilies - which is one of the main streets in Vilnius Old Town. I went to see if the Neris River had frozen over, but it was still flowing, and then along the Vilnele over to Uzupis. At least the ducks are pretty happy with this weather, and the only other person seemingly immune to the ravages of the cold was my busker buddy who tried to sell me 60 acres of land up near the Latvian border.
2 February 2012



  Sunny Sunday pidgeon feeder


Sunny Sunday
Was going to head out without the camera today. Just being lazy and was halfway out the door before I talked myself into turning around and grabbing the G12. The sun was out. Not always good shooting conditions, but the sun gives you a boost after a couple of months of darkness. The clear skies also mean it's cold and today was around -10C, so it's not easy taking the hands out of the gloves and setting up a shot. The lady with the pidgeons was a bonus. I couldn't ask if I could shoot her, but smiled when I caught her eye and she replied with a smile, though probably more out of courtesy as she walked off soon after. So did the pidgeons.
29 January 2012



  John, Wendy, Rob and Mon


John, Wendy, Rob and Mon come to Vilnius
It was back in 2005 when the gang from The Hague came over for a longish weekend in Vilnius. We embarked upon a tourist trail that included Amatininkai and the Stick, Suokalbis, Stalin World, Sultiniai, Kalvarija Market, Trakai and soup in a baked bread bowl. The Stick was a particular hit, with Wendy I think commenting that she couldn't believe that each drink was worse than the last. We also found our way down to parliament and the KGB Museum, all the while singing a slogan from Stalin World - "We don't need the sunshine 'cause the party shines for us".
28 April - 1 May 2005



  Jono and Jelena Wedding


Jono and Jelena get Married
First met Jono in Lithuania back in about 2008 when he was teaching English, but when the economy went south, so did Jono, down to Budapest, Hungary, where there was more work available. After a few years down there he came back to Vilnius to tie the knot with Jelena before heading over for more work in Quatar. This was the wedding, but it was a fun couple of weeks with the boys' night out and a couple of dinners, and of course a bit of time to meet the new missus, the lovely Jelena.
17 December 2011



  Christmas Dinner 2011


Christmas Dinner at Bokšto Vartai 2011
One of the things about being in this part of the world is that you can have a traditional Christmas dinner that makes sense. It's not 35 degrees and locking yourself inside to eat all day is a jolly good idea. Gary put on a great spread for us ragtag bunch of expats far from home on Christmas, and even persuaded the somewhat jaded-looking Santa and Mrs Claus to come and hand out some presents - as we'd all been good this year. Was playing with the G12 and Nissin flash combo, could have gone better but it was a pretty tough room.
25 December 2011



  New Years Eve Kaunas 2012


New Year's Eve 2012
Daina and Aidas were in town and talked me into heading down the highway to Kaunas to celebrate New Year's Eve. Viktor is now married and lives in Kaunas, managing the Metropolis Hotel, where we spent a lot of time during our trips with Dave and the basketball club back in 1991 and 1993. New Year's Eve in Lithuania also features a lot of fireworks, and you have to dodge skyrockets and bangers as you head out at midnight to watch everyone do their best to blow each other up. A lot of fun, a lot of smoke and even though I was quite sedate this year, a lot of fun.
31 December 2011 - 1 January 2012



  Dudie, Vida, Kye, Three Oaks, Michigan


Three Oaks - Arrival
Over to Chicago and down to Three Oaks to visit Vida and the boys. These shots are of the first few days before my photo goodies arrived. Some shots of Vida cooking, family life around the house, a visit to Sabina's place for a dinner with Rita, filling up with gas, picking up Kye and Dudie from school, driving around with the dogs and finally off for some shopping down to the Lighthouse Mall. All shot with the G12.
30 October - 2 November 2011





On the way home from New York I had a 12 hour stopover in Warsaw - yes it was a cheap ticket. Hadn't been in Warsaw since 1989 when a planned one hour changeover from plane to train took almost two days. Back in the day I remember I got a taxi driver to drive me around town for an hour showing me the sights of the city with a Polish narrative I didn't understand a word of. And it only cost 25 US cents. Actually got a better deal this time. Couldn't work out how to pay for the bus ride to the city from the airport and back so this time it cost nothing. That's progress.
16 November 2011



  New York Restaurant Sign


New York
Love New York. Did my usual journey this year; stopping in New York for a week or so on the way to Chicago to visit Vida and the boys. Caught up with Allison, Ruta, Antanina and Mike, did my shopping at B&H and Adorama, and this year got to the PDN Photoplus Expo. Shots around Park Slope Brooklyn, Prospect Park and Manhattan. Mainly with the G12, though dragged the DSLR out when the G12 batteries ran flat after PDN Expo. Warm, sunshine and even so, my plane got cancelled because of snow. Always have trouble flying New York-Chicago.
21 - 30 October 2011



  Bar sign, London Tavern Richmond


The London Tavern
Worked at the London Tavern in Richmond as a full time barman for a year around the mid 1980s. It was a fun year, and Richmond was more a working class suburb at the time, so it was a pretty down-to-earth type of place. In fact a mixed drink at the Tavern was a beer with a dash of soda. Sadly heard that Peter Byrne, who was the chef there at the time, died recently. Worked there with Deb and have a lot of fond memories of the time. Pictured also are Tim, his son on the pinball machine, and some of the patrons Clarie, Reg and ...
Mid 1980s



