the journal

Archive for the ‘graphic design’ Category


Gallery Page Updated

Filed Under galleries, graphic design, photography

I was bored by the previous look of my Gallery section, so I redesigned it.  This new look combines my love of photography with my love of vintage stuff.  As with most of my graphic design work, the objects I use are photographs/scans of real items I have in my collection. You might recognize the following: a 1956 Rolleiflex medium format camera (which I use from time-to-time), a Kodak Stereo Camera (35mm) from 1958, a box of old slides I purchased at an estate sale, a 1960s light meter, a shutter release timer, and a couple of blue flash bulbs (both from the 1950s). Click on the image below to visit the new-and-improved gallery:

Let me know what you think!


South America 2004 Journal

Filed Under graphic design, international travel

For my South America trip in December 2004, I created a book that would act both as a guide and a journal. I included what I felt wad pertinent information from a collection of over fourteen books about Peru and Bolivia. Creating the book by hand turned out to be a time-consuming project in which over 100+ hours were spent designing, printing, and building the 250-page book, but the hard work produced something that I will always cherish.

Once you’re done perusing a few of the pages (click the image below), you should head over to my travel website – kahunna.net – and see how I created this book from scratch.


My First Journal

Filed Under entomology, graphic design, photography

Do you remember your first notebook?  The first time you kept a journal or diary? Notebookism.com asked their readers to share the roots of their obsession of notebooks.  This has inspired me to find my first notebook/journal and rediscover what interests I had when I was much younger.

It didn’t take long to find the dusty book and when I sat down and perused the pages, I was surprised to discover that many obsessions I have now took root in this 13-year-old journal:  astronomy, zoology, entomology, travel, exploration, art, to name a few.

I’d like to share a few pages and talk about them.


I bought this notebook from Barnes & Noble in the summer of 1995. I would have been 19 years old at the time. The bookplate in the rear of the book tells me that the type of notebook is a “Wire Bound” by Michael Roger Press, Inc. out of New York and it was printed in 1992.


I glued on a collapsible folder I’m pretty sure I designed and made myself to hold the newspaper clippings, postcards, letters, and other papers I thought might be interesting to hold on to.

The first entry, from August 8th, 1995, starts with:

As you can see, today I decided to start a diary or journal. I wanted to actually get onto paper my goals, plans, thoughts & feelings of archaeology and the role it will play (or how I would like it to play) in my life.

Although I didn’t finish my studies as an archaeologist, it did open the door to related fields I pursue today.


August 5th, 1995, I wrote:

I, Kolby Kirk, plan on being out of the Continental US by the summer of 1996. I will be able to send a postcard back to my parents showing that I am on an archaeological dig. Signed: Kolby Kirk

I eventually made it out of the country and visited an archaeological dig… in 2001.


In 1995, before the Internet and instant knowledge, I invented something I called the “VRchaeology”. According to the entry, it would be able to translate any language, “lost, dead, ect.”, with the help of video equipment and virtual reality. I based the prototype off of a Nintendo Gameboy. I wonder if the technology exists yet to make this thing?

The page on the right is a drawing of Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 AD, an event that I read about at an early age and started my fascination with archaeology. I fulfilled my childhood dream of visiting the ruins of Pompeii and hiking to the top of the volcano in 2001.


The page above is a record of my first trip to Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). It looks like the map on the right page is of the museum’s multi-building campus, and the map on the left is of the Egyptian exhibit on display there at the time (November, 1995).


I wrote very neat and small at nineteen years old. If you’ve seen any of my more recent journals, you can see that I still write this small (but probably not as neat).


I obsessively collected National Geographic Magazines in my late teens and early 20s, which I’ve talked about here on this blog before. I wrote about my bookstore discoveries like I just found some ancient artifact in the jungles of Peru. My obsession with the magazine peaked around 1997, when I owned all but sixteen issues from 1913 to 1997. Now I just own a few shelves of just the oldest ones, but I still subscribe to the magazine’s sister publications (NG Traveler Magazine, NG Adventure Magazine).


To help figure out how rare a National Geographic Magazine was, I graphed out the number of NGS members. Looks like I made a graph with Microsoft Excel for Windows 95. I was such a geek! Wait – I still am, but the only difference is now I get paid to graph out stuff in Excel.


The history of National Geographic maps during World War II in one page. Looking at the size of that writing, I could have made some money writing people’s names on grains of rice.


I’m surprised to discover in this journal that I followed the war in Bosnia pretty closely. Here, on the right, is a sketch of the Dayton Peace Agreement signing, ending the three year war in Eastern Europe. I did a quick search and found the photograph I used for the sketch.


On the left, a newspaper cutout from November, 1995 of the estimated number of Bosnian refugees per 100,000 population in Europe. According to the map, there’s over 500 in Sweden, more than any other European country. I commented, “Only one thing I want to know: WHAT’S IN SWEDEN!?” I have since visited Bosnia and I’m sure one day I’ll see what’s in Sweden.

