Just Past Earth Day


Another sunrise commuting photo, on the way to the Financial District.

Just Past Earth Day: posted April 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

Flashy Foods

What I Ate: 28 Jan 2011

The flash diet doesn't require using flash, and it isn't really a diet per se, but an alternative to keeping a food diary -- photograph everything you eat. A side benefit is that it gives you an excuse to make at least a few photographs every day.

For entertainment value I've given myself a little rubric:
    • Celphone only: twee "FX" apps okay
    • "One bullet": c'mon, it's time to eat
    • Context: ingredients, locations, companions

Here is a great thing about celphone cameras: they're not Hasselblads. They're more like a real "pencil of nature," in that a pencil has incredible range -- you can use the same pencil to jot down the grocery list or to draw a masterwork. The Hasselblad is more like oil paints -- wonderful for what it does, but too grand and technically involved for casual muddling.

Flashy Foods: posted January 28, 2011 | 1 Comments

Hitched, Watsonville


Hitched, Watsonville: posted September 08, 2009 | 0 Comments

Upcoming Ops


A few busy weeks coming up!

On the heels of Contact, I'm heading to Madrid in a few weeks to visit See See and to scout around the shows of PHotoEspaña (suggestion of "must see" shows greatly appreciated), followed by a zip up to the much-overphotographed Guggenheim in Bilbao and whats sure to be entirely too much fantastic food.

Isaac's birthday and graduation from Middle School are also approaching, even earlier -- and then as soon as I'm back from Spain, he's in for three weeks of rock n' roll camp while we also deal with Siggraph, California Extreme, Oshkosh (maybe), Gamefest, and yeah, the girl on the far right of the photo above is carrying an NVISION bag, where I'll be speaking about the future of real-time character animation and rendering (with special guests -- some incredible NVIDIA partners).

Upcoming Ops: posted May 25, 2008 | 0 Comments

Kinda Busy


Okay, I suck. Not a single post since my return from China. Of course, I have tons of excuses, including the fact that I was back in the office for less than one hour before hustling off to the airport for yet another business trip; or that GDC came in the middle of this period; or that I was sick in bed for weeks; or that it's beta time and much software needs writing; or that I keep catching myself putting my web energy into (giant sucking sound....) Facebook; or that a large slice of the remaining time has been happily spent on family and wonderfulness. All true.

Kinda Busy: posted April 05, 2008 | 0 Comments

Long Ride


Almost time to say goodbye to China, now that I'm back in Beijing. Also time to say goodbye to:

  • My Canon 50mm f/1.4, which spontaneously has decided it doesn't want to focus on anything closer than 5 feet, even in manual (at least until I can send it off to Canon)
  • My Panasonic LX1, which was pick-pocketed in Xi'an (along with most of my pix of the Xi'an city walls and street musicians)
  • My HTC Excalibur smartphone, with all my notes and action items from the entire trip (pick-pocketed just tonight inside the Hyatt)
  • My faith in Cisco VPN (pretty-well worthless on this trip)
So that's maybe $1000 in theft losses and a major dose of work frustration. Net balance for the trip then? Love it. Hassles and troubles like those just transform a vacation into an adventure, and the experiences I've had will last a lifetime, unlike any sort of electronic gizmo (and I have paper backups of my notes).

If I can just keep my laptop and 5D working for two more days....

(Followup: I remind myself, a bit, of my old second (third) cousin who raced motorcycles and cars and kept soldiering on through the many hospitalizations as just part of the passion....)

Which doesn't begin to compare to what happened to Michael :(

Long Ride: posted January 08, 2008 | 0 Comments



Rebecca brought home a new cat the other day. And by "brought home" I mean "dropped off" -- I awoke that morning to find (with my naked feet) bits of loose kitty litter scattered in the hallway near her room, and Isaac hiding inside with a little cute varmint. Rebecca, meanwile, was nowhere to be seen, having opted to go out with her friends and leave the kitten-caring to me.

I love all pets but we already have a cat: Sparx. Sparx is incredibly upset now, and won't even come in the house when she suspects the kitten is around. When told about this, Rebecca just shrugs and heads off to the coffee shop.

