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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.



  All Photos  


  Vilnius Rytas v Lietkabelis, Deividas Sirvydis


Rytas v Lietkabelis, LKL
Vilnius Rytas conceded an embarassing 21 point loss to Lietkabelis on their home court in Vilnius. Down on form after their overtime loss to Alba, Rytas looked out of sorts from the start as Lietkabelis came out firing and had Rytas playing catch-up from the start. Lietkabelis maintained a decent lead throughout the first half with Rytas snapping at their heals but never managing to make any great inroads into the margin. Simas Jasaitis was undergoing some serious déjà vu in returning to the Rytas rings, as he scorched the nets for 13 in just the first quarter. Lietkabelis shot 11 of 20, or 55% from beyond the arc, though Rytas weren't far behind at 10 from 23. As always, Rytas had trouble against size and Kupšas was dominating the paint along with Žiga Dimec, as Lietkabelis handed out 7 blocks on the night. Jasaitis added 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals to his 18 points as a reminder of his glory days in Vilnius. Rytas stayed in the competition and the crowd was hoping for a second quarter resurgence, with Kramer and Seeley keeping us close in the third term and the deficit down to single digits. Then there was a final quarter surge, but unfortunately it was Lietkabelis riding the wave as their shooters found range again and, aided by 14 Rytas turnovers, extinguished any hope of a home revival. Kramer finished with 15 and Seeley 14, while Sirvydis chipped in with 11. It was a sour night for the home crowd and there was some jeering at the end as the fans made their discontent obvious, but it was only on Monday that the deeper issues at the club became apparent as Sutton was suspended from the team, and stating in an interview later in the day that it was either him or coach Adomaitis that needs to leave the club. Sutton went on to say what a great player he is and how the coach was stifling his brilliance before making his ultimatum in an interview with basketnews.lt. He further added that he'd been asking for a transfer since October because basically he doesn't like sitting on the bench and considers himself much more important than all the other players, despite paying lip service to being a team player. It was also around October that Sutton stated through social media that he missed the full arenas in Italy, despite facts showing that his Italian crowds were usually around a third of the Rytas average. Anyhow, there is a lot more to come on this issue, with much to be played out in the press as Rytas headed off to Berlin leaving Sutton alone with the press in Vilnius.
19 January 2019



  Vilnius Rytas v Zalgiris Dominique Sutton


Kibirkštis v Angels, EWBL
Kibirkštis failed to back up their win against Moscow Dynamo and fell to the Angels in their European Womens Basketball League game in Vilnius. The Angels started hot, hitting a barrage of three point bombs that gave them a near 20 point lead in the first quarter. Kibirkštis started on the long road back with stronger defence and got the margin back to five points before the Angels once again found range and built on their margin again. Although Kibirkštis stayed on the heels of their Dutch rivals, too many errors cost them points and their opponents capitalised to take a 62-76 victory. For Kibirkštis Gabija Meskonyte had 17 points and Justina Miknaite, Ieva Simkute and Dalia Donskichyte hit 10 each.
10 January 2019



  Vilnius Rytas v Zalgiris Dominique Sutton


Vilnius Rytas v Žalgiris, LKL Regular Season
Vilnius Rytas played a poor third quarter and allowed the reigning LKL champions to get out to a 20 point lead and take control of their latest encounter in Kaunas. Despite a spirited come-back in the final stanza, Rytas were still 9 points in arrears at the final siren, going down 86-95. With Kairys out needing shoulder surgery, Kramer still in a cast and Normantas still sidelined, Rytas was up against it going into the LKL derby. To the surprise of all the visitors came out swinging, and ignited by Sutton - who had been quiet for the last few games - the unlikely suddenly seemed possible as Rytas matched it with Žalgiris throughout the first half and even having their last shot disallowed as the clock ran out, Rytas greeted the long break just three points adrift at 38-41. Sutton was showing the form that made him such an exciting recruit at the start of the season and his performance included some massive dunks, including one over the top of Laurynas Birutis. Bendžius also regained touch as the game wore on as he found his range as well as some dunks of his own. Seeley was his usual steady self, while Butkevičius didn't score as heavily as he had been in the last month, but still contributed with his trademark tough defence. Everyone knew that Žalgiris would come out strong after the long break, but Rytas failed to contain their hosts and a 1-15 run had Rytas reeling. But while many expected Rytas to implode as the Žalgiris machine swung into full gear, instead Rytas steadied and gradually got themselves back into the game. Back to within 8 points with two minutes remaining and momentum behind them, two buckets in a row by Davis put the game beyond the reach of the visitors from Vilnius and Žalgiris went on for the win. For Rytas Dominique Sutton had 25 points and 6 rebounds, Eimantas Bendžius bagged 20 shooting 5 of 9 triples, DJ Seeley made 14 and 5 assists while Rok Stipčevič finished with 11.
9 December 2018



  Vilnius Rytas v Lietkabelis Arnas Butkevicius


Vilnius Rytas v Lietkabelis, LKL Regular Season
Vilnius Rytas suffered and embarrassing blow after going down to Lietkabelis on Wednesday night. It was a game that was always going to be high on emotion as many admin staff from Panevezys had also worked at Rytas, especially Jonas Vainauskas, who recently took up the reins of Sports Director at Lietkabelis. With their extra incentive the visitors came out strong, hitting a number of triples early and pulling out to a substantial lead in the first quarter, taking the term 12-24. With Rytas reeling from the onslaught it was hoped that coach Adomaitis could get the boys back on track, but in the second quarter Lietkabelis managed to increase the margin by a further five points, and the half time score was 32-49. While Lietkabelis increased their lead early in the third, the expected Rytas come-back finally arrived late in the quarter when Rytas exploded with a 20-4 run and got back to within 8, but a few errors and some timely triples from the guests soon had the margin back to solid double digits. Rytas was somewhat flattered by the final margin at 83-94 and coach Adomaitis apologised to the fans for their poor showing, saying the team failed to carry out any of the strategies they had discussed before the game, and whenever Rytas did take a risk in defence they were punished by the opposition. But the main problems stemmed from the first half when poor defence, too many errors and an overall deficit of 8-17 offensive rebounds allowed Lietkabelis to control the game and take home the important W. For Rytas M.Girdžiūnas had 24, A.Butkevičius 18, D.J Seeley 16 and E.Bendžius 11.
5 December 2018



  Lithuania v Croatia, Mindaugas Girdziunas


Lietuva v Croatia, World Qualifiers, Vilnius
Lithuania were the firm favourites for this meeting with Croatia Lithuania were the firm favourites for this meeting with Croatia devoid of their NBA players, but having lost to Italy and with the young Croatians keen to show their best, this remained a danger game. Lithuania started well and ran out to a healthy lead of 15 early having started with Mantas Kalnietis, Renaldas Seibutis, Jonas Mačiulis, Arnas Butkevičius and Martynas Gebenas. The inclusion of Geben into the starting line-up seemed to lift our inside presence, and the Lithuanians dominated after early scores were tied at 6-6. With all players contributing Lithuania went on a 7-0 run to lead 26-11 at the first break. The second stanza started slowly, but Lithuania seemed in control until late in the term when Croatia suddenly got to within four at the main break: 43-39. There was some worry at the resumption and the Croatians got even early, but the Lithuanian machine steadied and with nearly every player contributing, once again gained the ascendency to pull out to an 18 point lead by term's end. Croatia probably had their last chance to make a game of it, but after swapping points early, the Lithuanians got into gear and finished the match deserved winners at 79-62. Renaldas Seibutis had 15, Martynas Echodas 12 10 blocks), Rokas Giedraitis 10, Mantas Kalnietis and Arnas Butkevičius (4 assists) had 8 each, Jonas Mačiulis and Mindaugas Girdžiūnas scored 7 each.
2 December 2018



  Vilnius Rytas v Turin Evaldas Kairys


Perlas v Gargždų SC, NKL
Perlas took an important win against Gargždų SC as both were sitting even at 5-4 on the NKL ladder. The win elevates the youngsters to second position. Einaras Tubutis topped the Perlas scoring list with 16, Domantas Vilys had 15 and Robertas Keliačius had 10.
3 November 2018



  Vilnius Rytas v Turin Evaldas Kairys


Vilnius Rytas v Turin, Eurocup
Vilnius Rytas got their Eurocup campaign back on track with a much needed win against Turin on their homecourt in Vilnius. After having dropped two in a row it was important to get the fans onside and Rytas gave the faithful plenty to rejoice, although the win was a bit too tough for comfort. Having controlled the game after getting out on a 9-4 run and establishing a double digit lead in the first quarter which they ended 22-12. Kairys got going with the first couple of baskets before Dominique Sutton joined the fun and started adding to his eventual 20 point tally. Hurting the opposition from both inside and out as he racked up 11 rebounds and 3 assists as well. In an even contribution five players were equal on 10 points: Deividas Sirvydis, Manny Harris, D.J. Seeley, Martynas Echodas and Evaldas Kairys while Kramer and Arnas Butkevičius added 7 each. Rytas built on their lead in the second quarter and held their 10 point lead at 44-34. Kramer returned from injury for this game and his playmaking controlled most of the game, even though the visitors pulled back 3 points in the third term to start the final stanza 7 points apart. Turin stayed close and turned on the after-burners in the final minutes to get back within three at 80-77 with just a minute to play. But then the MVP Sutton hit his free throws, a big block by Kairys and D.J. Seeley layup brought the team home and a much needed 86-79 victory. Sirvydis continues to impress with fine shooting including an important trey late in the game and D.J. Seeley showed all his fighting qualities without us having seen his best shooting as yet. Kairys and Echodas showed their worth in establishing a 44-23 rebound advantage and Butkevičius pulled off some important defensive plays to keep the pressure on the visitors. All in all coach Adomaitis was pleased to be returning to his full roster and made use of full line-up for a change. With Bendžius quiet on the night and Girdžiūnas having a bit of a breather the season is looking up for Rytas.
13 October 2018



  Perlas v Taurage, NKL Domantas Vilys


Perlas v Taurage, NKL
Perlad gradually wore down their visitors from Taurage and took their third win in the NKL Championship to take equal top spot early in the season. The game was tight in the first half with the visiitors leading for most part, before the Vilnius boys put on a spurt and were down just a single point at the half. Re-energised after the long break, Perlas played more aggresively and pulled out a double digit lead which allowed them to control the game to the end. Simas Jarumbauskas finished with 24 points, Karolis.Giedraitis had 17 while Ąžuolas Tubelis and Einaras Tubutis had 12 each.
13 October 2018



  Vilnius Rytas v Unicaja Malaga, Chris Kramer


Vilnius Rytas v Unicaja Malaga, EuroCup Regular Season
Vilnius Rytas pulled off an upset win against the more fancied Unicaja Malaga to start their EuroCup season with a resounding win. In front of a large home crowd, Rytas was able to ride their support to win the final quarter 26-17 and take the honours on the night 80-72. It was a game of spurts as Rytas opened with a 9-0 run, only for Unicaja to reply with a 2-11 run of their own to even the scores. Rytas responded with a 9-2 surge before the visitors finished the second term with a 2-17 run of their own to take a two point lead at the half (34-36). Rytas went through a scoring drought for four minutes in the third quarter as Unicaja went up 36-43 before Bendžius fired up with a string of triples and when Kramer cut the key for a massive dunk over Unicaja big man Giorgi Shermandini, the tide turned towards Rytas and they were able to enter the final break with just a single digit deficit (54-55). The lead changed hands three times at the start of the final quarter and the more pessimistic amongst us feared that it was only a matter of time before Unicaja hit their straps and pulled ahead to take the win, but Rytas surprised all by piling on another 12-3 run to get ahead 70-60 and put the game beyond reach of the Spaniards. Rytas went on to win 80-72 in front of an elated crowd that last year had to endure plenty of promise but too few victories. Bendžius again top scored with 18, but also had 4 rebounds, 2 assists a block and a steal. Dominique Sutton had 12 points, including an impressive reverse fast break dunk, 9 rebounds and 4 assists, and DJ Seeley started slowly but finally found his range finishing with 12. Evaldas Kairys continues to impress with 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in gathering a game high 25 performance index rating, and was instrumental in combating the size of Unicaja. To be fair Unicaja had a troubled journey to Vilnius, only arriving on the day of the match after leaving the night before, but Rytas took the initiative and opportunity for an all important first up win. For the visitors Lessort had 16 and Roberts 13.
3 October 2018



  Vilnius Rytas v Skycop, Eimantas Bendžius


Vilnius Rytas v Skycop, LKL Regular Season
Vilnius Rytas hosted Skycop and took the opportunity to welcome home long time Rytas players Mindaugas Lukauskis and Martynas Gecevičius. Seen as a danger game, the threat of the veterans never materialised as Rytas put in a sharp performance to totally eclipse their opponents from Prienai. Dominique Sutton got the fans involved early and was showcasing his athleticism and scoring instinct. Next Evaldas Kairys came on song, before Eimantas Bendžius took control later in the game, while Marek Blaževič was making his presence felt the whole night. Rytas were 31 points ahead at the start of the third quarter before Skycop found some shooting range, but by then of course it was way too late, and Skycop actually managed to win the last stanza by a single point, although Rytas also took the opportunity to give their youngsters a run. It was an encouraging performance by Rytas, with still a few questions marks hanging over them this season - and most of those answers will be answered next week when they meet Žalgiris for the first time this season. Bendžius top scored with 17, Sutton was next on 15 while Kairys and Blaževič had 13 each. For Skycop Lukauskis topped all scorers with 18 points hitting four of five long bombs and Gecevičius had 12, albeit on the back of 4 from 12 behind the arc.
30 September 2018



  Lithuania v Holland, Mantas Kalnietis


Lietuva v Holland, World Qualifiers, Vilnius
Lithuania booked their spot in China 2019 with a hard fought win over a gallant Dutch unit. After defeating Croatia on their home soil a few days prior, it was widely expected that overcoming Holland would be a mere formality, but unfortunately, no-one told the Dutch. Lithuania got ahead early and controlled the first half, though the margin was never significant, and Holland made a run coming to the end of the second, finally levelling up at 39-39 going into the long break. Holland got to a 49-55 lead in the third, but Bendžius, Lekavičius and Ulanovas kept the scoreboard ticking and we scratched out a meagre 57-55 lead at the final change. Lithuania then seemed to take charge in what we all believed would be the final stanza. In fact when Bendžius sunk a triple with 5:43 to play, Lithuania were 14 point the better at 73-59. Holland however had everything to play for and when the crowd started singing: "mes laimejom" (we have won), it only seemed to spur the visitors into action as their bombs started dropping and soon enough it was just 2 points the difference at 73-71. Lithuania seemed to be doing all they could to give the game to the Dutch, including an offensive foul, unsporting foul and giving up a steal, but after some free throws and the score tied at 75, Lekavičiius missed a running floater as the seconds ran out, and we headed into overtime. With Gudaitis and Kairys fouled out Lithuania had limited resistance against the Dutch bigs who had dominated scoring in the paint 22-52, but we still managed to hold on in a scrappy overtime to end the first extra period 84-84. Želionis was into the action after the regular bigs were relegated to the bench, and after a couple of mistakes he started to find his feet and started the term with a couple more after finishing the previous with an ‘and one’. Then the teams swapped triples until Lithuania failed to respond and the visitors were up 79-82 with 1:18 to play. Kalnietis tied things up again with a trey that got the crowd excited, but when he hit another with 4 seconds remaining to put Lithuania up 95-92 the fans went crazy. Holland still managed to carve out a chance for themselves after being awarded free throws, but Lithuania settled and recorded the victory and booked their ticket to China. Kalnietis was the hero and rightly top scored with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 0 turnovers. Bendžius and Lekavičius added 14 points apiece to round out the top scorers. Adomaitis said that he mucked up the rotations towards the end, but lamented the high error rate and a lack of respect for their opponents that led to the close game.
17 September 2018