  Beer road Panevezys


Alaus Kelis
During Eurobasket 2011 we had a day off in the first round at Panevėžys and the boys organised a trip to the beer museum and a local brewery for a tasting. Frankly wasn't feeling like much merriment that early in the morning, what with all the work and all, but funny how a glass or two of 8%+ beer before breakfast can kick-start your day. We had a tour around the area, inspected the local fauna, helped a couple get their marriage off to a good start, left Mickus at the brewery and then had to turn around and pick him up before getting back to Sileli for dinner. Much more hands-on than your usual museum tour.
3 September 2011



  Ken Smith Glenlyon Victoria


Ken Smith
First met Ken Smith just after I left home at 16. He's been a close friend ever since and although I don't catch up with him often, I have caught up with him regularly over the ensuing 35 years. Ken moved to Glenlyon three or four years ago and this was the second time I'd gone up to visit. Jeff Dalton drove me up as he was doing a bit of electrical work for his neighbour. Ken bought the place off another friend of his who promised to get all his metal and junk out, but over two years they just seemed to have moved it around a little. Anyway, no-one seems too bothered. Ken's dog Blackie is always there to greet us as well. A nice look at the Australian, or more precisely, Victorian bush on a very rainy day.
12 January 2011



  Ray in Ardlethan


Country Boy
There are various film cameras used in these shots including Julie's K1000, a Canon AE1 my parent's bought from me but was stolen from Di's car, and even a 120 camera I bought in an opp shop. A lot of shots from a farm up in Ardlethan where I used to go to help out and holiday from time to time. Even a shot of a younger me feeding a myna bird. Printed a lot of the black and whites and you can see I skimped on the fixer. Spent a lot of time trying to get a shot of sheep jumping out of the gate as well, with only limited success.
1980 - 1983



  Gintaras and Saule Christening


Gintaras and Saule's Christening
The twins finally hit the big one year mark and Alistair and Ieva chose the occasion to christen the kids as well. Finally have the children smiling when they see me rather than crying, so that made the day so much easier both personally and photographically. Shooting at home is always a challenge, but the church was bright and the rotunda at Verkiu parkas was perfect for snapping, which all made for a great day. Hard to take a bad photo there, unless of course you are Mark Whittle or his trusty sidekick Ian. :-)
10 September 2011



  Ausra Birthday Party


Aušra's Birthday
Headed out for drinks and a surprise with Ausra for her birthday. It was all a bit hush-hush, but after drinks and snacks we headed off to the surprise location. No go-carting this night, we were treated to meditation with a sound symphony. It was so good I joined in witha few of my own sounds, a bit of impromtu didgeridoo otherwise known as snoring. A relaxing evening ended with a few brewskies on a lovely summer night.
22 July 2011



  Basketball Fans Liepaja


Chasing Basketball
Went up to Riga to follow the World Under 19 Basketball Championships. The first round was in Liepaja and then the finals in Riga. Drove up with Rolandas, Laurynas and Diana for the ten day trip and we got along well, and then with the team performing well after a bit of a shaky start it was all good news up in Latvia, except for some teething problems in Riga. Laurynas had recently decorated his car in Lithuanian and Eurobasket colours so we turned plenty of heads, but came home with the gold.
30 June - 11 July 2011



  Anika Birthday Party


Anika's Birthday Party
Went up to Sweden to photograph a conference and took an extra day to visit Rob, Mon and Anika, who had settled in Stockholm. Originally from Australia I met Rob and Mon in Holland where they worked with John and Wendy. My visit coincided with Anika's fifth birthday party and I got to meet 20 other five year olds as well. The good news is that I was also re-acquainted with hundreds and thousands sandwiches and some home-made sausage rolls.
11 - 12 June 2011



  Vytenis Rasutis


Vytenis' Birthday
Vytenis always throws a good party, and this year was no exception. Out past Kernave he arranged a hippy theme for gathered guests in a lovely cul-de-sac of traditional houses and a convenient barn set up as an impromptu disco. Just by the lake is the recreation hut with pool table and sauna and we had a guided tour of the surrounding area with some stunning river views. Unfortunately I had to leave a bit early and I think later shots might have been a bit juicier.
28 May 2011



  torpedoes Kaliningrad


Museum of the World Ocean
If you ever go to Kaliningrad, go to this place. It's a nautical museum and a requirement of the exhibitions is that the ships have to be kept in working condition, so that they could be sent out to sea the next day if necessary. One of the ships was in fact still being used to help track the cosmonauts and the space station so access was still somewhat restricted. I just had a great buzz looking around a Cold War ear submarine and having an ex Soviet submariner giving the guided tour. I wrote an article about the visit and you can read that here.
31 October 2008



  The Ranch covered barn


The Ranch
Kristina has had The Ranch up near Utena for about five years, and I'm somewhat embarrased to say that this was only my second trip up there. As much a place of retreat as a learning experience, The Ranch has been her personal and professional project in that time encompassing history, architecture, heartbreak and solace. Niall and Olive were there for the week just after Easter and we enjoyed a wonderful early taste of spring after a cold Lithuanian winter. The barn which is a feature of these pics, is being restored, reassigned, remodelled and resurected, while its other brother waits in the wings for whatever second life lays ahead.
April 2011



  graveyard Australia


Ocean Grove Graveyard
Graveyards are one of those things that can be culturally distinctive, and when in Australia I was drawn to one beside the beach - mainly because it was across the road from a good bus stop. I'd always looked at Lithuanian graveyards as being a bit more exotic, set as they are on hillsides, or even covering entire hills, but this was the first time I noticed that the Aussie acres for the deceased can be quite exotic as well. Football, surfing and sailing are common themes in this beachside location.
15 November 2010