The left shows a representation of how much potable water there is in the world based on a fact in National Geographic Magazine: “If all Earth’s water fit in a gallon jug, available fresh water would equal just over a tablespoon.


I loved bugs all my life, it seems. Here on the left, in December of 1995, I drew a cicada and a Jerusalem cricket I had found on an archaeological dig. (More on this over at my other site, bugshutterbug.com.)

On the left is a sketch of Mount Pinatubo erupting in The Philippines. It had erupted in June of that year. A few facts I wrote down about the eruption:

  • It was one hundred times more powerful than the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens in 1980.
  • Typhoon Yunya was just starting to hit the island at the same time.
  • The release of the volcano will lower the temperature of the earth one degree for the next five years.
  • It was so big, it created its own weather, including lightning.
  • 1.4 million people were dispursed, 50,000 homeless, 560,000 jobless, and 900 dead.


A page dedicated to the Galileo spacecraft, which had arrived at Jupiter in December, 1995, completing it’s 6-year journey. According to Wikipedia, it lived another seven years orbiting the planet.


On the left, a drawing of an ad for a National Geographic television special on sharks. I wonder, what year did Discovery’s “Shark Week” begin? On the right, an entry on the “weather weirdness” that occurred that January (1996). Apparently, it was unusually warm in Los Angeles while New York was experiencing “the worst storm of the century.”


I met a family from Perth in late 1996, starting an interest in the eastern Australian city. On the left is a map of the city I drew, most likely based off of a map produced by the National Geographic Society. (This was still a time before the Internet). On the right is a something I drew based off of a Fox Trot comic strip. I looked forward to reading Fox Trot when I read the newspaper. I think I drew this based on the recent news that the comic’s creator, Bill Amend, was retiring.


An ode to Stonehenge. I don’t know how I had the patience or the skill to draw everything on this page in negative with permanent marker.


Speaking of things that I did for fun that I’m now being paid to do: here’s a map of the languages in the Caucasus Region (Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Chechnia, Azerbaijan). I’m creating a similar map for a project I’m working on today!


4-year-old Sonam Wangdu recognized by the Tibetan Buddhists as the Reincarnation of Lama Deshung Rinpoche III, a beloved scholar and teacher, who died here (in Seattle, WA) in 1987 at the age of 81. Before he died, Deshung told two students he would be reborn in Seattle. And on November 12, 1991, according to dreams and other auspicious signs, he was. The boy was born as Sonam Wangdu to an American mother and Tibetan father. He leaves for the Tharlam Monastery near Kathmandu, Nepal, for a life of celibacy and study.


I remember my Mom let me stay home to watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It was so devastating to see, on live television, the explosion of the shuttle and the deaths of seven astronauts. On this page, I drew the sequence of events leading up to the tragic event.


Giant Squids! Still a major fascination of mine. There such mysterious creatures. If something so large could “hide” from scientists for this long, imagine what other creatures are out there that has yet to cross paths with humans?


During the summer of 1996, I taught archaeology and astronomy to children at a YMCA camp in the local mountains. The idea of teaching astronomy came in a pow-wow meeting earlier in the year, but little did I know at the time that I’d be the one teaching it. I knew nothing about astronomy beyond the introductory class I took in college, but soon I could spend an hour pointing out constellations and telling stories of their name’s origins. I still love sitting out under the stars any chance I can get. Even though some of the names and stories have slipped from memory, the vastness of the sky is awesome to look upon.


On the left here is a map of the camp I worked at. This was the summer of Comet Hale-Bopp, the most famous comet since Haley in 1983. I was lucky enough to live in an area without light pollution, allowing us to see the fuzzy comet (with the help of a telescope).


My first night at camp and I was almost attacked by a mother raccoon protecting its four kits (babies). They had broke into the cabin where I was sleeping on the living room couch. I woke up to see the big mama staring me down just 2 feet from my face. I fell in love with the Great Outdoors that night.


More astronomy-related entries during that great summer living in the mountains.


A page spread dedicated to meteors and the damage they cause when they strike earth. There’s nothing like learning to appreciate life by scaring the bejesus out of kids with stories of mass destruction and possible human extinction.


Sunday, September 1st, 1996: A journal entry dedicated to the recent eruption of the twin volcanoes, Vulcan and Tavurvur, in the South Pacific.


Sunday, September 2nd, 1996: A journal entry dedicated to “space weather”, which some believe caused the blackout of 1996.


Sunday, September 3rd, 1996: A journal entry dedicated to Easter Island and its mysterious statues.


Some information on the volcanic activity in Yellowstone National Park.