  Lithuania v Latvia, Vilte


Lietuva v Latvia, Friendly, Vilnius
Lithuania went down to Latvia in a warm-up for the next qualifying window for the FIBA World Championships in China 2019. Both teams were missing key players and it was an opportunity for both coaches to experiment before the next games. Everyone knows that Latvia is a shooting team and they showed in Vilnius that when the bombs are dropping they can beat anyone. Shooing 15 of 31 three pointers on the night was enough to pull ahead ahead and stay in front after a tight start. Lithuania tried many options but couldn't come up with a winning formula as all players got good court time. Lithuania lamented their lack of perimeter defence, but also pointed out that they were a bit behind Latvia in their current preparations. A good sign was that all players picked up points, but it was a rusty showing from a team that needs to tighten. Želionis top scored with 15, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Mantas Kalnietis 11, Bendžius 9, Edgaras Ulanovas 8, Artūras Gudaitis (7 rebounds) and Evaldas Kairys 7 points each, Lukas Lekavičius 6, Deividas Gailius 4 and Adas Juškevičius collected 2 points and 8 rebounds.
9 September 2018



  Lithuania v Hungary Arturas Gudaitis


Lietuva v Hungary, World Qualifiers, Budapest
Lithuania wrapped up the final Group C game with a solid win against Hungary in Budapest. The hosts came out hard and were playing tough basketball, but again Lithuania refused to panic and wore down their opponents to hold the lead at the first quarter break. Hungary got back to within a point at 21-20, but from there it was Lithuania taking charge and holding a comfortable advantage for the duration. Hungary was determined to play hard against our talls, but it was Valančiūnas who top scored with 15, while Sabonis and Gudaitis added 12 each. Lithuania finished undefeated and top of the group and head to the next round of three windows in solid standing.
1 July 2018



  Lithuania v Poland, World Championship qualifiers Gdansk Jonas Valanciunas


Lietuva v Poland, World Qualifiers, Gdansk
Lietuva overcame a determined Poland in the penultimate game of the Group C qualifiers for the 2019 World Championships. Poland started strong and had a substantial 0-7 lead early before Lithuania started to grind into gear. The Poles were hitting their threes and looked determined as Lithuania slowly get back into the game. Poland continued shooting accurately and were up 8-13 before we started adding some score-board pressure of our own, and when Valančiūnas hit both his free throws, the first term ended 14-17. Juškevičius hit a triple early in the second to give us our first lead of the evening at 21-20, and Lithuania was never again headed on the night. Poland made a few counter attacks and got to within 4 late in the game, but again Juškevičius treys ended their surges. It was the big boys that allowed us to start controlling and then dominating the game with Sabonis top scoring with 17 and 7 rebounds. Valančiūnas also had 7 rebounds and was even on 11 points with Gudaitis. Juškevičius added 14, Lekavičius added just 4 points but plenty of zip and penetration and Kalnietis had 9 assists. Lithuania now move on to Budapest where they will face Hungary in the last game of Group D.
28 June 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas, Loukas Mavrokefalidis


Lietuvos Rytas v Žalgiris, LKL Finals, Game 1
Lietuvos Rytas evened the final series against Žalgiris on their home court taking an important win in front of their home crowd. With many pundits predicting a white-wash Rytas brought the series to life after leading all night and standing strong to close out a tense game. Rytas got ahead early and mostly held it to the end, but the lead was rarely less than 6 with scores tied as late as 6 minutes into the last quarter at 66-66. It was a slow start by both teams as Rytas gathered most of their early points from the line before Žalgiris started hitting a few and clawed their way to their only 8-10 lead. That was the cue for Madgen to start to fire and he made 7 points in the last three and half minutes of the term. At the start of the second Mavrokefalidis took the initiative and scored 11 points in a row before Madgen and Petersen added a few, and the half finished with Rytas in the ascendency at 39-31. For the visitors Ulanovas and Davies were productive, but generally the Rytas defence was holding up well. The third term was business as usual as this time Žalgiris outscored Rytas 18-22, which was the opposite of the second term, and the difference at the final break was the same 2 points as at the first break 57-55. Echodas picked up a couple of offensive put-backs, Girdžiūnas was active in getting to the basket and Kramer was controlling the game. The third quarter started with a bang as Kramer hit a triple early and got the crowd on their feet, but Žalgiris responded with 6 Aaron White points in a row and the scores were tied at 61-61. Kramer responded with another bucket and Mavrokefalidis followed it up with a triple of his own to pull away by 5, but again Žalgiris responded with a Jankūnas two plus one and White again with couple. Madgen made another trey, Kramer a couple and then a three pointer from Lukauskis saw the margin grow to 76-69 and the crowd go wild as victory became not just a possibility, but almost a certainty. Kramer hit another couple and then points from the line saw out regulation with a convincing 82-73 victory for the Rytas faithful. Mavrokefalidis topped all scorers with 24, Madgen had 19 and Kramer 13. Now it's off to Kaunas to break the deadlock.
11 June 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas, Loukas Mavrokefalidis


Lietuvos Rytas v Neptūnas, LKL Semi Finals, Game 5
Lietuvos Rytas finally overcame Neptūnas in their series decider, and move on to face Žalgiris for LKL glory. While the series was mostly a defensive encounter, finally both teams found a bit of form and we witnessed a close and enthralling contest that remained tight to the end. Rytas started the better and had a 7 point advantage at one stage before finishing the first term 5 points up at 27-22. Mavrokefalidis and Madgen put some points on the board early in the second, but Neptūnas answered and by the long break the advantage had fallen to 4 at 45-41. Again hoping for a Rytas resurgence in the second half the large home crowd was surprised by a Neptūnas streak that saw them take the lead before Mavrokefalidis again steadied the ship and the visitors held a single point margin at the final break 60-61. Magden and Girdžiūnas hit points at the start the final quarter and a Giedraitis dunk, along with an awkward landing, put a gap between the contenders and it was up to Neptūnas to play catch-up this time. Rytas controlled the game and even though the margin was just 3 points towards the end, Rytas was able to ignite the fans and ride their support to the final siren with an 88-82 victory. Girdžiūnas played his best game of the series and topped all scorers with 20 points and 5 assists. Echodas was influential with a couple of inspirational blocked shots, 14 points and 8 rebounds on a perfect shooting night of 4 of 4 from the field and 6 from 6 from the line. Mavrokefalidis was solid as usual with 16 and Madgen added 12. It was a scene of great rejoicing after the game, probably as much relief as jubilation, but the bottom line is that Rytas is off to match it with Žalgiris for LKL honours.
7 June 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas, Loukas Mavrokefalidis


Lietuvos Rytas v Neptūnas, LKL Semi Finals, Game 4
Lietuvos Rytas failed to close out the semi-finals series in Klaipėda and will need the help of their home-court advantage to get themselves into the LKL finals. For once Rytas started well and before too long had a 22-6 advantage as the home crowd sat largely silent considering their chances against Lietkabelis. But Neptūnas kept up the defensive pressure, some missed shots, a bit of belief and by the half there were only 3 points separating the teams. The third quarter was a defensive struggle as the pressure mounted, and as if to script, the last period started with the scores even. It was point for point in the final quarter and when Delininkaitis hit his only triple from five attempts he put Neptūnas ahead 61-65 and it looked like the home crowd would bring the blue boys home, but Rytas was able to take the lead again at 67-66 after a Lukauskis trey, and so began the final minute. Seibutis hit a jumper to regain the lead, and in their next attack Rytas failed to get a shot off before the 24 second buzzer, and Želionis capitalised with a two and one. And on missing the free throw Kisielius grabbed the offensive rebound and the lead was 67-72. Mavrokefalidis hit a triple with 8 seconds to go, but Želionis held his nerve at the charity stripe and left the visitors needing 4 points in the final 3 seconds, but a missed Hail Mary saw the final result stay at 70-74. Beyond the on-court drama, there were stories in the press that Adomaitis was to replace coach Kurtinaitis at the end of the season which added another layer of stress on the Vilnius team, though how much of that translated to the on-court drama is anyone's guess. Suffice to say that there's all to play for tomorrow night at Siemens Arena as we wait to find out who will meet Žalgiris in the battle for LKL gold. Mavrokefalidis was top-scorer as usual with 18, and Patersen with 11 and Giedraitis with 10 also made double figures. For Neptūnas it was Galdikas causing problems again and he topped the hosts with 15. To say that the Klaipėda fans were excited about the win is a gross understatement, and it was at least enjoyable to see the outright passion of the fans on the unlikely win, so let's hope we can see similar smiles on the faces of Vilnius fans tomorrow night.
4 June 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas, Jimmy Baron


Lietuvos Rytas v Neptūnas, LKL Semi Finals, Game 2
Lietuvos Rytas got their semi-final campaign back on track with the all important 67-49 away win in Klaipeda, finally finding their missing defence down by the seaside. Neptūnas came out swinging and jumped to an early 7-2 lead before Rytas regained composure and had the scores even at 10-10 on the back of a hard charging Girdžiūnas, including an impressive dunk in traffic from the little guy, and when Mavrokefalidis hit back-to-back buckets Rytas had a 14-13 lead and the contest settled into a tight defensive struggle. Joining Mavrokefalidis back in production was Baron, who having returned from injury and played just 22 seconds in the previous game, showed that was all the warm-up he needed and returned to his old gym exercising some forgotten muscle memory as he started scorching the Neptūnas nets for 16. It was classic ugly finals action as Rytas kept a slender lead in the low scoring encounter. Kramer paced the visitors with 9 points and 8 assists but he had to play 31+ minutes after Girdžiūnas tweaked an ankle in the first quarter. Rytas built on their lead bit by bit but only had an 8 point margin at the final change, and when Delininkaitis hit a triple early in the last there was some concern that a Neptūnas fight-back was on the way. Instead, Rytas took it as a sign to consolidate and this time they steadied and built on their lead rather than watch the opposition hit three points at will. Neptūnas was just a shadow of the team that won in Vilnius and despite fixing their turnover problems, only hit a sad 2 of 25 from range and just 33% when they got a chance closer to the bucket, with no player making double digits. Rytas got into stride towards the end and as the lead approached 20, the home crowd started to thin as Rokas but a full stop on the game with a base-line duck, and both teams began making plans for the next game in Vilnius on Saturday. Kurtinaitis was largely pleased by the team's effort, despite a few details of course, and urged his charges to continue playing smart, confident basketball.
30 May 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas, Rokas Giedraites


Lietuvos Rytas v Neptūnas, LKL Semi Finals, Game 1
Lietuvos Rytas suffered a shock loss to Neptūnas in the first of their best of five LKL semi final series. With a home loss, Rytas head to Klaipeda on Wednesday with all to play for and looking for a plan to overcome the sustained pressure and aggression of Neptūnas. The game was largely even throughout the first three quarters with rarely more than a few points separating the teams. The surprise for Rytas, and probably Neptūnas, was the form of Galdikas who top scored for the visitors with 17 shooting 7 of 10 from the floor and a perfect 3 of 3 from the line. Galdikas epitomised the greater desperation and desire the visitors displayed throughout the night. Next best for Neptunas was Želionis who scored 15 with 8 rebounds. This was despite the fact that Rytas was touted as having a decisive advantage in the big man department, where they lost the rebound battle 37-24. With the game even for the first three quarters, Neptūnas made their move early in the last stanza when they pulled away from the hosts and set up a 12 point advantage. Rytas got back to within 5 before the visitors pulled away again, but then Rytas got back to within 4, when a brace of mistakes meant they didn’t capitalise on the momentum swing and Neptūnas pulled away again to take the win 79-84. After the game we learnt that Kramer hadn't trained for the week, but despite being a bit rusty he still managed 13 points, 10 assists and 5 steals. Giedraitis again topped all scorers with 18 providing his usual drive off the bench, while Petersen with 13, Echodas 10 and Lukauskis with 9 rounded out the top scorers. The missing factor for Rytas was Mavrokefalidis who was just having a dog of a night. Never known for his defence, but sadly on the night his offence went missing as well hitting just 1 of 9 from the floor and simply not providing the bread and butter points that keep the team ticking along, especially if the shooters are off target. Still, the coach said, he had won many games for Rytas during the season and there was no reason to change their basic game plan. Kurtinaitis was critical of his team for some decision-making and endeavour, but said that they had prepared quite well, except for Kramer or course, and didn't think the nine day break was that much a factor in the surprise loss. Also he said it was not the end of the world, and although they have lost the home court advantage, after a few adjustments it will be business as usual on Wednesday when the series moves to Klaipeda.
28 May 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, Rokas Giedraitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, LKL Semi Finals, Game 3
Lietuvos Rytas wrapped up the series against Juventus with a resounding victory at home in Vilnius. In front of a small summer crowd Rytas controlled the game from start to finish, keeping Ireland and Kupšas in check and making sure there were no surprises. Giedraitis again top-scored with 21 hitting a lethal 6 of 8 from three point land. Three players had 15, Magden, Echodas and Kramer, while Girdžiūnas was busy in dishing out 8 assists. Rytas can now sit back and wait to see who they face in the next round, with the Neptūnas and Pieno žvaigždės sitting at 2-1.
19 May 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, Chris Kramer


Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, LKL Semi Finals, Game 2
Lietuvos Rytas dodged a bullet in bringing home the W from Utena. After being ahead by 18, Rytas took their foot off the gas way too early and allowed Juventus to ride a wave of emotion and home support to come roaring back and actually take the lead late in the game. It would be nice to say that Rytas steadied and took back control of the game, but in truth both teams made many mistakes in the final minutes and the final result of a single point win (79-78) was more luck than good management. Again the game was even from the start with both teams swapping buckets and ending the first term just 2 points apart at 25-23. In the second Rytas started to pull away largely on the work of Kramer who was driving the lanes and had an impressive dunk midway through the second, and the long break arrived with a 10 point advantage for the visitors. It looked like it would be a procession in the second half, and when Girdžiūnas hit a 3 pointer 5 minutes into the third the score was 65-47 Rytas took this as a signal to relax and started to think about the next game. Juventus of course didn't and 13 unanswered points had the locals all believing a victory was possible when the scoreboard read 65-60 and the crowd came to life igniting Juventus and an inspired Ireland who was showing his true worth having returned from injury. In short the final term was low on quality but maxed out in tension as both teams went long periods without scoring and the end result was decided more by errors and lost opportunity than inspirational play. It's history now that Rytas took the win after failing to score in the last 2 minutes and with Ireland taking the ball to the bucket in the final seconds it seemed the improbable would become reality, but the Rytas defence held and Ireland's last shot fell short and the whole arena went glum. Kurtinaitis was predictably not impressed with the effort and said that he regarded the game as a loss. Despite the disappointment, a win is a win and Rytas are now only a game away from taking the best of five series with the next game in Vilnius. Overall Kramer top scored with 20, Mavrokefalidis 13 and Giedraitis 9. For Juventus, the Kupšas threat didn't materialise this game as he finished with just 9, while it was Ireland with 25 who posed the most problems for the hosts.
14 May 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, Rokas Giedraitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, LKL Semi Finals
Lietuvos Rytas took no chances against Juventus in the first of their elimination finals, winning by an impressive 33 points. Juventus had given Rytas problems throughout the season, but after a level and tense first term, Rytas ran away with the contest as Giedraitis dropped the first of his 8 points of the quarter 11 seconds into the second term, and went on to top all scorers with 21 for the night hitting 5 of 7 from three point land. Mavrokefalidis was his usual reliable self with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Echodas sank 12 with Girdžiūnas rounding out the double-digit scorers with 10. For once the Rytas defence was proving a weapon and in the first stanza they managed to keep Juventus to 16, though only managing to make 15 themselves, but in the second they got it right. With Rokas scoring 5 points in the first minute of the second quarter, Rytas were off and running and by half time had allowed the visitors just 6 points in the period while adding 30 of their own. Rytas continued their domination for the rest of the game with the only excitement being 37 points in the final quarter by Rytas and Jomantas getting the crowd excited after hitting a three towards the end. Rytas takes a 1-0 lead in the best of 5 series and heads to Utena on Monday in the hopes of snagging the all-important away win.
11 May 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, Travis Petersen


Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas once again made hard work of overcoming Juventus. The zone defence and height of Kupšas combined with 39% shooting from two point range meant a hard night for the hosts. Rytas never managed to get away from Juventus, and the teams were rarely separated by more than a couple of points. In fact the greatest margin for the night was an 8 point advantage to Rytas halfway through the final term, but Juventus was up to the task and had the difference back down to 2 in a minute. Travis Petersen was the go-to guy and steadied the side in the final minutes. After starting slowly and only having 5 at the long break, the forward exploded for 17 in the second half. Petersen then showed nerves of steel to make 4 of 4 in the final minute when Juventus got within a single point and sent the big man to the line to stop the clock. Girdžiūnas was active early, making most of his points in the first stanza and ending the evening with 12, as did Mavrokefalidis who was his usual steady self in the middle minutes. Jimmy Baron had 9 for the night, including two important triples in the final quarter. The big headache for Rytas was again Kupšas who was intimidating in the middle of the Juventus zone and equally effective at the other end, scoring 23. So effective was his work in defence that Rytas had only 5 free throws for the game, four of them given intentionally in the last minute, while Juventus went to the line for 19 attempts, making an impressive 17 of them. Kurtinaitis had expected the big man to be a problem and his game plan was to limit the effectivity of the rest of the team, which Rytas largely managed to do, but he never counted on the poor shooting percentage of his charges. Still, it was a gritty win when the ball wasn't quite going their way and hopefully a good warm-up for the next encounter against Žalgiris on Friday.
10 April 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas, Rokas Giedraitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Neptūnas, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas let slip a good opportunity to put space between themselves and third placed Neptūnas and threaten for top spot on the LKL ladder. Playing at home in front of a crowd of 7180, Rytas let slip their opportunity as the guests from Klaipeda ripped up the script and took over in the final quarter to record a 13 point win. Rytas was very much favoured to prevail as Neptūnas had played a Championship League game in France the previous Wednesday, while Rytas was raring to go after a week off. Throw in the fact that Rytas had 'acquired' the services of Baron, Girdžiūnas and Butkevičius over the last couple of seasons, while they were still in contract in Klaipeda, and the Neptūnas list included Seibutis, Delininkaitis, Johnson and Kisielius, all of whom had donned the Rytas colours in the past. Although there are many friendships between the club members, there was even more to prove on the court with both sides having a lot at stake. At first, neither team seemed interested in defence as the first quarter ended 30-32, but then both teams changed their minds in the second with scores of 18-21 as Neptūnas held a 5 point lead at the main break. While Neptūnas had led for most of the half, there were never more than a few points separating the teams. Neptūnas managed to keep Girdžiūnas and Butkevičius quiet, as they scored only 2 points between them, while Kramer was kept to 8 points and only 2 assists. Rytas was also soundly out-rebounded, losing that dual 19-35, and was outshot from range making just 5/17 while Neptūnas made 10 triples from the same amount of attempts. But still, the scores were close, and Rytas hit back in the third quarter, and even took the lead before Neptūnas held a single point lead at the final break. It looked like the visitors were tiring and Rytas would over-run them in the last, but no-one told Neptūnas. Instead they went on a 17-4 spurt as Kisielius, Delininkaitis and Johnson hit three threes in a row to basically put the game out of reach for the hosts. Mavrokefalidis top scored for Rytas with 16, Martynas Echodas and Rokas Giedraitis had 14 each, while Travis Peterson made 13. For Neptūnas Želionsis made a season high 25, Jerry Johnson 19 and Seibutis 17. Kurtinaitis lamented the loss but did not blame the players and said they were now solely concerned with getting back into the winning rhythm that saw them victorious in the previous 13 games.
18 March 2018



  Perlas v Mažeikių „Erelius“, NKL


Perlas v Mažeikių „Erelius“, NKL
Perlas had an important win against Mažeikių "Erelius" in VIlnius. Both teams were tied with the same number of wins in the NKL and after a tough encounter where Perlas established an early lead before being worn down by the visitors, Perlas managed to steady and pick up the important win. Sirvydis top scored with 21 (5/10 three-pointers and 6 rebounds), Vilys 15, Tubutis 14 and Kvedaravičius 10..
10 February 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Dzukija, Jimmy Baron


Lietuvos Rytas v Dzukija, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas got off to a slow start, but managed to put away Dzukija and hit a hundred into the bargain. The visitors from Dzukija were hitting everything in the first half, with Petrilevičius having a career best night and finishing with 23 points for the visitors. Rytas was playing without Butkevičius who is out for 5 weeks with a wrist fracture and Coach Kurtinaitis was spending some time getting some form into Baron and Madgen and mixing the lineup around with Lukauskis back in the starting five. Rytas were a point down at the first break and only led by one of their own at the half, but with Dzukija playing a 9 man squad, Rytas was expected to run over them in the second half - and they did. Scores remained close for the first few minutes after the major break, but in a brutal five odd minutes, Rytas sprinted to a 20 point lead which they pretty much held for the rest of the game. After letting the visitors get 53 up to the half, Rytas ratcheted up the defence and kept them to 13 for the third quarter. Baron was hot and finished with 23 on 5 of 7 triples, and Madgen got the radar on target for 10 hitting 2 from 4. Mavrokefalidis was used sparingly but still managed 14, as Echodas was active in gathering 12 and Giedraitis 11. Kramer showed why he is leading the league in assists and did his averages no harm in settin up his teammates 14 times on the night.
27 January 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas Youth Team v Stellazzurra Euroleague Youth Qualifier


Lietuvos Rytas Youth Team v Stellazzurra, EuroLeague Qualifier
Lietuvos Rytas Youth Team booked a ticket to Belgrade in May to contest the EuroLeague Youth title after easily overcoming Stellazzurra (Italy) in the qualifiers held in Kaunas. Both teams were undefeated (3-0) and went into the final brimming with confidence, but Rytas soon put a stop to that nonsense and came out strong to control the game throughout. The Italians boasted some athletic players, but Rytas were able to dictate terms both within and beyond the key, utilising a long bench to maintain a double-digit lead throughout the encounter. While much of the intrigue was missing from early on, there were almost more NBA scouts than spectators as the youngsters put their skills up for show. Marekas Blaževičius top scored with 19 (11 rebounds and 32 efficiency points), Šarūnas Valunta had 17 and Deividas Sirvydis, Rytas' recent long-term signing, had 16. Both Blaževičius and Sirvydis both made it into the top five of the tournament, while Sirvydis was named tournament MVP. The final will be played alongside the Euroleague Final Four starting 17 May in Belgrade.
21 January 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis Travis Petersen LKL


Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas took care of business against Lietkabelis and went a long way towards securing second spot on the LKL table. Lietkabelis has suffered a slump of late and with new coach Butautas at the helm were making stready progress, but just a few days before the game it was announced that Adas Juskevicius was given a better offer in Turkey and the team were down an important player. Still, with much to play for Rytas was ready for a sturdy test. It looked like Rytas would run away with the game early when they led 16-4 half way through the first stanza, with Echodas and Petersen racking up points, but Lietkabelis steadied and at the first change Rytas held just a slender margin 19-17. Rytas turned on the after-burners in the second and with Kramer, Giedraitis and Girdžiūnas firing and they were 48-28 up at the half. The tough defence continued after the break and Rytas was in total control, as Lietkabelis rested their veterans as their hope faded. Rytas was able to utilise their bench and get a good hit-out before meeting Fiat again on Wednesday. Petersonas top scored with 24, Girdžiūnas 18, Baronas 12 and Echodas 11.
20 January 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis Rokas Giedraitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Vytautas, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas took no prisoners in tackling last placed Vytautas as they more than doubled their score finishing 113-56 in Vilnius. Despite the apparent mis-match, it was a full house that turned up to watch, largely in the hope of getting first glimpse of the Ball brothers, who hit international headlines after patriarch LaVar had a Twitter spat with President Trump over incidents in China last year. No-one told the full house of 2550 fans however that the boys - LiAngelo and LaMelo - would not be playing on the day. One report suggested that the teenagers were not quite ready to take on the might of Rytas, while another said that there was some disagreement about giving the reality TV team that follows the Balls permission to film. With Travis Petersen sitting out because of a tight groin and Mavrokefalidis resting, Rytas were still way too strong for the 8 player roster of Vytautas and pulled away from the start ending the first quarter ahead 31-11. There was some suggestion of a surprise in the second quarter, which Vytautas won 20-22, but after the long break Rytas did as they pleased taking the next couple of periods by 20 and 19. With a bit of concern over their shooting recently, Rytas was able to get plenty of match practice in going 17 of 32 at 53% on the night, with Madgen hitting 6 of 9 as part of his haul of 19 and Girdžiūnas top scored with 21 and 5 of 7 from range. Rytas monstered the boards winning the rebounding battle 65-28, and Martynas Echodas pulled down 13 for himself, adding to his 15 points. Artūras Jomantas notched up a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and an efficiency rating of 27. Giedraitis with 15 and Baron with 12 rounded out the double digit scorers. Kurtinaitis was happy with his team's consistency and applauded them for fighting to the end. Coach Šeškus said he gave the home team much needed shooting practice before their important game in Munich this week.
4 January 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis Rokas Giedraitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Zenit St Petersburg, Eurocup
Lietuvos Rytas let slip a golden opportunity to take a strong position in Group F of the EuroCup last 16. Both wary and confident before hosting Zenit, Rytas started strong with the talls of Mavrokefalidis and Mockevičius starting strong and pushing Rytas out to an 11 point lead by the end of the first quarter. Neither team had scored a triple until Petersen drilled one from range in the second stanza, but his shot seemed to open the floodgates for Zenit more than lift his peers. Drew Gordon was on his first visit back to Rytas where he was one of the best players last year, and he was proving as solid as ever under the glass making 23 on the night along with 8 rebounds. But a career high of 30 from Kyle Kuric who sunk 5 of 7 from range was the obvious difference between the teams. Mockevičius started well, but did most of his damage in the first half, while Mavrokefalidis again showed his class through consistency, top scoring for Rytas with 22. Rytas managed to increase their lead to 12 in the second term before Zenit went on a 9-0 run only ended when Magden hit a mid-range jumper, and Rytas ended the half 41-47 down. Rytas started the second half snapping at the heals of Zenit after being down as much as 10 points, and they finally clawed back the lead late in the game at 94-93, largely on the back of Petersen whose radar had locked on target finishing 4 of 9 on treys for a total of 19 on the night. Rokas was as ever also instrumental in the fight-back sinking his only triple late in the game, but Kuric was always able to go one better and hit the important answers. Then it was free throws that got the visitors over the line in reaching a 96-98 lead with 9 seconds remaining. Rytas had possession in those last seconds but failed to make an inbounds pass and Zenit stole the pass and played out time for an important road win. Rytas let one slip here as they missed a few easy buckets throughout the game and although their free throw shooting was OK at 79% there were a couple of crucial misses which come back to haunt when the final margin is a mere field goal. Still, we had our fair share of luck in the past few weeks and Zenit shooting 47% from range and when needed was the main reason for the loss which broke the heart of the 7539 fans who had come to support Rytas - by far the highest attendance of any of the EuoCup Final 16 games.
4 January 2018



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis Rokas Giedraitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Limoges CSP, Eurocup
Lietuvos Rytas secured second spot in Group C of Eurocup with a hard-fought win over Limoges CSP in France. Some 70 fans made the trip to support Rytas and were much needed and highly appreciated in what was eventually a hard-fought victory. While some expected an easier win, the absence of Lukauskis, with stomach issues, and Butkevičius still sore after a heavy fall from the previous game, it was always going to be tough. Toss in the fact that Rytas failed to hit a single triple from 16 attempts and you can appreciate that it was an uphill struggle. But struggle they did. Mockevičius was strong from the start, totalling 10 rebounds, with 7 of them offensive, as well as being equal top scorer for Rytas; showing the potential expected of him and justifying the long wait on his injury. It was his brother big that equalled his output, as Mavrokefalidis also scored 13 and was solid throughout, as the rest of the team played in patches, excluding Jomantas who played a captain's game - strong at both ends and providing important points when needed most. Artūras finished with 9 in a game that was tight all night, with never more than a few points separating the teams. Travis Petersen was the next highest scorer with 8, but while many players were down, they were certainly not without endeavour as our main shooters only added between 4 and 7 points each. Kurtinaitis was pleased with the effort though, saying in the post-match briefing that there will always be days when the long-shots won't drop but he was extremely pleased for every players' effort and sacrifice. Rytas it seems is learning how to graft out a win and to implement Plan B when their big guns fall silent. The win gives a better seeding for the next round of games and hopefully smoother run into the finals. Well done Rytas, and thanks for the Christmas present.
26 December 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis Rokas Giedraitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas made hard work of cementing a higher place in the LKL rankings, but managed to defeat Lietkabelis 75-69. Rytas was confident coming into the game with a full roster for the first time this season and on the back of a solid win against Alba Berlin. Still, the message from Kurtinaitis was to not take the home team lightly and treat them with respect. Well of course, that didn't happen. Lietkabelis raced away to a 1-10 lead early in the first as the Rytas guns failed to fire. They managed to claw back to within 12-18 by th end of the term, and started to get it together in the second, taking the lead at 29-25 before Lietkabelis settled and went to the long break 33-35 ahead. In the third the Rytas machine finally got going. Mavrokefalidis was making an impact on returning from injury and top-scored with 16. Also off the bench were Giedraitis and Magden who rounded out the double digit scorers with 15 and 12 repectively. For the home team the ever young Kšištofas Lavrinovičius dropped 17 with 8 boards, and Juškevičius made 14. While Rytas got 17 points ahead in the third, they relaxed too early and the full house came to life as Rytas stopped scoring and Lietkabelis started hitting some long threes, including a Skučas bomb that was all net and sent shivers through the visitor's bench. Rytas had done enough though and managed to hold on to their advantage and cemented their win and a place above Lietkabelis in the upcoming Mindaugas Cup. Along the way Mindaugas Lukauskis also equalled the LKL record in playing in his 554th game - well done Minde.
23 December 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Siauliai Jimmy Baron