  Petronelė Berženskienė


Petronelė and my first portrait
Back in July 2007, a new Canon 400D, and this was the first time I'd gone to do a story without our photographer Lars. Often I'd taken shots when Lars was there, but this time it was get the shot or you've got nothing. Petronele was lovely and had a great interview and visit with her, see interview, and her daughter, but she insisted on sitting in front of a large back-lit window or outside in the harsh sunlight. I wasn't confident enough at the time to tell her to stand here or there so I was trying to catch her as she walked around. It was OK in the end, but could have been a lot better. She also showed me photos from her life.
11 July 2007



  Salcininkai house


Took a trip down to Šalčininkai to do a bit of field work for Danius and the Vodka Pipeline project. It was the first day of spring and the sun certainly came out to celebrate, but the snow wasn't coming to the party and stubornly hung around. Joana drove me down, and as luck would have it we arrived at lunchtime, which of course means everyone was out to lunch and we had to amuse ourselves for a while. Learnt a bit about smuggling and got to meet some fine country folk, though some were a bit hard to understand and spoke a dialect that is a mix of Lithuanian, Russian, Belarus and Polish.
1 March 2011



  Joe Grace


Joe Grace Memorial
I met Joe Grace in Lithuania in 2005, he lived across the road and I would regularly drop in for a cup of coffee and chat. Sadly Joe died at 81 a week before I returned from Australia. I've included shots I had of Joe; from his Romuva Inn where we spent a lovely spring day in June 2005; the balcony of his flat where we would overlook Pilies Street; when we wrote a story about his book collection with Zarema; to his one month memorial service - which was held in the same chapel as his funeral. RIP Joe.
5 May 2005 - 24 February 2011



  might magpies


The Mighty Magpies
Wasn't footy season when I was in town, so took the consolation prize of watching the boys run through their pre-season paces at Gosh's Padock. The Mighty Magpie Machine is currently the benchmark to which all other teams aspire, and just seeing these thouroughbreds running through the park makes you realise that many more premieships lie in wait for the black and white. Never been the biggest fan of Malthouse, and considering how much money and resources he had to work with, the one title is not that great a return. But oh how sweet it is!
19 January 2010



  snow, pine and Lithuanian flag


Alytus and Snow
When I arrived back in Lithuania the weather had turned for the warmer. There was some snow left, but it was just the dirty mounds that are shovelled from the road and sidewalks in the city. I thought I might have missed the snow for the season. Of course it was not to be, and as a cold snap hit Lithuania we were travelling down to Alytus to watch the finals of the DnB NORD LKF Cup. Had some nice time to just wander around the city, by the flower market and past the police station between games and the sun even came out a few times. The refurbished basketball stadium was re-opened on the same weekend. You can see that it has kept some of its Soviet charm. And a pic of my two friendly guides.
12-13 February 2011



  London Docklands


You can see the London Docklands from Kristina's kitchen window, but for many years that is about as close as I ever got. Niall took us on a tour of London and the Docklands in particular, and gave us a bit of history and understanding of the geography along the way. Although a very cold night we got out to have a wander around the East London development with a timely stop for nachos and a warming ale. Very much appreciated driving around London and understanding what is where rather than just emerging in different spots from the Underground.
29 January 2010



  cockatoo on power line


Yard Birds
Victoria was coming out of a 10 year drought on my last visit and it ended with a flurry as first floods larger than Germany and France combined engulfed Queensland and then the rains drifted down to Victoria. One of the most notable changes around the sububs with the increased greenery is the number of birds. It used to be sparrows, ravensand the odd magpie that were the mainstay of suburban ornithology, but a lot of colour has been added with the arrival of cockatoos and rosellas. A lot of noise too, with the cockatoos in particular happy to be seen as well as heard.
7 December 2010



  abandoned ferris wheel


Abandoned Fair Ground
Down in Palanga we were walking into town with Albina when we came across this abandoned fairground. I think we actually heard it first, the ferris wheel was rythmically squeeking to the soft sea breeze and it carried quite a way, a sort of siren song luring us over. We found the way in, squeezed between a couple of houses, and then came across what was now just the domain of the local kids. I kick myself now that I didn't take more detail shots, thinking I would be back later - and of course never was. These shots were taken with the Olympus C-8080WZ which had a wonderful lens, still has I guess, but was painfully slow. On a clear bright day like this one though, it was just perfect.
14 May 2005



  seagull in flight


Ocean Grove
Went down to visit Wendy in Ocean Grove and took the opportunity to take a walk along the beach with Ruby. Not being a big fan of the parts of the earth where sea meets sand, the weather did me no favours in changing my mind. A bit cold and windy, but some good stuff from the seaside, including dolphins frolicking in the surf - sadly I was a bit too far away - fisherpeople, Australian pre-fab bunkers, the lighthouse, caught a few seagulls in flight, not to mention the waves, stairs and flora of the region. I suppose the beach is OK.
14 November 2010



  Rita, singing opening


Melbourne Šventes
Every year between Christmas and New Year you could always find most Australian Lithuanians at the Sports Carnival. This year included the bi-annual cultural festival as well, so it was a big turnout. A lot of fun to catch up with people not seen for many a year and mull over old memories. Guests at the opening included Egle Spokaite, and a folk group from Lithuania, Australian basketball legend Lindsay Gaze, some folk dancers from the US and some of our own home-grown talent in Saul, Rita, Justi, Dennis and Brigita.
27 December 2010





Hadn't been home for Christmas since 2002 so Christmas Eve, or Kučios, with family was a lot of fun. Not quite at the end of the table with the kids anymore, but not quite halfway up the other end either. Santa Claus showed up and it turns out I was a good boy this year as there were presents in his bag for me too. All the favourites were there as usual including the fish dishes, the poppy seed soup, and, oh yeah, the relatives. Love youse all.
24 December 2010