I have to say I really resent it when people assume that they can abuse my kind nature. Rebecca knows that I would never deliberately let the kitten come to harm, or be neglected -- so she just neglects it knowing that I won't, while assuming that she can enjoy "her" kitten whenever it suits her.

Wrong. It's exactly because I love animals and care about their welfare that I know that this cat deserves a better environment. A kitten is not just a toy, a machine for generating cuteness on demand. She -- and her cuteness, her affection, her (inadvertent) humor -- deserves better. This kitten has got to go, sweet and funny though she is.

If you're in the bay area & interested in cute and litter-trained critters, please drop a line -- we'll be happy to supply her with toys and even some cat furniture.

Nemesis: posted September 02, 2007 | 0 Comments

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation


  • There is nothing to deter you from making lots of photographs with your full heavy kit bag like an intense peeling sunburn across your shoulders and back.
  • Spending time with your son being hurled down the "Pacific Spin" at the water park while being seriously sunburned across your shoulders and back is 100% worth the trouble.
  • I thought I knew a lot about the California landscape, having driven through it and flown over it at varying altitudes countless times. Then I took the train from San Jose to San Diego.
  • At night, it is better to fly.
  • In Los Angeles, yes there really are people dumb enough to drive their boyfriend's new car in between the rail-crossing barriers, panic when they see the 9:20 commuter coming toward them, decide to drive away in the opposite direction on the railroad tracks at high speed while calling said boyfriend on the celphone -- until the damage to the auto suspension halts the car between streets, paralyzing all north/south rail traffic for an hour or two until an offroad-capable truck can come to haul away the car and an inspector ensure that she didn't do any serious damage, which the police and boyfriend search for her since she fled the scene, in a less-than-optimal neighborhood, on foot.
  • Buildings are strongly directional, even ones I wouldn't have expected. They all face the street. None of them face the tracks (even train stations).
  • My beard grows much faster than I realized.
  • The Chevy HHR has the worst driver visibility I've ever experienced. How do they get DOT approval on this thing?
  • Just as it's difficult to go photographing on the street while in the company of someone who wants to hold hands, it's difficult to actually see museums while in the company of people who think museums are (a) phenomenal wastes of skateboarding time or (b) great places to meet guys.
  • Just the same, seeing the Harry Callahan show at MOPA for the second time was worthwhile. Like so many, he was clearly caught up in how things look when photographed.
  • The people who probably created most of the Dead Sea Scrolls were seriously-deranged paranoid religious nutjobs living in a tiny isolated community. In other words, a lot like tiny isolated paranoid religious nutjob communities today, everywhere from Waco to the West Bank.
  • When the computer graphics in a brand-new IMAX film are less compelling than those in some games, even the the general audience notices, and are vocal about it in the lobby after the film.
  • Deliberately traveling without a computer (the only available choice up until the last decade) makes you paranoid about filling CF cards but otherwise is no big deal and the reduction in travel weight is a real blessing. No real escape from email (the Treo kept that from happening), and a handheld GPS did a good job of filling-in for Google Maps. No online games, no endless web browsing, no blogging, no RSS. And no withdrawl symptoms, as far as I can tell.
  • Rebecca couldn't deal. She brought her macBook. I stayed away from it. She sat in a hotel room while we had fun.
  • I wish we had a pool.
  • There are some really good and unsung artists working at Legoland. I did not expect this at all. Every diorama is packed full of little stories, classic examples of what Ben Lifson (and Hayao Miyazaki) talk about as "specific" character -- and this made from the uniform little pieces of Lego figures.
  • Zac Ephron and little kids in cute Einstein outfits are bigger news than Karl Rove.
  • It was too long.
  • It was too short.
What I Learned on My Summer Vacation: posted August 30, 2007 | 0 Comments

Recursive Travels

Side trip within a side trip within a holiday.... New York in Lego

Recursive Travels: posted August 25, 2007 | 0 Comments

Home for One...