Lietuvos Rytas v Šiauliai, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas avoided an embarassing loss to league minnows Siauliai, but only after the third extra overtime. In what was in many ways a landmark game for Rytas, three players made their debut in the red and black - Egidijus Mockevičius, Mindaugas Girdžiūnas and Arnas Butkevičius. While Mockevičius was only expected to make his team debut in the new year, he was dressed and ready to go, though most suspected he would not get onto the court. Girdžiūnas and Butkevičius were fresh from Neptunas and the large Sunday crowd were eager to see the new signings, whose long-term contracts represent the future of Lietuvos Rytas. But back to the game. It all started according to plan; Rytas slowly inched ahead and by the half had handy 47-33 lead, and Mindaugas Girdžiūnas and Arnas Butkevičius had already dropped their first points for Rytas. Jomantas had started hot and had the crowd on their feet as he dropped his seventh point in the first half with a banked three pointer as the shot clock wound down. In the third stanza Rytas edged ahead 19 before the status quo was retained and 14 points again separated the teams at the final break. It was here that Šiauliai broke away from the script. Ably led by their imports Omar Prewitt who finished with 29 and Akeem Wright who totalled 21, the shots from the sun city side just started dropping, and late in the last Rytas was down 70-74 before clawing back to 74 each at the end of regulation. Rytas was down again in extra time but a couple of treys from Giedraitis had it all tied up again and 83 each. In the final overtime Rytas broke the ton to finally win 103-98, much to the relief of fans and coaching staff. Kurtinaitis was unhappy with the amount of errors - 19, and defence was still a problem, but having introduced three new players into the team he was happy that his charges recomposed themselves and managed to hold it together for an important win - especially with the Mindaugas Cup just around the corner. For Rytas Baron had 21, Petersen 18 with 14 rebounds, Giedraitis 15, Kramer 12 and Jomantas 11, while Girdžiūnas added 7 and Butkevičius 6.
17 December 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris Martynas Echodas


Lietuvos Rytas v Žalgiris, LKL
With nary a win against Žalgiris in what seems like years, Rytas pulled off an upset against the league favourites in Kaunas. Buoyed by the support of some 600 fans who travelled by train from Vilnius, Rytas got out early and had an 11 point lead in the first quarter. Žalgiris were never going to be easy at home and in front of an almost packed house, and before the end of the first stanza, the margin had already been reduced to just 2. It was a low scoring affair with quarter time scores of 18-16, and it became even more defensive in the second quarter when Žalgiris reduced the half-time margin to just one on 13-12 scoring. Paulius Jankūnas had been quiet against Rytas recently, but he was showing his class and topped all scorers with 18 on the night. With the second half starting almost even at 30-29, Žalgiris started to pull away in the third, but could never get more than 6 or 8 ahead, and Rytas closed out the third with Giedraitis and Magden hitting to reduce the margin to 48-51. All to play for in the last and again Žalgiris got the jump and pulled ahead 7 before man-of-the-moment Martynas Echodas supplied a steady stream of points and Petersen joining in to help break down the Žalgiris defence. Two points by Giedraitis from under the bucket got Rytas into the lead with 30 seconds remaining and after a controversial cross-court decision, Rytas managed to hold out the hosts taking a long awaited 65-63 victory against their arch-rivals. Kurtinaitis was well pleased with the performance and character that the team showed on the court, saying that it was a similar struggle to that in Vilnius, but this time they managed to hold their nerve at the end and take out a well deserved win. Petersen finshed top scored for Rytas with 17, Echodas added 14 and 4 important blocks, while Giedraitis and Magden shared 10 each. As the win was sinking in, Rytas was further gladdened after the game when news broke that Rytas had signed Arnas Butkevičius and Mindaugas Girdžiūnas on long-term contracts and would join the team immediately.
2 December 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Nevezis Martynas Echodas


Lietuvos Rytas v Nevezis, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas took care of business against Nevezis without too much bother. The home team controlled the game from the outset, establishing a double digit lead in the first half and holding the visitors at arm's length for the rest of the game and winning every quarter, with a final score of 98-70. All players got a run before the next important game against Partizan, and most pleasing was the return of Ben Magden who also ended up second highest scorer with 13. Martynas Echodas topped the honours dropping 17 points, while Carter with 11 and Baron adding 10 rounded out the top scorers. Another newish face on the court was Deividas Sirvydis, who debuted with Rytas late last season after three players were released from contract before the end of the season. At 17 he has been pulled into the Rytas roster and later Rytas announced that they have parted ways with Robert Carter - by mutual agreement. Rytas said in a press release that they parted on good terms, but hoped to increase the playing time of Echodas, who is showing good form, and with the imminent debut of Egidijus Mockevičius, felt they could no longer guarantee him good minutes.
2 December 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus Jimmy Baron


Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas took a regulation win against Juventus on their Vilnius home court. Rytas got ahead early, with Baron starting hot, and established a double-digit lead early in the first half. Juventus got going with Laron Dendy doing much of the heavy lifting for them, and while Rytas managed to keep them at arm's length, they were never able to put them away. Rokas began rocking the rim in the second half with some powerful dunks, and Echodas joined in for a couple himself, but still Juventus were hanging around. Baron cooled after his opening salvo, but came to life again in the second half hitting 4 of 8 threes in his total of 23. Rokas was showing touch from range as well as he made 3 of his 6 three-point attempts. and a total of 17. Petersen and Mavrokefalidis made 10 each to round out Rytas' top scorers. Kurtinaitis said he was happy with the win but was disappointed by some aspects of the game and was hoping for a better quality hit-out before the upcoming game against Bilbao. Kurtinaitis added that he was happy with the work of Baron in the position of point guard and for the moment they would not be looking to replace Carter, who left the club over the weekend. Rytis has a tough game coming up against Bilbao and then an away fixture against Neptunas before getting a bit of a break over the World Qualifying window.
11 November 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Limoges CSP Rokas Giedraitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Limoges, Eurocup
Lietuvos Rytas finally managed to defend their home court and took a much needed win against Limoges CSP. After a slow start Rytas went on a 13-0 run in the first quarter to take the lead, and managed to hold it for the remainder of the game. Limoges managed to stay in touch though, keeping the home fans on edge throughout and after boasting an 18 point advantage, a final spurt by the visitors had the margin back to 9 half way through the final term. Rytas managed to steady the nerves of their fans as Geidraitis dropped a triple to give the home team a better buffer and Rytas managed to see out the game with a comfortable victory 92-76. Travis Petersen regained his touch as he hit 19, equal top scorer for Rytas with Giedraitis. Baron and Mavrokefalidis had 14 apiece and Echodas racked up 10 to round out the double digit scoring. It was a solid and much needed win by Rytas and their 2-3 record after the first round of games in Group C has them in third position. Rytas meanwhile is looking for a new point guard with the release of Marc Carter, who Kurtinaitis lamented on not being able to transform to a point guard and giving Kramer a bit of relief. With Magden soon to return, Mockevičius getting ever closer and a new point guard on the horizon, the second round looks good for Rytas and a much needed excursion into the next phase of Eurocup.
7 November 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lokomotiv Kuban Loukas Mavrokefalidis


Lietuvos Rytas v Lokomotiv, Eurocup
Lietuvos Rytas once again failed to defend their home court and fell, though in an agonisingly close game, to Lokomotiv Kuban. Rytas allowed the visitors to get a 0-5 start, but they soon put on a spurt to claim a 9-5 lead. The threes were dropping from both ends as the scores were tied again at 16-16 before Giedraitis finished the quarter sinking a plus one from the charity stripe and a 21-18 advantage. Lukauskis was finding some scoring touch and the seesaw battle continued with honours even at the half 43-43. It looked like Rytas got their stuff together during the long break and pulled out to an 11 point lead in the third, but a well timed time-out by the visitors had them resume with a vengence and a 0-11 spurt but Rytas managed to hang on to the lead at the last change 61-64. The final quarter started with Lokomotiv getting on a run and they pulled out to a 5 point lead late in the game. Ragland was hitting important shots for the visitors, while Giedraitis was doing the same for Rytas, including a triple with 11 seconds remaining to tie the scores and send the game into overtime. With hopes high of a resurgent Rytas, the visitors took all the air out of the room by winning the final stanza 4-12. Mavrokefalidis top scored with 22, Giedraitis 19 and Lukauskis was the only other Rytas player to make double digits. For the visitors Ragland hit 21.
24 October 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas Travis Petersen


Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas finally found some favour in the big gym and pulled off a victory against Neptunas at Siemens Arena. Rytas controlled the contest from the outset and with Petersen taking his turn to lead the scoring, he hit 3/4 threes, 5/7 from two-point range and dished out seven assists to boot. And he had most of his points in the first half as Rytas took a 23 point lead to the long break. As usual it was Mavrokefalidis who got the scoring going making shots under the bucket as Kramer got into the action and Petersen started to hit the mark. And the defence was working as well, with Neptunas only managing 12 in the first quarter (22-12). Rytas was looking confident early, and Neptunas looked like they had no chance as the worry about Seibutis, Palacios, Delininkaitis, Kisielius and Maksvytis dishing out some grief on their former team went by the wayside. There was always going to be a Neptunas resurgence after the half and they indeed came out stronger, though eventually aided by injuries to Kramer and Magden which left the hosts short staffed. The margin was reduced to 12 late in the final quarter, but Rytas managed to steady and control the game to the final whistle. While Petersen took the headlines, Mavrokefalidis went almost unnoticed with his 18, Kramer added 12 before pulling a hamstring I think, along with Mark Carter whose 12 points were accompanied by his trademark energy. Baron's 9 showed he's starting to home in on the target while Echodas and Giedraitis could boast of some impressive dunks if not high numbers. While the win was much needed, it was almost anti-climactic as almost 4000 fans got to enjoy the first Rytas victory in Siemen's Arena for the season.
14 October 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Bilbao Marc Carter


Lietuvos Rytas v Bilbao, Eurocup
Lietuvos Rytas failed to protect their home court against Bilbao losing their first Eurocup encounter of the season. Despite starting well and notching an 8-4 lead, largely on the back of Mavrokefalidis, the quarter finished 25-26 as both teams looked to gain the advantage. Todorovic took over for the visitors in the second quarter and his nine points took them to a 36-55 lead at the half. Awaiting a second half revival the home fans were dissapointed as the visitors hit the first seven points before Rytas managed to steady somewhat, and keep the margin to 15 points at the final break (59-74). Chris Kramer made five points to open the final stanza and Marc Carter added five of his own as a Rytas comeback had the crowd believing again and the margin was cut to just four at 75-79, but as has been the case often in the season, Rytas was unable to capitalise on a run and allowed the opposition to steady and again extend the margin as Mumbru hit a couple of clutch shots that finally took the game away from Rytas and let them leave town with a ten point 83-93 victory. For Rytas Marc Carter provided the energy that got the home team back into the game, finishing with 10 points in just over 11 minutes. Mavrokefalidis was equal top scorer along with Baron in making 15, while Robert Carter added 12. Rytas was well beaten on the boards 30-42 and sadly it was Magden and Baron who topped the rebounding at 6 apiece. This was a very dissapointing loss for Rytas who have still to see a win in the big Siemens gym in front of decent crowds who might be starting to get frustrated. Rytas looks good on paper and all progress reports are positive, but it is failing to convert that into victories. Let's trust that a hot streak is just around the corner and the Siemens hoodoo soon becomes a thing of the past.
11 October 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris Chris Kramer


Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas failed to take advantage of their home court and went down to Zalgiris in their first meeting of the LKL season. Although Rytas got off to a slow start and trailed the visitors 7-14 early in the first quarter, they recovered to reduce the deficit to a single point by quarter's end 15-16. With both teams looking rusty the second quarter started much the same and scoring looked especially hard in a game dominated by defence. Rytas actually edged ahead 23-22 before Zalgiris clawed their way back to a 34-39 lead at the half. The second half started with a bit more fluency and when Jomantas hit a three pointer to even the count at 45-45 the home crowd roared into life and helped Rytas to a 55-53 advantage at the final break. A Lukauskis two pointer had Rytas up four at 57-53, and that was the margin again after Robert Carter dropped a double at 59-55, but Pangos was starting to hit important shots to keep Zalgiris close. With three minutes remaining another Pangos two pointer tied the scores at 61. Zalgiris pulled away and were up 61-66 with just over a minute remaining and the home crowd was looking pessimistic, but a steal by Kramer and a deuce a bit later had Rytas within one again. Rytas failed to capitalise allowing Zalgiris to control the final minutes by hitting three out of four foul shots and taking a 67-70 victory. Rytas had their chances and missed quite a few three pointers early in the offence in the dying minutes only to see Zalgiris go down the other end of the court and see Pangos take full advantage of his chances. Overall Kurtinaitis was not too disheartened by the loss and praised his team for their effort. He was more critical of the officials and made mention in the press conference of the fact that Zalgiris had 29 free throws to Rytas' 13. Vice-President Kleiza was not so subtle and went into the ref's room after the game and complained about the officiating. The LKL announced next day that they had slapped Kleiza with a €600 fine for intimidating behaviour and another €600 fine for criticism of the officials. There was another €1200 fine imposed on the club. Kurtinaitis was warned for his criticism and the club was further put on notice for a shot clock malfunction that held up the start of the game and needed the bench to call out the remaining time on the shot clock for the entire match. So plenty of drama and an exciting encounter of two teams still looking to hit their straps early in the season. For Rytas Kramer and Robert Carter were equal top scorers with 12 and Rokas added 10. Baron and Magden were below their best with 5 each and Mavrokefalidis continued his improvement with 9. Pangos was the pain point for Rytas finishing with 19.
8 October 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Vytautas Ben Magden


Lietuvos Rytas v Vytautas, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas worked hard in defeating Vytautas on their home court in Prienai. The home team jumped out of the blocks early and had 5 points before Rytas managed to open their account. It was all Magden for Rytas as he hit 10 points for the quarter and held the quarter time deficit to three: 17-20. Again the hosts got out to a hot start and were 20-33 leaders at one stage before the Rytas machine found some flow and started scoring again. One of the driving forces behind the comeback was newcomer Loukas Mavrokefalidis who on debut added five points in his seven minutes. Marc Carter was also adding some zing after a quiet start to the season. Kurtinaitis was no doubt hoping they had turned the corner and were well on the way to victory when the finished the half even at 36-36. Vytautas was not to be denied though, and again they started with a bang and pulled away to a seven point lead before Rytas began the work of reeling them in. Ben Magden again took over the bulk of the scoring duties and he went on to finish with 21 points. The home team were shooting the lights out and managed to stay close to the end, but Rytas managed to settle better in the final minutes and took the W back to Vilnius. As mentioned, Marc Carter was showing more drive and determination than we'd seen and was rewarded on the scoresheet with 10 points and 4 assists. Rokas supplied his usual 12 and Robert Carter rounded out the double digit scorers with 11. For Vytautas Klimavičius had 20 points and Elgirdas Žukauskas collected 18.
5 October 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Alytus Dzukija Martynas Echodas


Lietuvos Rytas v Alytus Dzukija, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas made no mistake in getting past Alytus in their fourth LKL match after losing to Lietkabelis in their previous game. Rytas controlled the tempo throughout after they got to an early 12-2 lead and managed to keep the visitors from Alytus at arm's length for the rest of the game. While the defence was better, there were still some concerns on offence with Dzukija getting within single digits later in the game, but Rytas managed to settle and take the game 78-54. Once again Echodas was impressive in gathering 18 points and 14 rebounds in leading all scorers. Peterson had 12 and Robert Carter with 11 rounded out the double digit scoring. While the game itself bode well for the future, two new players were also welcomed into the fold and had their jerseys presented to them; Loukas Mavrokefalidis and Egidijus Mockevičius. While Loukas should start playing very soon - just a question of conditioning - Mockevičius is recovering from shoulder surgery and should be playing in December. From being undersized Rytas should soon be able to boast one of the better front courts in the league.
30 September 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis Martynas Echodas


Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas failed miserably in making amends for last season's semi-final loss to Lietkabelis going down 81-97 in Vilnius. It was painfully obvious from the first minutes that Rytas was going to have a tough night, and not even halfway through the first quarter it was inevitable that it was to be the first loss for the season. Rytas simply lacked energy and the defence which in the previous two games had been suspect was simply a no-show, which was a great disappointment as 6350 fans had gathered to see the encounter. The distance between the two teams continually increased during the first three-quarters, the only real surprise was the comparatively subdued reaction from Kurtinaitis. After a 17-30 deficit in the first quarter Kurtinaitis remained composed, when the difference grew to 19 and Rytas had allowed 55 points in the first half he was circumspect, and at the end of third, when 26 points separated the teams he seemed no more grumpy than usual. Rytas was failing to cope with the size of Lietkabelis and allowing way too many open shots to a team that was hitting 40% from range and 61% inside the arc. Rytas was only able to win the last quarter and may have found some relief in keeping the visitors from Panevezys under 100. There were still some bright spots on a dank evening for Rytas with Giedraitis continuing his good touch with 12, Mark Carter started slow but scraped together 11 as an undersized four playing at five. Jimmy Baron sunk a few after a cold night in Utena, while Travis Peterson added 11, albeit on 2 for 9 three-point shooting. The best surprise was Martynas Echodas, who also after a slow start began to make his mark in the second half and finished the night with 20. For the visitors Peiners was equal high game scorer on 20, Williams had 14 while Tarolis and Čepukaitis dropped 11 each. The reason for Kurtinaitis' apparent calm became apparent in the post-match press conference, where for once a coach partially blamed himself in stating that the team seemed tired and they would need to re-assess their early season training schedule to avoid fatigue. He also noted their lack of a genuine centre was a major problem, and the arrival of Loukas Mavrokefalidis the next day would help relieve that burden. Overall though he was pleased with the effort of the players in the training gym and on the floor, and after the coaching staff adjusted their schedules they should be in much better shape and form in the very near future.
23 September 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, Chris Kramer


Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas overcame their Utena hoodoo with a 7 point win against Juventus. The hosts started strong and had Rytas on the back foot early when the came out hot and sprinted to an 11-2 lead. Rytas managed to steady and continued to work away at the difference and managed to finish the first quarter with a 21-17 advantage. Juventus fought back in the second quarter and took a 2 point lead into the long break at 40-42. Again in the third quarter Rytas reached a double-digit lead, but were again pegged back finishing the third quarter just four points the better of Juventus. Rytas managed to steady in the final stanza with Kramer controlling the game and Echodas making a solid contribution and cementing the win after having a relatively quiet game. Coach Kurtinaitis was relieved to take the win, saying that it is always tough to win in Utena against a team that has high aspirations for the current season. Overall Rytas ground out a solid win, though continuing to suffer from periods of poor defence and slow scoring, always allowing the opposition a chance to get back into the game. Kurtinaitis and the players themselves agree that more training and conditioning is still required, but the good news is that there were plenty of contributors on the night with six players hitting double digits, and that was with Jimmy Baron having a quiet game. Kramer and Magden shared the scoring honours with 14 each, while Kramer added 7 assists to boot. Martynas Echodas had 13, Rokas Giedraitis made 11, Robert Carter and Petersen had 10 each.
23 September 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas Margiris Normantas


Lietuvos Rytas v Pieno Zvaigzdes, LKL
Lietuvos Rytas began not just their new LKL season, but a new era with a solid win over Pieno Zvaigzdes at home in Vilnius. With massive changes over the off-season, Rytas managed a comfortable win over the visitors from Prienai, though coach Kurtinaitis was upset about the defence which allowed way too many points and scoring opportunities in the 102 - 90 win. Kurtinaitis was upset that the team had started to play individually rather than the team game that was more impressive in the practice games, but any first game is as much a matter of settling nerves as finding your form and Rytas has started with the required win. Robert Lawrence Carter Jr was the first surprise of the night. I think he hit the first 14 points for Rytas as he hurt the visitors inside and out. He finished the night on 25 points and 6 rebounds. The other pleasant surprise of the night was Martynas Echodas who racked up 17 and 5, while Giedraitis had 15, Peterson 11 and Ben Magden on 10 rounded out the top scorers. With much of the pre-season devoted to attracting Rytas fans back to the game, the club put out the red carpet and provided some razzle-dazzle entertainment with a Harlen Globetrotter halftime show, a tribute to veteran Statyba players, a circus act and some entertainment for the kids post-game, and the fans responded with an almost full gym and an optimistic outlook on the season ahead.
20 September 2017



  Lithuania v Greece, Mindaugas Kuzminskas


Lithuania v Greece, Eurobasket 2017
After topping their group in the first phase of competition, Lithuania came crashing down in their match-up with Greece. To tell the truth, the Greeks showed more belief and desire and dominated the game with some stellar shooting and intense defence. Lithuania had a four point lead early, but then Printezis hit a couple to take the lead. Lithuania managed to put a lid on Printezis, but then Sloukas started connecting, finishing with 5 of 7 triples. Even with the Greeks red hot, Lithuania managed to stay within reach, but whenever they had a chance to make a serious dent in the margin, they took three or four possessions to score, giving Greece the opportunity to pull away again. Even in the final quarter Lithuania got to within four points, but again failed to score time and again allowing Antetokounmpo to hit a clutch three which ultimately took the game their way. While we shot better from the free throw line and inside the arc, Lithuania managed just 6 of 24 three pointers as Greece hit 11 of their 24. While it's tempting to blame complacency, the Greeks were really geared up for this one, and rode their luck. Kalnietis had 4 turnovers according to official stats, but his mum must have been recording them because there were many more turnovers than the official figures of 13 suggest. Not to blame Mantas, as always he carries a huge burden and as the championships go deep the onus of being the only point guard on the team weighed on his stamina and decision making. Valanciunas was his usual 13 points and 15 rebounds. He contributed and also played a lot of minutes because Gudaitis was having lots of trouble on the defensive end. Kuzminskas was again our stand-out. Talk of a sore back was forgotten after he finished with 20 and showed the most determination of all our players. The problem was that our bench and secondary unit failed to show up. For all the optimism of earlier games, when they needed to stand up they wilted, with only Ulanovas and Grigonis adding 7 each. Motiejunas ended a very disappointing championship with just a single point from 8.35 on the floor. This is not the time to blame any one person however, player or coaching staff, and we have to acknowledge the superior Greek effort and our younger team, so we can only believe that we will be that much better for the experience.
23 August 2017



  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



  Lithuania v Spain Jonas Valanciunas


Lithuania v Spain
Lithuania ended their marathon of friendlies with a single point loss to arch rivals Spain. In front of a pack house in Vilnius the home team recovered from a slow start as first Mačiulis hit 7 points in a row to even the score, and then Kuzminskas went on a run of his own to help Lithuania get to a 7 point lead at the first quarter. Spain fought back at the start of the second quarter and got to within 5 before Lithuania steadied and then took a 10 point advantage into the long break. Spain were never going to lie down and came out hard in the third. Suddenly Lithuania were having trouble finding the bottom of the bucket and Spain kept rolling on, taking a three point lead after a couple of Grigonis errors, before Lithuania steadied and reduced the deficit to 1 at the last break. The final quarter was a see-saw battle as both teams took turns in taking the advantage and the lead must have change four or five times in the final minutes as both were making the most of each possession. It was a war of attrition, each team hoping the other would be first to falter, and it was Spain that took the single digit advantage with just one possession remaining. Lithuania executed quite well, with some good screens opening up the lane for Kalnietis, but unfortunately his floater missed the mark and Spain took the rebound and hung on for the win. The large crowd showed initial disappointment but were generally pleased by the performance, and even the players and coaching staff, though acknowledging there were areas needing improvement, said they were happy with their progress and playing at that level would do well at Eurobasket 2017. Valančiūnas top scored with 21 and 11 rebounds, Jonas Mačiulis 12, Mindaugas Kuzminskas 9, Artūras Milaknis 8, Donatas Motiejūnas and Mantas Kalnietis (9 assists) scored 7 each. For the visitors Pau Gasol was again unstoppable with 24.
23 August 2017



  Lithuania v Iceland Jonas Valanciunas


Lithuania v Iceland
Lithuania took care of business against Iceland in their penultimate friendly in preparation for Eurobasket 2017. In front of a full house in Šiauliai, Lithuania controlled the game from the start, moving to an early lead and taking a 25 point lead at the half. Lithuania backed off a bit in the second half as Iceland found its feet and frustrated a Lithuanian team looking to show-off in front of their home crowd. In fact the Icelanders won the second half by 3 and the game ended 84-62 in Lithuania's favour. The biggest news of the night was that Lukas Lekavičius suffered a seemingly innocuous injury that will unfortunately rule him out of Eurobasket 2017, pulling a groin and needing a 6-8 week recovery. This in turn gives Adas Juškevičius a recall and ticket to Tel Aviv/Istanbul. While it's hard to make too many judgements in a game where you clearly outclass your opponent, one good sign was that some shots were starting to drop. Gecevičius in particular was 100% from everywhere - 4/4 threes, 2/2 twos and 5 assists, finishing with 16 points. Kuzminskas again top scored with 17 and Valančiūnas added 14 with 11 boards. Kalnietis had 11 and Motiejūnas rounded out the double digiters with 10. Although a nice warm-up, all eyes now turn to Vilnius where Lithuania will meet Spain in their final run before the championships and we can better gauge the standing of both teams. For Iceland, the young tall Tryggvi Hlinason impressed with 19, while Martin Hermannsson added 14.
23 August 2017



  Lithuania v France Mantas Kalnietis


Lithuania v France
Lithuania exacted revenge for its 20 odd point loss in France by defeating le Blue by a similar margin in Kaunas. Lithuania got going early and were 23-16 ahead at the first break. France responded in the second quarter and looked more eager as their shots began to drop, and it was worries all round when France was ahead by 3 at the long break. This time however, Lithuania steadied and took back the initiative from the start of the third quarter, unleashing an impressive 30 points for the term. Jonas Mačiulis (15 points) had done much of the work in the first half, while in the second Kalnietis - 18, Motiejūnas - 13 and Kuzminskas - 11 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists, started taking on more of the workload. Jonas Valančiūnas – 10 points and 13 boards notched up his customary double/double. While all players got a mention on the scoresheet, Adomaitis' promise of working with his main group from now on showed as the big five all reached double figures. Pleasingly, Motiejūnas showed a bit of form and endeavour and we hope his improvement continues. For the visitors Nando de Colo finished with 16, Thomas Heurtel – 13, Edwin Jackson – 12 and Evan Fournier – 10.
15 August 2017



  Lithuania v Georgia, Kidy Tour Cup, Arturas Gudaitis


Lietuva v Georgia
Lithuania ended its experimental stage at the Kidy Tour Cup with an 11 point loss to Georgia. With many of the stalwarts sitting this one out, and Valančiūnas off to meet his new son, coach Adomaitis said in the post game press conference that he wanted to give fringe players quality minutes in clutch times to best evaluate their abilities. Sadly there was not much to see. At the start though, all eyes were on Donatas Motiejūnas, who was having his first game in some six months. He was rusty, and forced to play in the unaccustomed role of centre, he was eager, but struggled. He was also prone to some showboating and a couple of behind-the-back passes cost us possession. Gecevičius and Milaknis look to be vying for the same position, and Gecevičius looked the better on the night. Martynas has some two-on-two pedigree while Milaknis has more dash and can cut the key better. Gudaitis followed up a solid performance against Poland with a top-score showing, ending up with 17 and 8 boards. He was a presence inside and though the defence usually got an arm on him, they kept sending him to the line where he made 7 of 12. Kuzminskas ended a solid game with 10 points and Motiejūnas 9. Three point shooting has been a no show so far, though we improved to 21% after dropping just 13% against Poland. Still, this is probably the best time to lose a game and Adomaitis said now the experimentation is over and he will start concentrating the national team efforts around the established players and those five players on the fringe of selection will have to make the most of any opportunities that come their way. Now the boys are off to Kaunas for a spot more training before heading for a couple of games against France and Croatia - some real opposition.
5 August 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Poland Sekla


Lietuva v Poland
Lithuania made a regulation slow start to its practice game season. While controlling most of the game against Poland, the margin in the dying minutes was worryingly close, Lithuania proved more composed and iced the result with a Valančiūnas five foot fade-away in the final minutes. Poland went on to hit a three and bring the margin back to a single point, but Lithuania was able to stay steady in the war of nerves and produced from the line and used their final possessions wisely. It's always hard to draw too many conclusions in these early games, and with Mantas Kalnietis, Donatas Motiejūnas, Jonas Mačiulis, Marius Grigonis and Evaldas Kairys not suiting up it's way too early to draw any conclusions. Bendžius did well, and along with Juškevičius, Gecevičius and Giedraitis got minutes. Surprisingly Sajus sat out the game. Valančiūnas top scored with 14 points and 13 boards, Gudaitis looked comfortable putting together 11 and Bendžius with 9. Still a long road ahead, and many questions waiting to be answered, so let’s enjoy the journey.
5 August 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas Margiris Normantas


Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas - Bronze Medal Series, Game 3
Lietuvos Rytas kept the bronze medal series even with both teams managing to protect their home court. The new look Lietuvos Rytas - without four of their American imports, three of whom were sacked because of a penchant for nightlife - looked a more determined and better balanced outfit. Rytas controlled much of the encounter and kept a double digit difference for most of the game, with Neptunas making runs at the hosts, but never quite managing to get the lead. Neptunas was badly let down from the perimeter hitting only 4 from 24 from beyond the arc, and as the highest shooting three point team in the league, they never looked likely with their greatest weapon off target. Gudaitis was once again top-scorer with 17, but the surprise of the night was Margiris Normantas who not only chipped in with 14 of his own and controlled the offence as an effective point guard, something missing in the Rytas' game most of the season. Rokas Giedraitis 13 and Laimonas Kisielius with 11 were the other players in double digits. For Neptunas Mindaugas Girdžiūnas with 12 was the only player to get over 10, as the series moves back to Klaipeda with the pressure on Neptunas to defend their home court or watch the bronze medal head back to Vilnius.
4 June 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis Taylor Brown


Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis - Semi Final 4
Lietkabelis were the deserved winners of the LKL semi finals series after winning in Panevežys and securing a 3-1 series win. With everything to play for both teams bought plenty of determination with them and it was shot for shot throughout the first half, with Lietkabelis taking a 3 point lead into the long break. The big surprise was that Gailius started in place of Jomantas and seemed to have a licence to shoot. He hit a few missed a few and ended up with 5 points and the same number of fouls, ending his comeback in the third quarter. Rytas came out tough in the third quarter and got to the lead at 45-44 before a Gordon tech foul evened the score and in a flash Lietkabelis was up and running on the back of their vocal home support, and in the blink of an eye the difference was 15 points 65-50, before Rytas managed a few buckets to register a 65-54 deficit at the final break. The final quarter started with Rytas putting on the pressure and after four minutes the scores were tied at 74. It was a couple of minutes of neither team making much headwind, but with two minutes to play, Lietkabelis had ground out a 80-74 advantage, which they protected to end up 86-77 victors. The hero of the night was Ben Magden who racked up 24 points, while Lorenzo Williams was clutch in the final minutes and finished with 10. K. Lavrinovic and Skučas finished with 12 apiece. For Rytas the surprise package was Taylor Brown who top scored with 18, Fisher had 13 and the only other player in double digits was Gordon with 12. After the game Kurtinaitis lamented their poor free throw percentage - missing 10 of 23 - and said that he simply couldn't understand some of his players and praised Lietkabelis for the win based largely on their greater desire.
23 May 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis Taylor Brown


Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis - Semi Final 3
Lietuvos Rytas on their home court to give a 2-1 advantage to Lietkabelis. With the next game moving to Panevežys, Rytas has it all to do, needing to win the final two games to take their presumed position in the LKL finals against Žalgiris. The contest was even at half time with the home crowd once again hoping that a resurgence after the long break would take Rytas to a win. But this time it was not to be. Gordon was limited by a stress fracture but even adding 8 points was well below his best, and as Rytas' most consistent player during the season his reduced output has clearly left the team without a decided leader. Jimmy Baron started enthusiastically, and scored 7 of the first 11 points, finally finishing with 14 and top scoring for Rytas, but apart from his bookended performance Rytas struggled to find a leader as Hannah, Fisher and Brown added 9, 8 and 8 respectively without dominating offence or defence. Gudaitis rebounded well and had 3 blocked shots, but also failed to reached double digits ending the night with 7 points. Liekabelis were able to keep it tight inside and keep Rytas from dominating the paint, and in keeping the game tight to three quarter time when a Gordon tech foul left the visitors with a 51-55 lead. A Rytas resurgence was not forthcoming and early in the last stanza Liekabelis had a 12 point margin and never let Rytas back into the game, finishing 81-73 victors. Giedraitis was probably the most consistent Rytas player with 12 points, while for Lietkabelis Williams had 15 points and 10 assists, Lukauskis 14 pionts, Leonavičius 12 and K. Lavrinovičius 11. Is Rytas good enough to win the next two matches? They'll have to start in Panevežys on Tuesday.
20 May 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis Taylor Brown


Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis - Semi Final 2
Lietuvos Rytas returned from Panevezys with the LKL semi final series level at one each. On their home court Lietkabelis came out strong, jumped to an early lead and never looked back. Leading by 23 points at halftime, the last hope for Rytas lay in a second half revival, but it never happened, and the margin remained much the same for the remainder of the game and the hosts collected their 'W' on a 90-73 final scoreline. Lietabelis came out a lot more determined but the major difference between the teams was Darjuš Lavrinovič who scorched the visitors for 20 points. Rytas on the other hand couldn't find any working combination and with nothing dropping and nothing working it was only Giedraitis who managed to score 19 points, Gordon 14, Brown 12 and Jomantas 10. Gudaitis was well held on 6 while Jimmy Baron didn't trouble the scorers. For Lietkabelis brother Kšištof Lavrinovič dropped 13 while Skučas and Lukauskis added 11 each. Kurtinaitis was quick to congratulate Lietkabelis and made no great excuses, only complimenting his opponents, he also added that Skučas played well and within the spirit of the game. Everyone heads back to Vilnius for game three on Saturday.
17 May 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis Taylor Brown


Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis
Lietuvos Rytas made hard work of putting away Lietkabelis in the first of their semi-final encounters for 2017. The first half was a dour struggle as Lietkabelis had made the trip down from Panevezys with plenty of determination, and the first half finished with just a three point advantage for the hosts (48-45). The second half started with a spurt from the visitors and they took the lead 49-48, before Gordon was once again brought back into the game. He'd been quiet in the first half and had some altercations with Skučas and on returning was again immediately into the action with his arch-rival, this time Skučas giving up a tech or two and Gordon icing the bonus points from the line. Rytas then put on a spurt and controlled the game thanks to Corey Fisher who surprised on his first game returning from injury. Rytas moved ahead and soon established a double digit lead which they held for the remainder of the game, despite a lapse of concentration in the closing minutes. For Rytas Gudaitis top scored with 19, Gordon, Baron and Fisher had 14 apiece. For the visitors Ben Magnden had 17, K. Lavrinovičius 15 and Skučas 13. In the post-match press conference coach Kurtinaitis named Skučas as the dirtiest player in the league and thus laid the foundations for an intriguing series.
14 May 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Pieno Zvaigzdes Arturas Gudaitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Pieno žvaigždės
Lietuvos Rytas closesd out the first round of the LKL playoffs against Pieno žvaigždės with a comprehensive 56 point victory on their home court in Vilnius. Rytas ran away from their guest from Pasvalis in the first quarter and never looked back in mopping up the series 3 - 0. Coach Kurtinaitis was able to give his complete roster a good run while also easing the load on Gordon and Baron. Pleasingly, six players reached double figures with Taylor Brown topping the list with 16, closely followed by Gudaitis and Gordon with 15 each, Hannah with 14 and Giedraits and Baron rounding out the list with 12 each. For the visitors Derrick Low top scored with 12 while Osvaldas Olisevičius added 11. Rytas now have a week off before facing Lietkabelis in the next round of playoffs.
7 May 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



  Karaliaus Mindaugo Taure


Karaliaus Mindaugo Taure
The LKL (Lithuanian Basketball League) held their day of razzamatazz in Kaunas this year, showcasing the best of Lithuanian basketball.
Early expectations of the usual Zalgiris v Rytas final were upset on the Tuesday before the weekend when Utenos Juventus defeated Lietuvos Rytas in the preliminary final, eliminating the Vilnius team, and holders of the Mindaugas Cup, from the finals.
In the semi finals on Saturday Juventus could not repeat their winning run and fell to Lietkabelis, setting up an intriguing final. Lietkabelis is the only team to defeat Zalgiris twice this season, and were probably the team best placed to conjure an upset.
Zalgiris meanwhile made quick work of Vytautas taking a regulation 21 point win in the semi final.
Saturday was also the date for the slam dunk competition, and to the delight of the audience, the winner was 175 centimeter Gediminas Žitlinskas, who dazzled the gym with his hops.
On Sunday Juventus regained their composure to take the bronze medal defeating Vytautas 70 - 61 in a game that was tight throughout, with Juventus best holding their nerve and taking the third prize cheque.
The three point shooting contest was held between finals, and in another fairytale result, 37 year old Arvydas Čepulis took the title.
In the final the underdog Lietkabelis started slowly, but hit the lead late in the second quarter, only for a late Zalgiris bucket taking the home side a one point lead at the long break.
In a tough physical encounter Lietkabelis started to wane under the pressure as fatigue and foul trouble started to weigh. Zalgiris started to take control in the third quarter and put them away in the last as they rolled over the tiring visitors from Panevezys, cementing the victory 84 - 63.
For Zalgiris Brock Motum and Keven Pangos top scored with 14, while Lietkabelis was led by Ben Madgen and Simas Galdikas who added 11 each.
Edgaras Ulanovas was named MVP of the series.
19 February 2017



  Lietuvos Rytas v Khimki Drew Gordon


Lietuvos Rytas v Zenit St Petersburg
Lietuvos Rytas failed to win by the required nine points to move forward to the EuroCup playoffs. After recovering from a slow start Rytas hit the lead late in the game but failed to make the required margin and ended their international campaign for the season. A slow start was the main culprit for falling short after being 10 down at the first quarter, but the won the second stanza to enter the long break just four points adrift. Gordon started well but it was vintage Logan with 28 points on the night that almost made the dream of a playoff berth come true. Gordon added 14 points to the total, but dissapointed with just two of eight from the charity stripe. Corey Fisher was up to the task and with some late three pointers gave Rytas a chance, while Gudaitis had 11 points - all from the charity stripe and missing only one. Rokas Giedraitis also hit double digits with 11 points. The story of the night though was that Zenit was always able to answer anytime Rytas got the large home crowd off their feet and kept their adversaries at arm's length, and slowing the game at the end to ensure their own playoff dreams.
8 February 2017



  Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks Jonas Valanciunas and Mindaugas Kuzminskas


Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks
The Toronto Raptors welcomed the New York Knicks and Mindaugas Kuzminskas for a meeting on Lithuanian Heritage Day. With the Raptors on a roll and the Knicks without Porzingis, there was a worry that the game could be a blowout - and even the worst fears of the New York faithful were realised. The Raptors took control early, though New York were proving stubborn in the early stages, but then the Raptors hit top gear, keeping the visitors to just eight points in the third while they piled on 27. Valanciunas completed his third double-double in succession by half time and finished with 12 and 16, while Kuzminskas had a serviceable night with nine points. When the Raptors were ahead by 38 the starters were largely rested as New York made some ground on the hosts eventually going down 116 - 101. With a Lithuanian representative on both teams, the game was dubbed Lithuanian Heritage Day, and over 600 Canadian Lithuanians witnessed their national dancers performing before the start, a Lithuanian youth choir singing the anthems, and after the game they met with Jonas Valanciunas and Mindaugas Kuzminskas for a fun question and answer session.
15 January 2017



  Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets Jonas Valanciunas


Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets
The Toronto Raptors managed to break the back of Brooklyn in the final quarter. With both teams pretty much even coming out of the last break, a barrage of bombs led by DeRozan finally sunk the Nets. Coach Casey was able to rest most of the starters in the final term as the onslaught continued and the Raptors outscored the visitors from Brooklyn by 18 to take a 132 - 113 home win. Jonas Valanciunas posted his second double-double in succession and this time rather than being benched in the final quarter, he was rested as the bench got some court time. Jonas finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
13 January 2017



  Toronto Raptors v Boston Celtics Jonas Valanciunas


Toronto Raptors v Boston Celtics
The Toronto Raptors broke their losing streak with an important winner of their conference rivals the Boston Celtics. This time the Raptors trailed for most of the game, but in contrast to the last two games, it was the Raptors who surged home and overwhelmed the Celtics in the last quarter. DeMar DeRozan top scored with 41 and added 13 rebounds, and was the unstopable force in the final quarter whether shooting from range or taking the ball to the bucket. While DeRozan was driving, it was our boy Jonas who posted a career high 23 rebounds to go with his 18 points, and cemented the win with a couple of late blocks, including one on Isaiah Thomas when he was getting to the rim to keep the Celtics within range, also adding a tip-in and six from six foul shooting keep the Celtics from concocting a last gasp win. It was a tough game, and Coach Casey even called it a blood bath, but was proud of his charges for standing up putting an important game between themselves and the next place Celtics. When congratulated after the game Jonas said to be prepared for more to come, as he has taken his physical conditioning to the next level in hiring a personal cook to ensure he eats nothing but what's best for him, a personal trainer to take extra care of him physically and he hasn't had a drink for ages. In fact he's looking to buy new pants because most of his current wardrobe is getting to be too big.
10 January 2017



  Toronto Raptors v Houston Rockets James Harden


Toronto Raptors v Houston Rockets
The Toronto Raptors dropped their second game in as many nights, again after having a double digit lead early in the game. Following up from their overtime loss to Chicago the previous evening and arriving home at 3am, the Raptors started well and seemed in control of their home game against the Houston Rockets. Perhaps some fatigue set in after the long break, but it was Harden with a triple double that will cause any team sleepless nights as the future Hall of Famer showed his best, coming up strong in the final quarter when the game was there to be won. After the game Jonas Valanciunas said it was a very dissapointing result, and although fatigue may have been a factor, it is part of life in the NBA and you have to get used to it. Also, in reply to a tongue-in-cheek question about battling against Harden, and an occasion when the umpires took the All Star's suggestion of calling Jonas on a rare three second violation, Jonas diplomatically replied that Harden had earned his authority, and it is something they are all players are aware of and aspire to.
8 January 2017



  Chicago Bulls v Indiana Pacers Dwayne Wade


Chicago Bulls v Indiana Pacers
Chicago Bulls managed to hold back the Indiana Pacers after a late spurt by the Hoosiers. The Bulls had controlled most of the game, but some clutch shooting in the final quarter evened the scores, until the Bulls settled on the back of a Mirotic bomb to take an important home win and end a three game losing streak. Wade was at his best with 21 points while Mirotic added 20. For the visitors Aaron Brooks finished with 19 and Myles Turner 16.
26 December 2016



  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



  Lietuvos Rytas v Bilbao David Logan


Lietuvos Rytas v Alba Berlin
Lietuvos Rytas failed to cement a place in the next round of Eurocup against Alba. Also wanting to revenge their overtime loss in Berlin, Rytas started well and controlled most of the first half on the back of some excellent shooting. The seven point advantage at half time was heartening, but the worry was that Rytas was playing extremely well, yet the visitors were still so close. In the third quarter Rytas managed to wrestle a 12 point advantage, but Alba again clawed away and went into the last break just five points behind. Alba made their charge hitting shots and keeping Rytas contained as coach Pacesas kept looking for an effective combination as the visitors established an eight point advantage late in proceedings. But some late energy and belief got Rytas back into stride after a couple of three pointers hit the mark, and when Rytas cut off an inbound pass with three seconds remaining, a review of the video showed that possession was to go to Rytas, who were now just two points down. In what seemed a certainty for another Rytas-Alba overtime, Logan was fouled and was going to the line to start the extra period. While Logan would be the first choice to send to the line in such a situation, to the horror of the crowd, which had hope restored in the final minutes, the first free throw went wide, and the intentional miss on the second couldn't be rebounded for a put-back. Logan top scored with 16, but was not solely to blame for the loss as Rytas again only returned 67% from the free throw line, and missed at least four open opportunities under the bucket throughout the course of the game. Rokas Gudraitis also added 16, while Gailius had 14, Akognonas and Drew Gordonas (10 rebounds) 12 each, and Gudaitis 10.
7 December 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Bilbao David Logan


Lietuvos Rytas v Bilbao
Lietuvos Rytas finally secured a comfortable win as they controlled the contest against Bilbao from start to finish - almost. Needing to negate a four point deficit from their meeting in Spain, Rytas started well on the back of some excellent outside shooting, starting with a couple from Logan of course. Rytas led at every change but the game was not without interest as the visitors closed within two points late in the third quarter, and were within grasp of defending the four point spread late in the last. Rytas was able to answer every challenge and by maintaining dominance of the boards 39-23 they restricted any easy point output by the Spaniards. Gudaitis monstered the paint with 16 rebounds and dropped in 11 points as well as a block. Drew Gordon remained somewhat subdued after a bloody nose in the second quarter, though he still got to a double digit 10 rebounds and eight points. Logan top scored with 23, Fisher added 15 and Gailius with nine rounded out the top scorers. It was Rytas' third win in a row and goes a long way towards securing a berth in the next round with Alba and Montakit to come, all even with Rytas on three wins apiece.
30 November 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Khimki Drew Gordon


Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris
Lietuvos Rytas fell into old habits as they failed to wrestle outright leadership of the LKL in Kaunas. Again, the start was a problem as the better defence of Zalgiris forced the visitors into attacking predominantly from range, and when the shots weren't dropping, they again dug themselves into an early hole. Zalgiris were hot from range hitting 12 from 18 treys up to the half and were 21 point leaders at the long break. Rytas finally adapted to the defence and started to take the ball inside and managed to get within 8 late in the final quarter. This time it was foul shooting that let them down. In the crucial final minutes they missed five frees in a row and robbed themselves of any opportunity to put real pressure on the hosts. New boy Josh Akogon did well, though fouling out in the fourth hurt the team. Gudaitis finally showed some touch against his former team, David Logan was held for probably the first time this season, and despite top scoring with 14 and pulling down 15 boards for his customary double double, Gordon was also held in check. Gudaitis added 13 along with 3 blocks and Fisher popped a dozen.
27 November 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Khimki Drew Gordon