  Smoke Machine


Smoke Machine
Became a Smoke Machine groupie on getting back to Australia, as we first went to Julia's party where they played, and caught them the next week at the Prince of Wales. Performing a range of classic rock covers, Smoke Machine also feature a lot of the pazzaz and passion that's missing from much of contemporary live music. And Smoke Machine features a long neglected rock prop - the smoke machine. Any performance from Gaylord, Leon and the boys is accompanied by ample smoke effects, though for Julia's party the smoke machine ran empty.
30 October and 7 November 2010



  Dunny &


The Histrionics European tour 2004
My first rock'n'roll tour was in 2004 when Danius was taking The Histrionics - the Heretical Missionaries of Conceptual Art/Rock - on the Museum Fatigue tour. We started in Vilnius with the Slave Piano boys also putting up a show, before heading over to Berlin, Prague, Dusseldorf, Luxembourg, Forbach, Strasbourg and back to Berlin. Much to remember including Boris, sim cards, The Golden Hen, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, car repairs, Rimvydas, the Rota Rosa and the missing eel.
August - September 2004





Balnionis and pizza
Getting back to Australia is always a good chance to indulge in the things you miss while living overseas. Here are three things that you don't get in Lithuania very often: Australian beer, Australian pizza and Balnionis - and then all at once. While most people will tell you that Italian pizzas are best, in Australia they actually put some ingredients on top so you get to eat something apart from dough and tomato paste. And Balnionis - well he comes to visit me every now and then so that I couldn't forget him if I tried. And again the last shot has Nicholas being taught to smile for the camera.
11 November 2010



  Gordon Grove reunion


Gordon Grove Gang
After having befriended Sheryl on facebook, we got around to organising a bit of a reunion with the kids from Gordon Grove. We moved out in 1974, so hadn't seen many of these guys since back then. We met at the Bundoora Hotel and managed to round up Anne, Warwick, Gail, Vince, myself, Sheryl, Wayne, Lois and Noni. Gavin left a bit earlier with his wife and grandkids. A lot of fun catching up on old times and remembering much that had been cast into the shadows of long forgotten hijinks. To see these same people back in their youth have a look at: The Preston Days
27 November 2010





Laima's Birthday
Another spring baby, Laima celebrated her birthday with family and friends at the Railway Hotel, followed by coffee and cake back at Saul and Alisa's house. My first chance to catch up with Laima on this trip, as well as Kristina and Dawn, so a fine Saturday night was just the ticket. Also caught up with Dalia who I hadn't seen much of since she moved to Adelaide all those years ago. Even reminded me of how much fun we had at her wedding all those years ago. Here Laima convinces Nicholas to put on a smile for the camera.
4 December 2010



  Cornish Arms


Cornish Arms Dry Run
Before the Cornish Arms opened for real, Caroline invited the Newry crowd over to give the then new venue a solid work-out. It was also Kylie's birthday so the rest of the gang got a head start on us, but we did our best to catch up. All I can say is that in wanting to test a bar they picked the right people and everyone present put in for the team and drank all the free beer they possibly could. A few fuzzy pics in this lot, not at all the result of operator error - rather trying to get a bit arty at the end of the night.
18 February 2000





Birthday Dinner
Had my first birthday at home for some six years, so it was fun to be with family for a change. A quiet night out at the Ivanhoe, befitting my advancing years, followed by a Red Rock ice cream - which was a different kind of delight - and then birthday cake back at Angie's place. Left to right in the pic are Ali, Edward, Adele, Gareth, Mum, Kent, Angie and me.
24 November 2010



  Kongress Gang


Kongress Closing Ball
The World Lithuanian Youth Congress was held in Australia back in 2000/2001, and this was the final closing ball held at the ubiquitous San Remo Ballroom in Carlton. A marathon congress that made stops in Sydney, Dookie, Melbourne and many places in between, this was a fun ending to bunch of festivities over a good hot Aussie summer. Still had the DC120 here, and despite some focussing issues the one megapixel monster generally performed pretty well , especially with flash.
8 January 2001



  matt mac


Cup Day Calcutta
Matt McCaughey's Melbourne Cup Day Calcutta had long been an annual must-do until I headed off overseas. Otherwise known as the 'McCaughey Family Fund Raiser' it was great to catch up with friends and familiar faces not seen for many years. Despite the early success of Saintly way back in Parkville in the 90s, the Undies, Hoggy and Fish Sydnicate has been going through lean times for most of the noughties and chose a cautious approach this year.
2 November 2010



  adele kristens


Adele's 27th birthday
Back in Melbourne and one of the delights of being back home is catching up with family. Turns out it was Adele's 27th birthday the day after I arrived and got to catch up with Angie, Adele, Mikas and Gareth. While we all remember Adele best with her braces, as mum would say: she is woman now and all grown up.
22 October 2010



  australia basketball


Grand Final 2002
Collingwood won the AFL Grand Final today. As I'm half a world away I could only watch it on TV, and even then they only started the broadcast from the middle of the third quarter. In honour of this wonderous occasion and their first premiership in 20 years, here are pics from 2002 when we watched the grand final live at Victoria Park, surrounded by our fellow Collingwood bretheren. Like one bloke in the dunny said: It was like being at the footy only better.
28 September 2002



  australia basketball


Jura Pavlov Photo Exhibition
I first met Jura in Kaliningrad about four years ago, and have made four trips to the enclave since then and met up every time. We get along quite well despite not sharing a common language and I love his work, so it was good to see him acknowledged and exhibiting in Vilnius. One of the eagle-eyed guests noted that some of the dates on the photos were lost in translation, and the appropriate adjustments were made.
29 September 2010