Have you ever heard of the stratosphere balloon called The Explorer? If not, you should read about it in the October 1934 issue of National Geographic. If you don’t happen to have that issue laying around, take a look around the web for more details. It’s really fascinating stuff! I thought so and it inspired me to draw this picture.

Also drawn based on a National Geographic story is the tarantula. (More on this over at my other site, bugshutterbug.com.)


I got to witness a lunar eclipse while living in Irivine, CA. This spread records my viewing of the phenomenon. I still take time to watch lunar eclipses, but now I usually record the event with my camera rather than with a notebook.


In the Autumn of 1996, I worked as a security guard at a computer chip company in Tustin, California. Across the street from the company’s campus was a large field where hawks would sit atop light poles or trees, intently watching the strawberry fields for prey. I was fascinated with these intelligent birds and their amazing eyesight and spent many days at work watching them survey the ground or soaring gracefully over the land, occasionally picking off rabbits and mice with their sharp talons. In this entry, I write how I rollerbladed to this field and watched the hawks armed with binoculars and a disposable camera (my camera of choice for many years). Although I didn’t write about it here, reading the entry brings back a thought I had about the future of the birds. I wondered how long they would be winged kings of this large swath of land before the city covered it with more buildings. I haven’t been back to Tustin for many years, but I do think these strawberry fields have been replaced by buildings. I wonder if the hawks have adapted to the change or have they moved away. On the map above, I highlighted in blue the range of the hawks, according to my observations.


When the English Patient came out in November of 1996, it quickly became my favorite movie of all time. I ended up seeing it over six times in the theater, read the book, met the author, and owned it on VHS and DVD. I saw it recently and it still holds up as a great film about archaeology, geography, romance and adventure. I still listen to the soundtrack from time to time on my iPod.


I walked into an old wooden bench and was impaled by the largest sliver I’ve ever received. It took thirty minutes for a nurse to remove it. She showed no mercy in doing so. I don’t know if I had intentionally taped up the actual sliver on the same spread as a photo of a rhinoceros, but the coincidence is humorous.


Photos from my days as an archaeologist. Again my camera of choice is a disposable Kodak camera. I didn’t start using a “real” camera until 2001 and purchased my first SLR in 2006.


The collapsible pocket I attached to the back of the journal has an eerie resemblance to the (much smaller) pocket found on Moleskine journals. Maybe that’s a subliminal reason why the notebooks became a journal of choice since 2004?

To see more scanned pages, head on over to my other site, bugshutterbug.com.


First Look: Animal Life by Charlotte Uhlenbroek

Filed Under graphic design, kahunna.net, photography

Did you watch the BBC nature documentary Planet Earth as if it was the newest action thriller? Are you fascinated by most programs on Discovery Channel? Do you read National Geographic Magazine? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then you need to read on.

I was at my local bookstore looking for a book on insect macro photography when I passed behind a man flipping through a book. Sounds like something that happens all the time in a bookstore, right? But this was the first time I passed someone where, in a blink of an eye, I had the desire to immediately purchase the book they were perusing.

I started a conversation with the man who, wouldn’t you know it, has a name. He goes by Thom Bluemel and he’s the brilliant creator of Bird Brains.

The book he was reading is called Animal Life: Secrets of the Animal World Revealed by Dr. Charlotte Uhlenbroek. Unlike other hefty encyclopedic tomes on animals, this one specifically covers animal behavior. But this was not what drew me to the book over a Thom’s shoulder. The 5.8 pound book is sweet, sweet eye-candy. Produced in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History and Doris Kindersley Publishing, every one of its 512 pages is visually stunning – both in design and in photography.

I’ll end my first look with photos I took of the spreads. The book retails for $50, but you should be able to find it for sale at about $35. Either way, it’s worth every penny.





















Ok, no more pics. Now get up from your computer, go to a bookstore, and get this incredible book now!


Photo Gallery Opening

Filed Under graphic design, photography, YouTube


You are invited

Kaldi Coffee & Tea

Gallery Opening

Friday, September 5th @ 6:30pm

Wine & Cheese at 6:30pm. Coffee & Tea (of course) available throughout the evening.

Kaldi Coffee & Tea
1019 El Centro Street
South Pasadena, CA

Located just one block SE of the Mission stop on the Metro Gold Line.


Interview: Travel Journaling

Filed Under graphic design, international travel, kahunna.net

Travel Journal, 2001I was recently approached by Gill over at the website Journal Craft Inspiration for an interview on my travel journals.  It was fun to share some of my tips and stories with her and her readers.  I recommend exploring around on her site – she’s got a lot to look at. If you’re visiting from journalcraft.co.uk, then hello and welcome!  If you would like to read more about my journals, please check out the following:

Here’s a snippet from the interview:

Do you complete your journal entry ‘on-site’ or do you continue working on it when you get home?

