The Essence of Zazen

The Essence of Zazen

This is the first time I’ve posted someone else’s picture on carpathianadventure.com but I felt it had to be done. This picture, created by Aik Art of DeviantArt, is one of the most powerful and self-encompassing images I’ve come across. It truly shows the essence of Zen. I find myself just staring at it for long periods, much as the monk does to the wall….

Om mane padme hum…..

Snorkelling in Croatia with a Dazzne P2

Snorkelling in Croatia with a Dazzne P2

I’ve just returned from a week long family trip to Croatia. It was a long drive through Slovakia, Hungary and then all of Croatia but it was worth it. We rented the same house on the sea that we had last year and did much of the same aquatic activities.

This time I took with me a new toy. Originally, I’d wanted to buy a GoPro Hero4 Silver but instead opted for a much cheaper Dazzne P2 as it seemed good enough for my needs and I’d rather save my money for when the new Garmin action cam comes out. Above water I wasn’t impressed with the fish eye effect of the P2 but underwater it shone. Absolutely super underwater video. Well worth the money and I’d recommend it.

The crystal clear Adriatic Sea is the perfect place for underwater filming and snorkeling. My wife and me had a bit of an adventure on the open sea but I can’t talk about that at the moment. I can say though that it was a once in a lifetime and a life changing event. Really cool. More to come…

Dead Bat

Dead Bat

I see a lot of bats flying around in the day time. Until fairly recently, in the towns they roosted in the gaps in the side walls of the ubiquitous socialist apartment blocks. However, there has been a flurry of energy-saving reconstruction, mostly polystyrene blocks placed over the walls and then plastered over. This has covered up the roosts and it’s common to see bats trying to return to their former sleeping areas and not being able to, then they circle until eventually collapsing.

House Martens also use the flat blocks for summer nesting and both they and the bats keep down the mosquito population. As the region modernizes I see some Eco-system upheavals on the cards….

Spring remnants of Winter

Spring remnants of Winter

Still the grass and bushes are bleak, with the remains of bird-eaten berries decaying on the twigs. The blue skies have gone and the overcast has returned, making it feel more like late Autumn again – especially following the snow shower last Sunday.

I really hope Spring kicks in proper at some point.

Meopta Admira A8GO 8mm camera

Meopta Admira A8GO 8mm camera

A new toy, and almost mint condition! This is a Czechoslovakian Meopta Admira A8GO 8mm wind-up movie camera from 1965. It was found in a store cupboard and now has a new home. I just need to get some spools, 8mm movie roll and a projector. And then a complex video transfer device so I can convert to digital.

I’m really looking forward to making some movies with it. Filming the forest – or even a short horror film – will give the footage an excellent and authentic retro look.

Compared to modern handicams, this feels heavy and robust. I love older technology as it was built to last – plus it didn’t need recharging.

New Year in the Carpathians

New Year in the Carpathians

Last night, New Year’s Eve (or Silvester as they call it locally) was beyond cold. The thermometer broke so I’ve no idea just how cold it got but in the morning it was minus 17 Centigrade.

We spent several hours preparing wood from old planks and beech and oak logs, then made sure both the living room fire and the bedrooms’ traditional brick and tile pec were stocked. We went through a honking amount of wood battling the cold. We treated ourselves to a few luxury foodstuffs for symbolism – ruby port, fine cigar, Swiss chocolate, Stilton cheese, pistachios, Italian Panetone, non-alcoholic German Sekt for the kids… At midnight we set off fireworks in the back garden.

I hope 2015 will be a good year for all of us. I’ve entered it with no pre-concieved plans, which is unusual for me, and will await the Muse. New Year’s Eve was a challenge we overcame and which resulted in successful enjoyment. I hope that set the tone for the entire year

Happy New Year to everyone!

Ukrainian Rangefinder FED 5 (1981)

Ukrainian Rangefinder FED 5 (1981)

This is the old Soviet copy of a Leica with an Industar 61 LD lens. It was my wife’s father’s and under Socialism it was a bit of a luxury item. I really would like to do a series of photos with it to capture that vintage look.

There’s something about the feel, weight and smell of it which seem right and are missing in modern cameras.