  australia basketball


Eddie Stephens turns 9
This was my nephew Eddie's birthday in 1997. It was the first family event that I photographed with my new digital camera, the DC120 one megapixel monster that cost me $1200. Actually didn't take that many photos of Eddie, must have been a bit camera-shy, but got some lovely shots of my cousin Angie and her little baby girl Adele, both hiding and showing her beloved braces. Vilija also takes centre stage in the action.
14 October 1997



  australia basketball


Saul and Alisa's Wedding 10 years on
Just remembered that it'll be Saul and Alisa's 10th wedding anniversary this month, and quite by accident,as I've been meaning to post these pics for ages. These photos were taken on the DC120 with its whopping one megapixel, but finally having Lightroom 3 let me polish them enough to put them up. With two boys added to the Balnionis family, Saul is now a proud father and still the perfect husband. Friends are what you miss most living overseas and it's occasions like this when you remember the many good friends still in Australia, as well as family friends now departed.
29 October 2000



  australia basketball


Seimas Riots
It was in January 2009, just as the recession was starting to bite, that the newly elected Lithuanian government sat down behind closed doors and announced a bevy of cost-cutting measures to a stunned population without any warning or consultation. While the riots were to some extent hijacked by a right-wing organisation called Frontas, you can see for yourself that there were many ordinary Lithuanians there concerned about the future. You'd have to say the riot was effective, as some measures were rescinded, and there was greater consultation with the public from this point onwards.
16 January 2009



  australia basketball


Istanbul, Turkey
While most of my time in Turkey has been spent between the hotel and the stadium, yesterday I had some time to take in the local sights. It was a public holiday for the end of Ramadan so it was not your typical Tuesday, with less people than usual about, making it easier to get around. Wandered through the city and found my way to the sea for a nice taste of Turkey.
9 September 2010



  paul daugelis


Swimming Pool Luxury
I was sitting in the lobby of our hotel in Izmir, and noted with some interest there was a picture of a pool on the wall. Somewhat intrigued that our hotel had a pool and no-one had bothered to mention it, I sent off in search of said water relaxation environment just before we headed out. Suffice to say that the photos on the wall are not the same as those that you're seeing on these pages.
2 September 2010



  paul daugelis


Izmir, Turkey
Was in Izmir to cover the basketball, but got a bit of time to wander around Izmir. A city of about 4 million on the coast it was a nice place to start the championships. If you can call Izmir a smaller city, they were still keener and friendlier to us passing tourists and more excited about having an international event in their midst, and I think the photos show it. I especially like the shoe-shine guy, although he conned me out of three Turkish Lyra, he did it with a laugh.
2 September 2010



  paul daugelis


Paul Daugelis' 40th
Paul put on a good show for his 40th birthday and invited everyone over to his party house to help celebrate the jubilee event. From a bit of men's business, the cake candles that wouldn't go out, lifting Paul 40 times and remebering not to hit his head on the roof, watching Lithuania go down by 20 to the USA and finishing off the evening with some karaoke it was a pretty busy night. Happy Birthday Paul.
22 August 2010



  jone and simone


Jone and Simone
Finally managed to catch up with Jone and baby daughter Simone in Vilnius. Jone has been living in the UK with new hubby Nick creating a new family. :-) Always tough to catch up with new mothers, what with the running around and obligations with seeing the grandparents for the first time during a very hot Vilnius summer. Also took the opportunity to show Jone some of the new photo gear and try to convert her from Nikon to Canon. Some of these shots are Jone's.
9 August 2010



  Jersey sunset


Jeff and Laura's Nuptials
Jeff and Laura were married on the weekend. It started on Friday night with a cocktail party at Reval Skybar, the wedding on Saturday at Šv Mikolojaus Church, a bus ride to the obligatory bridge shots of the newlyweds, and the speeches and festivities held at Florentino's Restaurant. An enjoyable evening with guests from most corners of the earth on a nice hot summer's day. Thanks to Jeff and Laura, and all the very best for the future.
24 July 2010



  Jersey sunset


The Preston Days
Not technically my photos, but photos from the old Preston days, probably around 1974, but I'm guessing. A mix of pics I got from Wayne Crowther and Sheryl featuring a party we had at Sheryl (now Moss) and Brian Spicer's place in Gordon Grove and a picnic we had at Kinglake with the gang from the street: Sheryl, Vince, Brian, Wayne, Gail, Lois, Yvonne and John, and the Marist boys: Czek, Rob, Ed, Rob.
1974 - ish



  Jersey sunset


New Victoria in Vilnius
New Victoria are the first cricket team to come over and tour Vilnius and take on the fledgling Lithuanian cricket juggernaut. Apparently the boys from the UK make a habit of touring Eastern Europe looking for cricket adventure. After the first two games the score is one all, with all to play for in the decider on Thursday.
14 July 2010



  Jersey sunset


Vasario 16 (February 16) Lithuanian Independence Day
My favourite national holiday in a country of commemorations and festivals is Vasario 16. It's still winter and people make an effort to come out, and not for the usual line-up of stalls and markets that sell the same stuff whether it's Sostines Dienos or Kaziuku Mugu. People young and old gather in the heart of Vilnius -Cathedral Square - for the single reason of celebrating national statehood.
16 February 2008