I tend to define my journal as one moment in time, capturing thoughts, plans, and important information for a journey from the late planning stages to the return home. On some trips, I can’t find time to write during the day, so I’ll spend an hour or so in the evening, preferably at a cafe, furiously writing down everything I can recall that happened since the last time I wrote. When I’m home, the journal becomes a time capsule, its contents “sealed”. Nothing will be added or taken away from it.


Oregon Coast Road Trip

Filed Under entomology, graphic design, local travel, photography

Being a proud Oregonian, I was excited to have the opportunity to visit the Motherland for an extended weekend. My youngest cousin was getting married and I looked forward to being present for the ceremony. (I’ll most likely keep those photos for family only.) After the Saturday wedding, I began my road trip home, 1,000-miles from Newport, Oregon to Arcadia, California. It was a fantastic three-day journey through the redwoods of Northern California, the rolling golden hills of Central California, and the fertile valley from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Here’s a map and some photos. Click on the photos to see them on Flickr. Scroll to the bottom for a link to a slideshow.

View Larger Map

Beach Sunset

Gull on Agate Beach

Yaquina Head Lighthouse & Tidepools

Green Sea Anemone

Starfish & Suds

Gooseneck Barnacles & Stone

Striped Periwinkle


Limpeds Among Cracked Rocks

Lined Shore Crab

Seagulls at Yachats, Oregon

Yachats Beach Comber

Devil's Churn

Umpqua Bridge

Piling Plant

False Kalamath Cove

False Kalamath Cove

Oregon Coast

Fallen Redwood On Path

Standing Room Only

Redwoods Discussing

Trees In the Mist

Here’s a link to view these photos in a Flickr Slideshow. You can also view it in a slideshow on my site here.


A Treasure of Maps

Filed Under graphic design, international travel, retrotravels.net

National Geographic Maps

A treasure of maps was recently “dug up” in my parent’s storage space and returned to me.  Around 1994, when I moved away from home to attend college, I was forced to get rid of most of my National Geographic Magazines – a nearly-complete collection of every issue back to 1929.  However, I was able to keep all of the supplements/inserts since they didn’t take up much room.  I’ve been looking through the three boxes and have found more than just maps, folded posters, and old panoramic photos. I’ve also found one of the reasons why I love travel. I think most people would start to feel a desire to explore the world after looking at a few maps. The beautiful and distinct fonts, the colors, the clarity. A National Geographic map is good enough to hang up on the wall and call it “art.” In fact, President Roosevelt used National Geographic maps in the White House Map Room during World War II. Today, a case of world maps presented by the National Geographic Society still resides in the Map Room.

Below you will find a small selection of the hundreds of maps from my collection showing “snap shots” of the quality work National Geographic has produced in their world-famous cartographic department. If it takes a while to load or you’d like to view them in a flickr slideshow (800 x 800p res) by clicking here.

Have the urge to share a story about your National Geographic magazines or maps? Share it in the comments!

1965_Viet Nam Cambodia Laos & Eastern Thailand
Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos & Eastern Thailand (1965)

Scandinavia (1963)

Australia (1963)

1962_West Indies
West Indies (1962)

1961_South Central United States
South Central United States (1961)

1960_Japan & Korea
Japan & Korea (1960)

Hawaii (1960)

Africa (1960)

1958_Southern South America
Southern South America (1958)

1958_British Isles
British Isles (1958)

Alaska (1956)

1955_Eastern South America
Eastern South America (1955)

1954_West Indies
West Indies (1954)

1953_The Great Lakes Region
The Great Lakes Region (1953)

1953_China Coast & Korea02
China Coast & Korea (1953)

1953_China Coast & Korea
China Coast & Korea (1953)

1949_The Top of the World
The Top of the World (1949)

1949_Europe & The Near East
Europe & The Near East (1949)

1949_Classical Lands of The Mediterranean
Classical Lands of The Mediterranean (1949)

1947_Southeastern US
The Southeastern United States (1947)

The United States of America (1946)

1945_The Philippines
The Philippines (1945)

1945_Northeastern US
The Northeastern United States (1945)

1943_Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean (1943)

1942_Theater of War in the Pacific Ocean
The Theater of War in the Pacific Ocean (1942)

1941_Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean (1941)

1941_Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean (1941)

1937_The white mountains of New Hampshire
The White Mountains of New Hampshire (1937)

Africa (1935)

Africa (1935)

1932_Arctic Regions
Arctic Regions (1932)

Louisiana (1930)



Video Page Created

Filed Under graphic design, local travel, photography, YouTube

I created a page for posting my videos. I’ll be adding more as I create them, but for now you’ll find a high-resolution video of my Joshua Tree National Park trip. If you’re bored, you can read that trip’s report here.


Fog Slideshow

Filed Under graphic design, local travel, photography, retrotravels.net, urban-explorers.com

A little slideshow I made for my Flash class…