Lietuvos Rytas v Khimki
Lietuvos Rytas finally got some basketball luck as Logan hit a buzzer beater to notch up an improbable win over Khimki. Rytas prepared well for the matchup against the group leaders and scores were close throughout the high scoring encounter. Gudaitis was having a massive game controlling the boards and finished with 15 rebounds and, officially, 3 blocks, though his intimidation under the basket detered a lot more shots. Gudaitis also added 12 points. In a reverse of roles this time Gordon top scored with 21 and 'only' 5 rebounds, and Gailius dropped 12 in an even team effort that had been largely lacking up to this point in the season. Proving once again a match-winner, Logan had a modest evening finishing with 'only' 16, but despite going two from ten from beyond the arc, it was he who hit the buzzer beater with scores tied at 91 and bringing the packed house at Siemens to its feet.
16 November 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Dzukija Drew Gordon


Lietuvos Rytas v Dzukija
Lietuvos Rytas made hard work of putting away Dzukija, and it wasn't until the final quarter that the home team finally took the lead. With Logan sitting this one out, Fisher and Broadus were getting good court time, but in the first half the offence was mainly coming from range, but the shots weren't dropping. Gordon was again in tremendous touch, this time adding points to his usual swag of rebounds and he finished top scoring with 19 and 10. Broadus was also given latitude and while the shots weren't dropping early he was the only other scorer in double figures with 15. Rytas finally got back on track when they started playing inside in the second half and finally hit the lead in the fourth after Gordon evened the score with back-to-back dunks, the first of which was an impressive reverse ally-oop. Rytas finally took control and finished 11 the better of the boys from Dzukija. It seemed a grim celebration of Pacesas birthday, but the usually expressive coach conceded in the post-match press conference that the players had been training hard for the upcoming encounter with Khimki, and fatigue may have played a factor.
11 November 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Montakit David Logan


Lietuvos Rytas v Montakit
Lietuvos Rytas finally hit form and sank some shots in their first home Eurocup game. After a bit of a struggle early in the first quarter, Rytas had a 30 - 16 lead at the first break, and were able to control the game from then on. Logan was again the main weapon and ended up with 27 on the night, but this time he had plenty of help from Gudaitis, Giedraitis and Broadus who hit 17, 16 and 11 respectively. While the game is easy when your shots are sinking it was also the Rytas rebounding which allowed them to control the game and they dominated the boards 48 - 30, with Drew Gordon again controlling the catagory with 13 and Gudaitis completed his double double with 11. It was a solid all-round effort on the night with every player that got on the floor contributing, with Broadus especially prevalent in finding his place on the team as well as some good form.
8 November 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Pieno Zvaigzdes Rokas Giedraitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Pieno Zvaigzdes
Lietuvos Rytas had an easy game for a change against Pieno Zvaigzdes, putting the visitors away 94 - 57 on their home court. Rytas led by double digits from the first quarter and gave former captain Stepas Babrauskas and the team from Prienai no chance of concocting a fairytale win. With intrigue effectively sidelined early in the game some late interest was added when some of the bench got extended minutes, with Pilauskas getting more than 12 minutes on court and hitting two of three triples and gathering four rebounds in that time. Rokas Giedraitis top scored with 21, followed by Gudaitis with 16 and Gailius with 14. Stepas top scored for Pieno Zvaigzdes with 14.
5 November 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Alba Berlin Corey Fisher


Lietuvos Rytas v Alba Berlin
It took a double overtime to split the teams, but Alba came up trumps on the night. Rytas started well for a change and even led at the first break, and were down just a few at the half. Fisher was one of the main reasons Rytas output was improved and he shared the scoring honours with Logan and Deividas Gailius, all with 23 each. In fact Rytas had six players in double digits, with Gordon adding 15 rebounds to his 16 points. But as is always the case, when it comes to overtime you need some luck as well as good management, and this time fortune smiled on Alba, hitting a couple of late threes and having the result cemented by a Kikanovic dunk, as he finished with 33 for the Germans.
2 November 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Bilbao Drew Gordon


Lietuvos Rytas v Bilbao
Lietuvos Rytas fell just short of picking up an away win in their second Eurocup encounter against Bilbao Basket. Rytas got off to a sluggish start, hitting a couple of early shots, but then just lacking consistent scoring. Logan kept Rytas within reach and the half-time deficit was eight points. Poor foul shooting was one of the reasons Rytas couldn't bridge the gap, and in the second half a more consistent team effort lifted the visitors to a much more competative level. Gordon, Gudaitis and Jomantas helped in the scoring duties and after winning the third quarter by five, Rytas took the lead late in the game. A point down with some six seconds on the clock, Gordon had a ten foot floater for the win, but a monster reject by Michael Eric turned the game in the favour of the hosts and they sunk the ensuing free throws to win by four. The only question is was Gordon's shot on the way down when Eric got the swat?
26 October 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Siauliai Drew Gordon


Lietuvos Rytas v Siauliai
Lietuvos Rytas overcame a determined Siauliai to take their sixth win of the LKL season. Siauliai came out fighting, and with David Logan getting a well earned rest, the visitors from sun city came out strong and led by two at the end of the first quarter. Rytas was giving everyone a run but couldn't find a reliable combination on court, but managed to take a seven point advantage into the long break. Drew Gordon continued his good form top scoring on the night with 25 and pulling down 11 rebounds as well showing off some fancy new dribbling skills. Gailius added 13, but still wasn't firing on all cylinders, while Arturas Gudaitis showed glimpses of his best form but did not impose himself on the game as he did against Zalgiris. With nothing to lose the visitors gave it their all and were hot from beyond the arc hitting 43% for the evening. Rytas was eventually able to settle and held a handy lead going into the final minutes. This allowed Pacesas to play not only Aistis Pilauskas, but also Arsenas Sarkisianc, a long time fan who was made an honarary player on the day.
15 October 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris Rashaun Broadus


Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris
Lietuvos Rytas fell to Zalgiris on their home court in Vilnius. The Zalgiris defence was able to curtail the output of the two Davids, with Logan and Gailius being held to more moderate numbers on the night. Rytas held a slim margin at the long break, but the third term saw Zalgiris come out blazing and end the stanza with a 10 point lead. With Rytas' big guns being held, it was Jucikas who surprised on the night and looking to score from the moment he stepped onto the court. Broadus also had a good night and looks like he might be extending his contract after coach Pacesa singled him out for praise in the post match press conference. Broadus and Jucikas top scored with 13 each, while Logan managed to scrape 12 together, but overall it might have been as much Zalgiris and their better defence, as well as some lack of belief by the home team that saw the victory head to Kaunas.
8 October 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis David Logan


Lietuvos Rytas v Lietkabelis
Lietuvos Rytas overcame a determined Lietkabelis to remain the only undefeated team in the early part of the LKL season. With Lietkabelis having three players who made the switch from Rytas last season, there was sure to be a hard fought encounter with a lot of personal pride on the line, and so it proved. All eyes were on Logan, and despite plenty of close attention he still managed to drop 22 points to again prove the lifeline of the Rytas machine. Both teams took turns in winning quarters as first Lietkabelis won the first by six, Rytas took the second by 12, with Lietkabelis taking the third by six to start the final term even. It was a tense final term as both teams took turns in gathering momentum, but Rytas seemd to have the edge and with equal amounts of luck and good management, finally proved victorious 68 - 66. Gailius added 21 points and seemed to have a licence to shoot, while Gordon continued his strong showing with 11 points and 9 rebounds.
28 September 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Nevezis David Logan


Lietuvos Rytas v Nevezis
Lietuvos Rytas opened their LKL season with a solid win over Nevezis. Scores were reasonably close throughout the first half and the Vilnius team went into the long break just seven the better of their less fancied opponents. It was the Logan show in the third quarter that broke Rytas free from their rivals as in just five minutes Logan went on a 13 point shooting spree. Rytas was able to then steady and maintain the best part of a 20 point advantage for the remainder of the game. Logan top scored with 32 along with 7 assists and a rather impressive reverse two handed dunk on a break. Next best in the scoring department was Gailius, who with 10 points was the only other player in double digits. Pacesas turned up to the press conference this time, and said they were happy enough with the win, but had a lot more work ahead of them.
21 September 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas Drew Gordon


Lietuvos Rytas v Neptunas
Lietuvos Rytas fell to Neptunas in the final game of the V. Garastas Cup, finishing runners-up in their final pre-season game. With both teams a little slow to start, it was the second quarter that made the difference as Neptunas got hot and went into the long break with an 11 point lead. Just as Rytas was unable to stop the Neptunas scoring spurt in the second, they were equally incapable of bridging the gap for the rest of the game. A number of times they inched closer, but seemed to miss the vital shot or failed to extend to a scoring run that might have got the margin into single digits. Rytas seemed overly reliant on three pointers early, and with Gudaitis unable to reproduce his earlier form, Kadji was the go-to guy on the low post. Gailius tried hard, but the harder he tried the worse things went. Drew Gordon stepped up and top scored with 18, followed by Kadji on 14 and Logan with 13.
18 September 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Avtodor David Logan


Lietuvos Rytas v Avtodor
Lietuvos Rytas took their second win in the V. Garastas Trophy held in Klaipeda, Lithuania, with a solid win against Avtodor Saratov. Rytas trailed for much of the first half, but managed to head into the long break with a single point advantage 40 - 39. Logan was hot and hit 8 of 13 from beyond the arc and finished with 30 points along with 7 assists. Gudaitis was dominating the paint and added 21 of his own, while Giedraitis added spark with 16. Rytas next meet Neptunas in a game which should decide the tournament winner and get their last hit-out before the regular LKF season starts next week.
17 September 2016



  Lithuania v Spain Kariniauskas Valanciunas


Lietuva v Spain
Lithuania answered the call, and took out Spain twice in a row - home and away. Sure, they were practice matches, but especially at home, Spain were wanting a win. Lithuania started the game in Malaga badly, and were down double digits in the first quarter, and there were worries that we might be witnessing a blow-out. The Spaniards were hitting everything, while Lithuania's points were hard fought and hard to find. Lithuania started to find a bit of rhythm and gradually started to get back into the contest as even Navarro threw up an air-ball. By the half it was even. Both teams were still experimenting to a certain degree and were reluctant to show their hands, but as the second half continued, Lithuania managed to maintain control and hold a slender margin. In the final quarter the home team made a move, but it was the calm and presence of our youngsters Grigonis and Kariniauskas that largely helped steady the ship and ensure a sweet victory against Spain.
21 July 2016



  Lithuania v Belarus Domantas Sabonis


Lietuva v Belarus
Lithuania wrapped up the Renault Cup after defeating Belarus 84 - 51 in Kedainiai. Mindaugas Kuzminskas top-scored with 14 while Domantas Sabonis and Vaidas Kariniauskas added 11 each, while Sabonis ripped down 13 boards as well. Artūras Milaknis finally found some rhythm from range and along with Robertas Javtokas they were good for 9 each. Lithuania next face Spain in Kaunas in what will be their first real test of this campaign.
14 July 2016



  Lithuania v Netherlands Jonas Valanciunas


Lietuva v Netherlands
Lithuania notched up another regulation victory in their preparation for Rio. In front of a packed house in Alytus, the home team duly dispatched their less fancied rivals and controlled the game from the outset. Coach Kazlauskas admitted he allowed himself some experimentation and despite the easy win, was not fully pleased with some aspects of play. Domantas Sabonis took the opportunity to lead a smaller line-up at times and responded with 12 rebounds. Jonas Valanciunas again top scored with 16, while the only other player in double figures was Paulius Jankunas, who added a quiet 10 to the total. Still, every player registered points in one of the last few opportunities to impress the coach before the team for Rio is finalised.
10 July 2016



  Lithuania v Venezuela Adas Juskevicius


Lietuva v Venezuela
Lithuania easily accounted for Venezuela in their latest friendly in preparation for the Rio Olympics. More was expected from the recently crowned South American champions, but Lithuania continued their hot shooting from range to establish an early lead that they simply built upon for the rest of the game. Jonas Valanciunas added 14 in his first foray in national colours this year, while Grigonis continued his great early form chipping in with 13. Adas Juskevicius top scored with 15 going an incredible 5 from 5 from range. The biggest concern for the national team is to try to get some games when they are not shooting so well so they can test their mettle in a more grueling encounter. During the game Lithuanian fans were able to greet the Lithuanian under 17 team which recently took bronze at the World Championships, and at half time they were introduced to winners of the Sprite 1x1 competition that was held throughout Lithuania.
10 July 2016



  Lithuania v Tunisia Antanas Kavaliauskas


Lietuva v Tunisia
Lithuania took on the basketball might of Tunisia as part of their preparations for the Rio Olympics. Tunisia was out to prove that they are within reach of world standard, but an undermanned Lithuania got hot in the third quarter and blew the visitors away. Juskevicius hit three threes in a row on four of five for the night and top scored with 17. The youngsters chipped in again, with Grigonis adding 12 and Ulanovas 10, while Kuzminskas added a flashy 12. There were still too many mistakes on the night and some sloppy defence went unpunished, but probably the most inspiring sight of the night was our bench; with Valanciunas finally joining the team along with Kalnietis, Jankunas, Sabonis and Maciulis still on the way, we seem to have plenty in reserve.
1 July 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



  Lithuania v New Zealand Mindaugas Girdziunas


Lietuva v New Zealand
Lithuania had its first hit-out in their Rio preparations meeting New Zealand in Klaipeda. New Zealand had been in camp a lot longer, readying for their Olympic qualifier in the next week, so a tough encounter was forecast. Basically Lithuania managed to control the game with good shooting. Lithuania was fielding a number of youngsters who took their opportunities in both hands, as Girdziunas and Ulanovas, wearing national colours for the first time, equal top-scored with 16 apiece, while a third debutante - Grigonis - added 11. There was also some hope that Girdziunas might be our point guard in waiting. With Valanciunas, Jankunas, Kalnietis and Maciulis yet to join the squad, there is reason for optimism as the team, aside from nice shooting touch, which can be elusive, also showed admirable spirit and cohesion which was surprising so early in a campaign.
29 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



  Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris Antanas Kavaliauskas Mindaugas Cup


Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris, Mindaugas Cup
Lietuvos Rytas finally break their championship drought with a comprehensive 10 point win over arch rivals Zalgiris. Rytas controlled the contest from the outset, though never getting too far ahead and the first quarter ending 20 - 17. Rytas had added another three points to their lead at the half, but the contest took a decidedly defensive twist as the scores for the second quarter were 9 - 6, with Seibutis the only Zalgiris player to score for the term. As the second half unfolded it became clear it was to be Rytas' day, with Kavaliauskas proving the difference. Showing nice touch from range, it was a turnaround fade-away baseline jumper that proved it was to be his day and he was ready and willing to lead the way in making the first addition to the Rytas trophy cabinet in many a year.
21 February 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



  Lietuvos Rytas v Siauliai Adas Juskevicius


Lietuvos Rytas v Siauliai
Rytas started slowly, but managed to gain control of their home game against Siauliai and show the visitors a clean pair of heals with a 21 point win. Lietuvos Rytas' newest recruit Denys Lukashov started at point and showed promise. While Siauliai stayed close for the first half, Rytas managed to pull away on the back of some inspired three point shooting by Adas Juskevicius who hit six of seven from beyond the arc and top scored with 22. In fact Adas was the only Rytas player in double digits, though every Rytas player made a mark on the scoresheet. Lapeta added nine points to his nine rebounds and three blocks as Rytas had a nice hit-out before next weeks' Mindaugas Cup.
15 February 2016