  Jersey sunset


Spring in New York
Was in New York in the spring of 2006. One of my jobs there was to take the Olympus over to get fixed, and took the Nikon 5400 out. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed the smaller size and good quality of the 5 meg sensor, though the zoom really sucked and was almost useless at the long end. Caught up with Allison, did my usual walk along the length of Broadway, ran into a great sunset overlooking Jersey, as well as a lot of street shots of Brooklyn and Park Slope.
29 March - 5 April 2006



  photo of Suzy Davis Trakai


Moving from Den Haag
I'd spent a lot of time in The Hague over the years, always visiting John and Wendy. After visiting frequently from the mid 90s, I also spent quite a time there after travels in 2004, when staying in one place for a bit of time was a very much appreciated luxury. Went to help John pack up the house just before they moved to Cambodia, or at least watch the removalists while they did the packing. It was the weekend of the European Football Championships too, and left the camera at home when we went to watch a game. How did we know Holland were going to beat France 4-1?
13 June 2008



  photo of Suzy Davis Trakai


Suzy in Trakai
Suzy came to visit me in Lithuania after she 'changed her plans' in Holland. Gary and Agne drove us down to Trakai where we had the usual look around the castle followed by a ride in a paddle boat in the lakes that make up the scenery of the area. Hadn't done the paddle boat thing for a long time and it was hard on the legs, but a perfect day made it all worthwhile.
27 May 2008



  photos of fan tournament Kaunas


The Bitininkas (Beekeeper)
Andrius Lipsys was visiting again this year, and reminded me of the trip we took last year to visit a friend of his - a beekeeper. Karen was visiting from Australia at the time as well and it was a fun stop in our trip around the Lithuanian countryside. The quote of the day was the bitininkas who was somewhat smitten by Karen: "Don't give her the gun, give her some flowers."
21 June 2009



  photos of fan tournament Kaunas


Fan Tournaments Gone By
The recent Fan's Tournament in Kaunas was the fourth I'd participated in, and reminded me that I had a bunch of pics from years gone by. This was the after-party held in Trakai, after the games were held in Palanga. There was a Russian delegation from a number of teams and this was their last night in Vilnius after the tournament and representative game in Siemens Arena.
5 July 2008



  photos of fan tournament Kaunas


Rainbow, Clouds and Skyline
Sometimes you can do everything to try to get a photo to look right, and sometimes it just jumps in front of you and says: "Snap me!". This was in Žirmunos, or Šiaures Miestelis back in 2007, and as I walked out of my favourite bunch of electronic and computer stores I was hit with this scene. All I could do was take my camera out and start shooting. It only lasted a couple of minutes as the clouds moved away, but it was a good couple of minutes.
8 October 2007



  photos of fan tournament Kaunas


Basketball Fans' Tournament, Kaunas
Took part in my fourth Lithuanian Basketball Fans' Tournament last weekend. Undies was over from Australia and it was his second in a row. Always good fun, and very reminiscent of sitting in a hot hall at Šventes every year. To give it a further Australian touch they held the after-party in a sauna. Lietuvos Rytas won the final, as you can probably tell, beating Šiauliai in the final. Here are the photos of the journey and celebrations, you can see pics of the games under Lithuanian Basketball Fans' Tournament at: www.litnews.lt/litnews/gallery.htm
5 June 2010



  photos of fairy land


Mazunte, Mexico
Had a couple of months in Mexico back in 2004. Travelled with Eva after we met up in Mexico, then we did a loop of the south of the country. I'm not usually a beach person, but Mazunte was probably my favourite place in Mexico, even though it was winter. One of the delights was tuna caught in the morning and on our beach-side table that night. We stayed at La Isla which just means that in winter it pretty much gets flooded out.
June 2004



  photos of fairy land


First Digital Photos
I had been keen to get a digital camera, but the Apple Quicktake was just no good. Then I saw the Kodak DC120. A whopping one megapixel camera and it cost me $1200 at a trade show. These are the first photos after I got back to the office. They're pretty bad and I see I deleted a lot of them, so shudder to think how bad they were. Scenes of Edit Media, the house we had just bought in Yarraville with Kylie, dinner with Dave and Eddie and Saul's birthday were all among my early digital scoops.
14 November 1996



  photos of fairy land


Sunday Cricket
Another perfect Sunday for Cricket in Vilnius. Rodney broke in the new barbie and with the soothing tones of leather on willow mixing with the aroma of burning sausages and pork, a fun day was had by all - although I did have to leave early, but I presume it ended as well as it began - notwithstanding the fact that everyone was a minimum of an hour late. So here's hoping there are many more to come.
23 May 2010



  photos of fairy land


Arrival in Kaliningrad
This was my second trip to Kaliningrad, but first time in the city, the same journey as the market pics below. I'd gone over to meet with Dalia who was making a film about a photographer Oleg Maximov - both Dalia and Oleg feature in these shots. I have a fascination with post-Soviet society and Soviet-era architecture and Kaliningrad provides a feast of both. Also adore the long sunsets and extended golden light in this part of the world.
23 August 2007



  photos of manequin


Old Clothing Factory
Czek had lived in Barkly Street for nigh on 30 years and had an understanding with the owner that he could live there for good rent and he would fix the place up and not bother him. Also on the property was an old clothing factory which had lain idle since the 1970s. With the floorboards rotting, pigeon infestation, dust and dirt, rusting machinery and eerily attractive mannequins, this was an intriguing hour.
9 March 2010



  photos of fairy land


Fairy Land
I was driving from Geelong to Bendigo and came across the most extraordinary place - Fairy Land. Apparently built by a German immigrant in the '50s and '60s and featuring a lot of concrete, it sits atop a hill in the middle of the flat barren lands that are characteristic of the region. The Crown also features in some of the later photos.
12 March 2008



