Archive for Homepage Picture

New banner & photo for winter

With the recent disruptions, I took the opportunity to try a new blog theme. Unfortunately, the header pictures I’ve had were not large enough for the job. So, again I took the opportunity (read, “wasted more time”) to (re)make my winter theme banner. To make it, I’ve added a bit of grunge to the corners, and an icy shade of white, added some opacity, and a couple of flakes. Hopefully you won’t feel too chilled looking at it… unless your in the southern hemisphere… This image, and others like it are available in the Shirakawa Gallery at my PhotoShelter portfolio, and at my agent.

Internet censorship

The homepage overlay and badge is from the cartoonically named Internet Defence League.

As you may know, being an English speaker in Japan, my main and almost only tangible contact with the Anglophone world is via the internet. How else does one keep a healthy state of mind and remain up to date? So, personally and professionally speaking, freedom on the internet is vital for me and the millions of expats from all countries all around the world. Threats to internet freedom is sure to have a stifling affect. Worse still, any such legislation created in the US will affect

  1. Americans
  2. Everyone else
  3. People who do not live in America
  4. People who have never been to America
  5. People who cannot vote in American elections, and cannot (and shouldn’t) affect American policy.

So, the gist of CISPA is that your browsing and internet information (things you do, and info you leave on websites) can be shared with American government agencies. Who as access? It’s a long list, the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice Presidents Children, the Forest Service, J-2 Intelligence, West Point Military Academy, (ironically) Office for Civil Rights, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and lots more (EFF, Under CISPA). What can you do? Go to the website and show your opposition to the planned legislation, even if you’re not American.

Stop internet censorship

Stop internet censorship

11th March Anniversary

In commemoration of the 11th March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, the homepage slide show gallery was changed to the Nuclear Spring gallery. The collection is so called because of reference to Nuclear Winter and the historic book called Silent Spring.

Nuclear Spring Collection – Images by Andrew Blyth

PhotoShelter Downtime


PhotoShelter is the host of about half of my portfolio (Asia Photo Connection is my agent and shows the other half of my photo library). The planned system upgrade, and site downtime, was originally scheduled for last week, but Hurricane Sandy had that postponed.


The upgrade and site downtime will now be:

START: 11:00 PM EST 9-NOV-2012
END: 05:00 AM EST 10-NOV-2012
(US Eastern Standard Time – GMT-05:00)

Duration: 6 hours

(Info from PhotoShelter email, 8th Nov 2012)

Which translates to:

Start: 9th Nov 11pm New York time = 10th Nov 1pm Tokyo time = 10th Nov 4am GMT

Finish: 10th Nov 5am New York time = 10th Nov 7pm Tokyo time = 10th Nov 10am GMT

(info from:

Services Affected:

  • Many pictures shown on this site
  • links and portfolio
  • All art images (including images currently on display at the Foreign Artists Exhibition)
  • Print, product, and download services
  • Galleries displayed here
  • And perhaps more services

What to do

Just come back later if the PhotoShelter services are not currently working. I apologise for the inconvenience.

Announcement of website maintenance

Announcement of website maintenance

Site Maintenance


(25th March) Following the updates (see below), there are some inevitable bugs that need some sorting out. Most of these should be sorted in the next week or so.

Original notice:

I received this e-mail from the host of my PhotoShelter portfolio:

Dear PhotoShelter Member,

This is a final reminder to help you prepare for the full system downtime and major feature upgrades coming on March 24. We’re all really excited to bring you the first phase of a brand new PhotoShelter, and it kicks off this weekend. …

Planned Downtime:
The following is the official time window for the planned system downtime:

        Date: Saturday, 24 March 2012
        Summary: PhotoShelter System Upgrade – Full Site Downtime

        Duration: 8 hours

        START: 12:01 AM EDT 24-MAR-2012
        END: 08:00 AM EDT 24-MAR-2012
        (US Eastern Daylight Time; UTC-04:00)


Announcement of website maintenance

Announcement of website maintenance

Foreign Artists Exhibition 2011

I’ll be entering some of the Poem of a Cacophonous City images in this year’s Foreign Artists Exhibition (FAE) to be held at the Nagoya International Centre, 1st to 6th November. Please come and see what I think embodies the poem. The images are available for purchase as prints and products (including mugs, mouse pads, and more) see the gallery here.

Information about the Poem of a Cacophonous City exhibition

Information about the Poem of a Cacophonous City exhibition

Tohoku Earthquake Resources

I’ve added some resources I consider to important to the homepage. These have been essential for me on Friday and over these first few days. I hope they are useful for you too.

Homepage slideshow

Just a quick message. For a while I’m trying out using a slideshow on the homepage instead of a static picture. The slideshow allows you to get a preview of some key updates to my PhotoShelter account.

Slideshows look great, but don’t pop up instantly. Slideshows are more interesting, but Apple doesn’t like them on their toys. So I’m seeing how it goes. See it at

Homepage picture: Kuwana City Ishidori

The current homepage picture was taken in the Kuwana City Ishidori. “Ishidori” literally means ‘stone-bringing’ festival. It’s an all weekend Shinto religious festival held annually in Kuwana City in mid summer at night.A man marks his town's portable shrine cordon in a crowd of onlo

It’s history is a little uncertain, but probably dates back about two or three hundred years. Each town or ward in Kuwana City has a portable shrine. Each portable shrine has a large drum and Japanese style cymbals. They beat out a traditional rhythm non-stop, for the entire duration of the procession, lasting for about six hours on Saturday and Sunday evenings. They follow a set route around the town. This route can vary from year to year, as it is said that it is lucky for the businesses to have the festival pass by their shop fronts. So, in consideration of these businesses, the route is varied each year. Along the route there are intersections, where there can be four portable shrines that meet. In concert with each other they would play the traditional drum and cymbal rhythm with extra energy and zest. This can last for up to 10 minutes, before they quieten down slightly, and move on, allowing the next shrines behind to have their moot. The Kuwana City festival is said to be the loudest in Japan.

Eventually, at somepoint in the night, they portable shrines make their way to a local Shinto shrine and hand over a white stone. These stones were previously gathered from a nearby river perhaps some weeks before hand. It is uncertain as to why the Kuwana City festival is unique in that they bring white stones to the shrine, instead of rice-balls, which is the norm in other places in Japan. It is thought by a local high school teacher and Ishidori enthusiast, that at one time rice might have been quite scarce, and the local people might not have been able to bring their annual rice-ball offerings to the shrine. So, it is possible that white stones were accepted in place of rice-balls.

Once these portable shrines make their way to the front of the Shinto shrine, they perform the drum and cymbal rhythm in earnest for the Shinto priests. Once the priests are satisfied, they give their blessings to that town or ward which is represented by the portable shrine.

I have many photos of this event on both film and some in digital. It is a night festival, held in the humidity of summer. Consequently, the quality of some images is a little compromised. However, other images can be made available upon request under Rights Managed licensing.