  Lietuvos Rytas v Vytautas Rokas Giedraitis


Lietuvos Rytas v Vytautas
Rytas finally overcame a stubborn Vytautas to defend their home court and take a nine point win over the team from Birstonas, now trained by former Rytas coach Seskus. Pacesas, still new at the helm said he was hoping for a relaxing afternoon, but with the home team trailling the whole of the first half, it was business as usual as both coaches showed their trademark emotions in a close and exciting encounter. Rytas was able to steady after the long break and gradually build a lead, with Vytautas continually biting at their heals and not letting their more fancied rivals establish a winning margin. Seskus junior gave the visitors some late hope with a couple of well-timed three pointers, but Rytas again steadied and took out the match. Orelikas top scored with 21, while Kavaliauskas and Giedraitis added 16 each.
23 January 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



  Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris Lavrinovic


Lietuvos Rytas v Juventus
New coach Arvydas Gronskis had a tough welcome to his new job at Lietuvos Rytas after a single point win against Juventus in the LKL. Playing in fits and spurts, Rytas were up to 16 points ahead at one stage, but Juventus always found a way to get back into the game. Adding to his woes, Gronskis was also easing his centres back into the game, with Kavaliauskas and Gudaitis returning from injury. Despite having their third coach for the season, the problems remain the same - defence and errors. At times it seemed that Juventus could amble into the key whenever they liked to score points completely unopposed. The error count contributed and when the visitors from Utena hit a couple of three pointers, the game became a battle of nerves as each team was successively sent to the free throw line. Rytas held their nerve and calmly slotted their charity throws, and it was a three pointer by Juventus on the buzzer that closed the gap to 83 - 82.
5 December 2015



  Lithuania v Slovenia Eglė Šulčiūtė


Lithuania v Slovenia, Women's Qualifying Series
Lithuania again failed to fire in their qualifier against Slovenia. In front of a large home crowd in Kedainai the Slovenians surprised Lithuania and emerged 9 point the better after a tough encounter. Lithuania were again high in the error count, and coach Samulėnas also noted basic errors in play and judgement all contributing to the loss. Lithuania again let go a hefty lead after being up 42 - 27 before a 15 - 0 run put the home team in a panic that they never recovered from. Eglė Šulčiūtė with 16 points was the best of the Lithuanians, while Gabrielė Gutkauskaitė added 11 and Kamilė Nacickaitė 10.
25 November 2015



  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



  Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris Lavrinovic


Lietuvos Rytas v Žalgiris
Despite a new coach and a greater team desire, Žalgiris once again proved the better of Rytas. Aurimas Jasilionis took over the reins of Rytas recently and an upset away win in Eurocup had most fans dreaming of a victory in the local derby as well. While Rytas was able to establish an advantage early in the first quarter, Žalgiris put on a 15 - 2 spurt that saw them 10 points up at the end of the first term. Essentially Žalgiris was able to control the margin for the remainder of the game, though Rytas showed renewed desire and were able to establish a 61 - 64 scoreline before Žalgiris steadied the ship to claim a 68 - 82 victory. Despite the loss, the Rytas camp was more positive than under Nicola, and keeping in mind that Kavaliauskas, Gudaitis and Gailius were returning from injury, the signs do seem positive. Lavrinovičius top scored for Rytas with 16, while Jucikas added 12 and Laprovittola 10.
22 November 2015



  Lithuania v Latvia, Women's Qualifying Series Kamilė Nacickaitė


Lithuania v Latvia, Women's Qualifying Series
Lithuania fell three points short of defeating Latvia in their latest qualifying game for the 2016 European Championships. Despite leading 17 - 4 in the first quarter, Lithuania started to rack up the errors from then on the Latvians rode the wave of a packed home court to overcome the visitors and lead by half time. Latvia maintained an advantage for most of the second half before a Lithuanian revival saw them briefly grab the lead before the final siren, only to lose their initiative, again to a series of errors. Kamilė Nacickaitė was the leading scorer for Lithuania with 14 Eglė Šulčiūtė and Santa Okockytė added 11 each.
21 November 2015



  Lietuvos Rytas v Zenit St Petersburg


Lietuvos Rytas v Zenit St Petersburg
Lietuvos Rytas continued the recent scenario of only starting to play once they are 20 or so in arrears. Again, they started reasonably until the visitors broke away late in the first half hitting a volley of unguarded points. As usual Rytas came out more determined in the second half and this time even took the lead late in the final quarter, only to see the visitors once again hit the front and control the final phases of the encounter. Rytas have shown every week that they can play, but unfortunately not for the full 40 minutes and pressure continues to build on the team to find a way out of this serious early-season slump.
28 October 2015



  Lietuvos Rytas v Avtodar, Eurocup NICOLA MARCELO


Lietuvos Rytas v Avtodor
Lietuvos Rytas notched up their second home loss in Eurocup to Avtodor. The lacklustre performance sent the rumour mill into a frenzy suggesting that it might be time for a coaching change, though no announcement was forthcoming. Rytas started the game well enough as both teams shot a high percentage in the first half, and Rytas held an advantage of eight points late in the second quarter. But that was as good as it got. In an 11 minute spree both sides of the long break, Avtodor went on a 38-11 run that put an end to any thought of a Rytas victory. The visitors were hitting everything and the hosts were getting frustrated as every bounce favoured the Russian guests who just went from hot to hotter. Rytas clawed back to within single digits in the last quarter but Avotor managed to halt the run and ended up 16 point victors in Vilnius.
28 October 2015



  Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris N.Laprovittola


Lietuvos Rytas v Zalgiris
Zalgiris took the honours in the first LKL marquee match-up of the 2015-16 season in Kaunas. The home team got away early, but Rytas managed to level the ledger at 27 each in the first half before Zalgiris put on a spurt with the help of Ulanovas and headed to the long break with a 33-46 lead. The second half continued in the same vein until Zalgiris got 19 points ahead, at which point Rytas started to play with more desire and effort. Rytas managed to get the deficit down to lower single digits towards the end, but Zalgiris was able to find the answers and the effort of playing catch-up basketball eventually wore out the late Rytas' surge and the visitors were probably flattered by the nine point final margin.
25 October 2015



  Lietuvos Rytas v Besiktas Antanas Kavaliauskas


Lietuvos Rytas v Nevezis
Lietuvos Rytas reached 116 points in pushing aside Nevezis. With a number of players coming back from injury Nicola had the luxury of resting his starters and running the rest of the team into a bit of form. Most impressive was Arturas Gudaitis who finished with 28 points and give the ring a real shake throughout the evening. Gailius and Runkauskas got some touch as well as they restricted their visitors to just 54 points as they go 5 - 0 in LKL.
17 October 2015



  Lietuvos Rytas v Besiktas Antanas Kavaliauskas


Lietuvos Rytas v Besiktas
Lietuvos Rytas had a tough assignment as their first test in Eurocup 2015-16 meeting group favourite Besiktas at home in Vilnius. Besiktas hit everything in the first half and took a 19 point advantage into the locker room at the long break. Rytas steadily chipped away at the lead, and with a few minutes to go were withing three points, but Besiktas always found the answer and managed to hold on and take a four point road win.
15 October 2015



  Town Hall Reception Vilnius Mens basketball team Eurobasket 2015


Town Hall Reception
No Lithuanian National Basketball Team can sneak home after winning a silver medal at the European Championships, so it was straight off the plane and onto a bus to attend a civic reception at the Vilnius Town Hall. Don't know how many thousands of people were gathered there to greet their heroes, but it was lots. A fun and friendly ocassion as the team recieved the mandatory thank-you cheques, a bit of politicking, singing and the players launched signed basketballs into the crowd. JV got stuck in a sea of fans and had trouble getting to the luncheon private luncheon orgainised at the end of the show, but it was all in good humour and to the joy of those thousands of fans who chased him up and down the street.
21 September 2015



  Lithuania v Spain Eurobasket 2015 Lille


Lithuania v Spain
It wasn't to be. Sadly, Lithuania played their worst game of the tournament and Spain one of their best to make a fairly one-sided final. Although Lithuania managed to get the defecit below double digits a few times, Spain essentially got away early and no matter how hard we tried, we just couldn't catch up. Whenever Lithuania managed some sort of mini-spurt, the Spaniards would answer straight away with a three pointer or dunk of their own. And it seemed the harder we tried, the worse things went. Just one of those nights. Congratulations to Spain and Pau Gasol in winning the gold medal. For Eurobasket 2015 ours is silver.
20 September 2015



  Lithuania v Italy Eurobasket 2015 Lille


Lithuania v Serbia
Serbia started hot favourites, but Lithuania controlled the game for most of the evening. More a defensive stoush than a pretty game, the war of attrition finally fell to the favour of the Lithuanians. With five players on four fouls Lithuania held on grimly against a strong opponent that refused to lay down, as Teodosic hit a miraculous three pointer in the dying minute to halt any premature Lithuanian celebrations. Still, Lithuania held on and with solid defence and assured foul shooting, they hung in to take a historic win and head to the gold medal game against Spain.
18 September 2015



  Lithuania v Italy Eurobasket 2015 Lille


Lithuania v Italy
The experts said we were no chance, but grit and determination won a tough game. Lithuania finally found the teamwork and cohesion that had been missing for most of the current campaign, though running a limited roster, to outlast the more fancied Italians. It was two teams playing well, going into overtime and finally Lithuania were triumphant. After the game the Italian coach complained that Lithuania played a dirty game, but from where I sat they gave as good as they got, and there was no personal malice in the game. Oh how sweet it is..
16 September 2015



  Lithuania v Georgia - the fans


Lithuania v Georgia - the fans
A look at some of the many gathered fans that came to watch the Lithuania v Georgia game. It was a big commitment as the heavens openned up and tickets to the courtside seats were some €86 each, but finally, they were rewarded.
13 September 2015



  Lithuania v Czech Republic Eurobasket 2015 Riga


Lithuania v Georgia
Lithuania once again proved that winning isn't easy and only managed to overcome Georgia in the final minutes of an intense game that had eight lead changes and four ties. This time Georgia stayed with Lithuania all game and neither team was ever able to establish a double digit lead. Maciulis was the difference and undisputed hero of the night dropping 34 points, with 6 rebounds, 4 steals, 9/9 free throws and 2 blocked shots in a marathon 37.39 minutes of on-court action. Jankunas pitched in with 17 of his own and Kalnietis added 11.
13 September 2015



  Lithuania v Czech Republic Eurobasket 2015 Riga


Lithuania v Czek Republic
In a game with everything, Lithuania managed to finally subdue the Czech Republic in overtime as each team's fate see-sawed throughout the full 40 minutes - and then some. Again, Lithuania seemed to be able to establish significant leads only to see the opposition claw their way back each time, until the siren sounded with the scores tied at full time. Valanciunas got out of his sick bed to make the game and proved influential, though again it was the determination of Maciulis and some much needed input from Kuzminskas with 18 and Milaknis 13, that got us home. Kalnietis also added 15 from 6 of 21 shots taken. Still, Lithuania top Group D, and you can't do more than that.
10 September 2015



  Lithuania v Belgium Eurobasket 2015


Lithuania v Estonia
What a night it was. Down most of the final quarter, Lithuania, through the dogged determination of Jonas Maciulis, pulled out a two point win against Baltic minnow Estonia. With Valanciunas bedbound with a virus the Lithuanian team lacked cohesion, and pulled a couple of double digit leads, but then successive scoring droughts saw the Estonians claw their way back. Kazlauskas kept juggling the lineup and towards the very end of the last quarter we finally regained parity. Then a Maciulis rebound and a coast-to-coaster gave us the two points to finally hit the lead. Estonia still had two and a bit seconds to even or get ahead, but this time our defence did the job. A strangely unsatisfying victory.
9 September 2015



  Lithuania v Belgium Eurobasket 2015


Lithuania v Belgium
Not only have Belgium been instrumental in mucking up the European Union, they have taken their meddling one step further and decided to play havoc with Lithuanian basketball ambitions as well. A two point loss to the minnows of European basketball was simply not in the script, especially after Lithuania had so admirably accounted for Latvia the previous day. Lithuania started well and were up by 13 in the first half, but then faltered. Still, Lithuania got ahead by six late in the game, only to see a couple of three pointers cut short the premature celebrations. Even then, with the chance to hold the ball to the end, Kalnietis shot and missed a three pointer with 4.8 seconds to go, the Belgians got the rebound and a dubious two pointer was allowed after extensive review. We don't blame Mantas for the loss - we blame the umpires!!!
6 September 2015



  Lithuania v Latvia fashions


Lithuania v Latvia Pre Game
The derby, neighbour against neighbour, brother against brother as two frielndly countries come together to sort it out on the timber basketball courts. The fans have often been referred to as the sixth player that can lift a team above and beyond their usual capabilities. In Lithuania much of this is done as much by numbers, drums, chants, and fashion. Both team wear their colours with pride and try to outdo each other as much in the fashion stakes as under the rim.
6 September 2015



  Jonas Maciulis Lithuanian basketball team Riga


Lithuania v Latvia
While on paper Lithuania look the stronger side, it's a fact that when you play your neighbours on their home turf it becomes an even playing field. Latvia has shocked Lithuania a few times in their basketball history and Lithuania are loathe to let it happen again. Latvia up by a couple at the first break and still down a point at half time. Lithuania finally got going in the third and got useful minutes from the bench as Kalnietis came back to some touch with 12 points. Maciulis was his best bulldog self today and made a number of clutch baskets in his 13, as Valanciunas top scored again with 15.
6 September 2015



  Lithuanian fans Eurobasket 2015 Riga Lithuania v Ukraine


Pre Game Lithuania v Ukraine
A major asset of the Lithuanian National Men's Basketball team are the fans. As passionate and committed as the players, any time the green and gold hit the court you can be sure they'll be buoyed on by the significant army of supporters that have followed them around the globe, from Sweden, Tokyo, Sydney, Venezuela, Slovenia and any other tournament that they might be involved in. Some people are happy to put on a t-shirt, but others go to extaordinary lengths to carry their national colours.
5 September 2015



  windsurfing egle ciuzaite gran canaria


Lithuania v Ukraine
In the first game of EuroBasket 2015, Lithuania overcame a stubborn Ukraine by just a single point. Lithuania started strong favourites in the game and in the group, but failed to take advantage of double digit leads a number of times during the encounter. In the end they were able to hold off a determined opponent led byJankunas top scoring with 22, followed by Valanciunas with 19. Too much individual play was Kazlausko muted assessment.
5 September 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



  Chivas Girls Lithuanian Golf Open


The Chivas Girls
I was photographing the Lithuanian Golf Open back in 2010 and the lady from Chivas asked if I'd take some photos of her girls as well, so I grudgingly agreed. These have sat on the server for all these years until I found them a few weeks ago. It was a horrible situation; furious backlighting on a bridge so couldn't get to the other side, everyone squinting, hard to see in the viewfinder and on the rear screen, and just straight out tired and sunburnt after shooting golf for the previous 8 hours. Also discovered that backlighting can be great, but you really have to comb your hair.
15 August 2010



  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



  australia basketball


Australia v Slovenia
Over in Turkey watching the FIBA World Basketball Championships and photographing for LiTnews. Came in early today to have a look at the Australians play, but sadly was not much of a day for the aussies. Australia didn't have that good a day, but Slovenia were absolutely hot, hitting 50% from beyond the arc and playing tough defence the boys from downunder just couldn't get over.
5 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 rudupis basketball


Lietuvos Rytas v Rūdupis
I love to shoot basketball, and get to every Lietuvos Rytas home game. This time I went to an away tie against Rūdupis in Prienai. Quite a contrast between the 10,000 seat arena at Siemens in Vilnius, and a great showcase for the grass roots of basketball in Lithuania.
30 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.