(C)2007 K Bjorke

...day between Siggraph and XNA Gamefest. Happily it's tournament day for Arsenal, Isaac's team, first-seeded in the Redline League. The snap was from this morning's game, the final comes up later in the afternoon.

(Afternoon postscript, yes, won & "Arsenal" were declared league 2007 champions!)

Home for One...: posted August 11, 2007 | 0 Comments

The Block

Today I'm being lazy and rehashing something I posted on the APUG forums, in response to a midlife-crisis photographer's "Photographers' Block."

I have recently come to the conclusion that I am suffering from a photographer's block. I used to find inspiration in the places I was in or in the people I was with. Just lately I keep drawing a blank.

Does anyone else suffer with this problem or is it just me? Does anyone have any suggestions for getting through it? Do I just need to drink more beer?


N, don't worry about repeating past successes. The most satisfying photographs you can make are those you haven't yet made.

Such moments of "blockage" give you an excuse to re-assess (without getting mired in nostalgia or frustration), and most importantly, give you a little breather to try different sorts of things, to look at those Paths Not Taken. Imagine yourself as what you might have been — now imagine that alternative you, imagining the you that you actually are — and consider: what is the real core YOU that is shared by both versions? And what sorts of photos and ideas are central to THAT guy?

With that in mind, consider that whatever your work has been in the past, it has come about as the product of your entire person at that time — your surroundings, the people, your schedule, and how you felt about them at that time (and only peripherally, your level of photo-technical expertise).

In what ways have they changed, in what ways have your attitudes changed simply due to age, to fatigue, to arrivals and departures, or simply to outgrowing your previous levels of understanding? Which direction interests you today, in your life? Ignoring the camera, what sorts of pictures might you imagine making? What sorts of things interest you, your eye, your heart?

Okay, now pick up the camera again and remember that it is an explorer's tool, just like a compass, or a pickaxe. Like a pickaxe it can give you purchase on jagged circumstances, and can reveal things that were hidden, bringing light to the surface. Like a compass it can let you align both the world and yourself.

Let us know how it goes.

The Block: posted May 26, 2007 | 0 Comments

POSSIBLY the Best of 2006

Yesterday I received a Fedex envelope from Mexico, and within it was a bright yellow giftwrap containing a shrinkwrap containing Mark Alor Powell's book V.I.P. (Mark is also known as "locaburg" on flickr). It's only March but I'm considering it a Best of 2007 already.

At least I managed to pull-open the shrinkwrap! Far too often in 2006, I compulsively purchased books that never had much of a life past the point of purchase. This is especially true of art books that I purchased while traveling. I like the idea of buying local-artist books, but when it comes to taking the time to dig into them.... they often get the short shrift.

Part of this may be that when I'm heading home they get buried in my luggage, then once home they go straight to the bookshelves where they're forgotten. But I'm making excuses. A lot of them sit out in plain sight for a long while.

Here are some of the books that I bought in 2006 that I was sure I wanted to read but still haven't done so. Most I probably paged through for two minutes... some, sadly, are still in the bag.

  • Absolut Viking - Lill-Ann Chepstow-Lusty (okay, it's in Norwegian)
  • Swedish NationalMuseum Catalog
  • Small Wars - An-My Lê
  • Excuse Me - Keisuke Nagoshi (text in Japanese)
  • Capturing Light - Drew Heath Johnson (okay, a gift)
  • Saga - Arno Rafael Minkkinen
  • Pop Surrealism , The Rise of Underground Art - Kirsten Anderson
  • Daido Moriyama's Fondation Cartier monograph (found, of all places, in the remainder bin at the Norwegian Nasjonalmuseet for about $8!)
  • Using History - Grett Pratt (still in the shrinkwrap)
  • The Photobook: A History Pt II - Martin Parr & Gerry Badger
  • Working - Stephen M Dahl
  • Lake Street USA - Wing Young Huie
  • Photo Brava 06 catalog
  • Marketing Guidebook for Photographers Fall '06 - Mary Virginia Swanson (just skimmed, keep getting interupted every time I sit down with it)
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
  • The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals - Charles Darwin
  • Making Comics - Scott McCloud
  • Happy End of the World - Una Hunderi
  • After the Water - Sam Portrera
  • Collapse - Jared Diamond
  • Holiday - Michio Yamauchi (Japanese, still shrinkwrapped)
  • Riot - 01 (various, Japanese)
  • Mole Unit No 5 (Japanese mag) and many other magazines including stacks of unopened subscriptions to PDN, Camera Arts, Modern Painters, BJP, Cinefex, Adbusters, New Yorker, Alert Diver, B&W, and a bunch of others
  • Innovation Happens Elsewhere - Goldman/Gabriel
  • Camp - Shomei Tomatsu
  • Window-Pain - Wataru Hayakawa (Japanese, still shrinkwrapped)
  • Chigo to Daibutsu - Masahiko Taniguchi (Japanese, still shrinkwrapped)
  • Tone Deaf & All Thumbs - Frank Wilson
  • The 33 Strategies of War - Robert Greene
  • Ready for Anything - David Allen