  photos of Dalia, Jonas and Pejus


Dalia, Pejus, Jonas, Cepelinas and Albina
Spent a lot of time with Dalia in Klaipeda when I first got to Lithuania in 2004, and got to know her boys a bit. They were in Vilnius and we caught up with them at Savas Kampas, and Albina came by to say hello as well. The kids were hungry as you can see, and as always a lot of fun.
3 August 2007



  photos of bangalore elyte stephens


Save the Castles Trakai Event
I'd just recently received my first digital SLR - a Canon 400D with an EF-S 17 - 85 lens. This was its second outing. There was some foundation called the Save the Castles Fund which put on a show and we went with Lithuania Today to cover it. Zarema in the office, Lars' daughter who was visiting from Norway, and Jurga feature in these shots.
29 June 2007



  photos of bangalore elyte stephens


Elyte the Blogger
I was quite surprised to find out my sister Elyte has become a blogger. Her specialty is quilting, and she has been an avid quiltist for a decade or more I think, but I was delighted to hear she has taken to sharing her passion over the internet. So if you want to learn more about fat quarters and jelly roll samplers, join her list of loyal followers at:
Tea, fabric and other things...
17 March 2010



  photos of bangalore market


New Cozy Photo Exhibition
Spend a lot of time in Cozy. Bernie routinely updates the photos, and this time it was a project called Paper Love, which was first commissioned and performed in an abandoned factory in Mechelen, Belgium, by expat Lithuanian Inga Cholmogorova and Belgian artist Sarah Benn. Both girls brought their outfits to Lithuania and performed at the opening night.
26 November 2009



  photos of bangalore market


Day of Dance and Dustbins
Was surprised to hear a bunch of dancers dressed in folk dancing costumes parading under my window in Vilnius Old Town. Followed them up to Town Hall Square where they put on a public performance followed by a parade. Turns out it was the International Day of Dance, and after leaving them to run a few errands, found a new group in Town Hall Square on my return. Just another day in Vilnius.
29 April 2010



  photos of bangalore market


Cricket in Vilnius
Who would have thought we'd ever be playing cricket in Lithuania? Well this was in fact the third season if you include one season of winter cricket held inside a school gym. Hard to believe it snowed in places the previous day. Included a lot of shots here for people to study their individual techniques and help improve their game. Others still might better decide to drop the game altogether. :-)
25 April 2010



  photos of bangalore market


Bangalore Market
In April 2007 we were lucky to get a trip to India with the help of Wing Commander Raj and the Incredible India promotion. It was a nine day trip with Lars and I going for Lithuania Today. We had guides and hotels all the way, landing in Delhi and heading down to Bangalore. I still had the Olympus 8080 at this stage, and although I love the quality, it was just so agonisingly slow.
11 April 2007



  photos of kaliningrad


Kaliningrad Market
In August 2007 I took my second trip to Kaliningrad. Dalia was making another film there and I wanted to meet the photographer, Oleg Maximov, who was the subject of this film. This is the market just up from his house, and includes the trip back on the tram and to a supermarket. At first I was hesitant on waving the camera around too much, and some people objected, but generally it was a welcoming place.
26 August 2007



  photos of vic market


Vic Market
Markets are always good places to take pics, and always an easy target when you are travelling. This is Vic Market though, in Melbourne Australia is on home town soil, but I still went there to get a bunch of souvenirs to take back to Lithuania with me. Vic Market has very much become the home of souvenir schmultz, but also maintains an extensive meat, deli and fruit and vegie sections. Always really crowded though, and a hassle if you're in a hurry.
13 March 2010



  photos of jamieson


Dainora Plėštienė
Dainora Plėštienė had a launch for her new jewellery collection at Domos Gallerija last October. Odd spot for such an event, but it proved not too bad a venue at all, considering it was the hallway of a shopping arcade. It was fun though, a good turnout, and Dainora and Daiva had gone to a bit of effort to provide food, wine and plenty of eye candy.
27 October 2009



  photos of jamieson


Kylie's folks had a property in Jamieson that we'd often get to during the warmer months. This time we went down with Kate and Rich and their dog, whose name I've forgotten. The mud brick house was built by a combined effort from the Smith family many years before Kylie and I met. This was with my first digital camera- the DC120 and looking back now the resolution wasn't that great but it had pretty good colour.
April 1996



  photos of las vegas


Las Vegas
Gotta love Las Vegas, here both at night and next day. Wasn't so good at the evening shots at the time, was using the Nikon 5800 and didn't have a tripod, but some of the later ones came out OK. It was the week after Siegried and Roy's lion act went a bit wrong, and it took me a long time to find the iconic Las Vegas sign as it's no longer on the main highway but on the old access road.
October 2003



  photos of uzupis day


Užupis Day
The self-proclaimed Užupis Republic celebrates its independence day each year on 1 April. Though not quite the Montmarte of Vilnius, Užupis does work hard to maintain a less conservative culture and attracts artists and youth from throughout Lithuania. Nestled beside the Vilnia River, the area has a nice mix of cafes, galleries, bars and restaurants.
1 April 2010



  photo of rudupis basketball


Albina, Saulė and Vitalis
Albina said come for a walk - turned out to be a trek half way across the wilds of inner Melbourne. It was as close as I got to the bush on this trip to Australia, and the photos clearly show why they call the Yarra the river that flows upside down. Saulė is a big girl for just seven months, and enjoyed the rattle that Deimantė sent over from Lithuania.
March 2010



  photo of travel to Kew gardens


Trek to Kew Gardens
Getting to and from Kew Gardens took the major part of the day, and although it proved fertile grounds for photographs, it was a long and gruelling trek as two train lines were closed for repairs, a confused and unco-ordinated rail staff directing traffic, and just the size of London itself made getting from one side to the other the major chore for the day. And I kept assuring Kristina I wasn't taking pictures of her. :-)
21 March 2010