I won't even start on the stack of unplayed video games....

Maybe someone can tell me what I've missed.

POSSIBLY the Best of 2006: posted March 03, 2007 | 0 Comments



Cleaned: posted February 16, 2007

Second Job

The Second Job doesn't come with a second paycheck. Ah well.

Besides working on GPU Gems III (the quality of the submissions just keeps rising with each successive edition! Far more fantastic work than we even can squeeze into one large book... choosing the most-appropriate from so many good choices is tough); prepping for the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Francisco; creating proposals and abstracts for conferences in the months after that; working on developer tools and ongoing work in helping 3D artists expand their abilities to create great-looking GPU-savvy games... I'm also busy dealing with lots of MMO and Virtual-World developers and researchers.

I guess it was my inevitable destiny: the origins of the name for this very site, Botzilla, come from the now-slumbering BotBot program, designed to create customized avatar scripts for the mid-90's virtual world The Palace.

It would certainly be useful to have a second me around, mostly to do errands while the FirstMe was busy with... well, you know, stuff.

Stuff like keeping track of the household, making sure people get fed, homework completed, DVDs and library books returned, Tivo watched, pictures occasionally taken or printed, books read, scuba gear used, friends acknowledged and seen, or keeping up with my RSS feeds, which I set up in theory to make it easier to keep up with blog pages and the like. Unless I'm insanely diligent they just keep falling behind, behind, behind... all the labor-saving technology is a powerful mechanism for giving me too much to do. Rather than being thrilled that, say, Alec Soth has posted 58 entries over the past month or so, entries I know I will enjoy reading should I get the chance, I just end up feeling guilty that I haven't had the chance for a settled time to read them :/

And then there are the games... I'm still lingering in the late second act of Final Fantasy XII, interupted by two weeks of computer-less and console-less holiday break, and looking in the immediate future my hope of playing any of my existing consolers gets increasingly slim under the encroaching shadows of Wii and PS3 or any of the many great PC titles that are stacking up next to "Lolo," my game-and-itunes machine.

Just the same: if you do wander into SecondLife, give an IM holler to "Shashinka Komparu" or just seek out (and join!) the "NVIDIOTS" group.

(Or if you play EVE: drop me a line either here or via eve-mail to "Fenris Chow" — our corporation is likely to open for recruitment again in the near future)

Second Job: posted February 08, 2007 | 1 Comments

Not That I'm Complaining


So I come all the way to Iceland, swing by Sirkus in search of elves Sigur Ros & Björk only to discover: who's playing Reykjavik tonight? San Francisco band Brian Jonestown Massacre, and just around the corner from my hotel. So Remo & I hike back down the hill to Club Nasa to pick up the beginning of their set. Playing warmup were local bands Singapore Sling and Jakobinarina — we meet Sikka from Sirkus & then Bibi from Jakobarina — she assures us they were even better. Maybe next time....

Not bad for a Wednesday night in the dark and relatively touristless "quiet" season.

Not That I'm Complaining: posted November 29, 2006 | 0 Comments


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