  photos of Kew Gardens


Kew Gardens
Was in London at the start of spring so Kristina and I decided to take a marathon journey over to Kew Gardens. Took the macro out for a run again and it enjoyed the fine detail of the new buds just short of May. Nice sunset light towards the end of the day was a nice bonus, unlike theone train and thee bus journey across town to home.
21 March 2010



  photos of mums 80 birthday


Mum's First 80th Birthday Party
We had three parties for Mum's 80th birthday. This is the first with immediate family, as well as shots after Vida and I arrived in Australia on the same day. Mum is a keen gardener and it's been hard with the drought, so I dragged out the macro to record some of her pet plants. And the cat of course.
18 February 2010



  photos of Kernave


Kernavė is the ancient capital of Lithuania with evidence of habitation dating back to the Stone Age. Banga drove me down to the complex of castle mounds that was the capital of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy until around 1390. The annual traditional festival is a stunning day out and provides great opportunity to gather detail shots of Medieval Lithuanian crafts, customs and imagery.
6 July 2008



  photos of Kaunas Bike Show


Kaunas Bike Show
Gazza and I heard about the bike show being held at Kaunas Airport. First off we went to the wrong airport, but finally we found the procession of bikes making their way through Kaunas. It was a hot day and the crowd appreciated the free bike cleaning services offered by the girls -, but since when are quads considered motorbikes?. I accidentally hit the black and white setting for a bit, but still, this was an impressive collection of bikes, apparently the second largest bike event in Europe.
8 June 2008



  photos of Vilnius


A walk around Vilnius with Andy
One of the first sunny days in 2008 and Andrew Quested and I took the cameras out for a walk. This is one of the days Vilnius is most appreciated for, and is the reason you put up with the long winters. Had the Canon 400D at this stage and on this walk mainly used the 70-200 F4L and the 50 F1.8. I got a bit carried away with the saturation on these pics, but that's pretty much how I remembered the day, especially after a long grey winter.
28 April 2008



  photos of all saints day lithuania


All Souls Day
All Souls Day is another in the long line of Lithuanian religious traditions that actually date back to pagan days. The ritual for honouring the dead originally took place over a week or two from the end of October, but is now celebrated on 1 November. A still and clear night made last year's celebration quite spectacular, but next year I'll take a tripod.
November 2009



  photos of new years fireworks vilnius


New Year Millennium Celebrations
The fireworks that opened the Lithuanian Millennium celebrations at the start of 2009 caused a bit of a controversy because of the cost -coming as it did in the heat of the economic downturn. In hindsight it was one of the best attended and most spectacular events of the year long celebration which instead of attracting more visitors to Lithuania, saw tourism fall 30% on the year.
January 2009



  photos of koldunai


Koldunai with Gint and JR
The boys decided I was missing my Lithuanian food and had a koldunai cook-up. JR saved the day with his kodunai cutter and even arrived with his own apron. Gint and Alice also took the opportunity to tell us Alice was pregnant, due in six months.
March 2010



  Photos of Melbourne


I've been living in Lithuania for the last five years, but am currently on holiday in Australia. This folder is of shots taken on South Melbourne beach and on the way through Melbourne and back to Bundoora.
I'm a born and bred Melbourne boy, so this is a bit of a nostalgic journey through places once quite familiar.
March 2010



  photos of Danius Kesminas


Danius Kesminas
Caught up with my good mate Danius Kesminas. He gave me a preview of his work for the Sydney Bienalle, the condemned piano and the Punkasila guitars. Had my first close-up of the Slave Piano solenoids after doing a bit of work with them many years ago. Caught up with brothers Gint and Romy as well, but forgot to take the camera out of the bag.
March 2010



  photos of mums 80


Mum's Second 80th Birthday Party
The reason I headed back to Australia was to be there for my mother's 80th birthday. My sister Vida also made the trek over from the USA, and it was the first time we'd been together with my mum Aldona, and my other sister Elyte for quite a while, as well as the rest of our extended family.
I took a lot of credit for mum's longevity, as she'd stated quite often that she cannot rest until she sees me married.
February 2010



  photos of London


Had a stopover in London before heading over to Australia. Stayed with Kristina in her apartment in Bethnel Green. The shots of London are taken from her apartment on the ninth floor of her pink building.
Had a look around the market in Brixton, back into London and home. Lots of tubes and busses and a very cold weekend, but I always enjoy Old Blighty.
February 2010



  photos of the hill of crosses


The Hill of Crosses, Šiauliai, Lithuania
It was a cold winter but worth the trip to the Hill of Crosses when Allison came over for a visit. We drove about five hours to get there through snow storms and blizzards and we were lucky that it cleared by the time we got there, but then it was too cold to stay out of the car for more than 20 minutes.
January 2010



  photos of jono


Jono's Going Away Party
Jono had been in Vilnius for a couple of years, but when the market folded and teaching work became scarce, Hungary and new opportunities beckoned. On one of his last nights in Vilnius there was a cook-up in Užupis followed by a mandatory tour of bars and nightclubs.
October 2009






Bronislovas Lubys

Museum of the World Ocean

Petronelė Berženskienė

Rachel Margolis

Zmago Sagadin

Alma Adamkienė


As well as my photography, I have decided to also add my writing to this site.

I will include a blog, as well as articles written over the years on various topics.

I have conducted numerous interviews and written on many and varied topics including travel, Lithuania, photography or just plain nothing better to do.