When you live near the most populous metropolitan area in the world, it pays to get out and experience all there is to see, as often as you can. When that city is also just an hour’s train ride away, there is really little excuse not to go! As I am always finding out, Tokyo is a city I will likely never be able to see all of during my stay here in Japan. Its sheer size and density makes planning out a day trip all the more difficult. Nowadays, when I do go to Tokyo, there is rarely a specific place in mind I try to go to. Instead, based on the weather conditions and local happenings, I vaguely plan my route as I am on the train ride over!
It isn’t every day that you get to hike up a mountain to see a temple nestled in the clouds. But, that’s exactly what I did during a brief trip in July to Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi Prefecture in the northern Tohoku region of Japan! In the few days I spent in the city to meet a new friend and explore the area, I experienced enough to make it feel like a nice mini-vacation! Continue Reading
Just like that, another summer month flies by! However, it’s not like I can complain much, as I finally caught up with the plethora of photographs I made in my June travels, and still had some opportunities to make more photographs with what little free time I had.
One opportunity, as you can see above, gave me a nice chance to brush up on my sports photography chops and capture a new sport entirely! Annually, my base’s fitness department hosts a sprint triathlon on base, aptly titled “Beat the Heat Triathlon” since it starts in the morning just before the summer heat gets going. With my trusty NEX-7+200mm f/2 and a borrowed Canon camera (man, Canon’s are weird…), I scurried around the event area, capturing all I could from the athletes of all ages! This event marked the first time I’ve photographed sprinting bicyclists as well, which is another challenge entirely; with a 200mm at f/2, there’s only one frame out of a 10fps burst that will be in focus due to the high subject speed.
You can check out the full set of photos from the swimmers, bicyclists, and runners on the Navy Fitness Yokosuka official Facebook page.
Moving back a couple weeks, though, July began with a nice 4-day break from the trips made to Singapore and India. Because I apparently don’t understand the meaning of taking time off, I decided to go traveling inside Japan on my own again. This time, I took to the northern area of Japan and stayed in Sendai! This is the same general area hit hard by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and radiation disaster. Five years later, and many of the coastal areas affected have been completely rebuilt. I spent most of my time in downtown Sendai and also made a short day trip to a wonderful mountain temple called Yamadera. I will write a short post for that trip soon.
In photography-business news, Sony is reporting to have a quicker recovery from the Kumamoto earthquake than they originally predicted–good news for getting back on track for production and new announcements, I hope! Also, Nikon released a bombshell 105mm f/1.4 FX lens to complete their 58/85/105mm fast prime set. I am sure that lens beats the pants off my 105mm f/1.8 AI-s, but I do have to wonder how favorably it would compare to the Laowa 105mm T3.2 I own…If I had a full-frame Nikon, and a sample lens to test, I would gladly do a write-up, but it is very unlikely I would ever get my hands on either of them any time soon.🙂
I do not have many photographic opportunities planned for August at the moment, so if anything, there may be just a few spontaneous trips to my local areas. Tokyo is always full of opportunity, so I do see myself going there a couple more times. Otherwise, I want to make a point to at least get started on reviewing that Laowa 105mm T3.2. I don’t need to write a review to tell you it is fantastic, but I know for many of my readers, a bit of objective testing would really help to form a better opinion. That’s all for this update, guys and gals, thanks for dropping by. As always, have a great day!
With the entirety of my Kansai trip chronicled for posterity on this site (Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3), I can now move on to tying up the loose ends on my last few bits of photography in late June (hey…it’s my own personal workflow, I’m allowed to be a little behind!🙂 ). Up for posting today is a quick collection of photographs from my limited free time while on business in Singapore and India! It always pays to bring a camera along wherever you go, as you never know what fun and interesting sights and sounds you will encounter that a cellphone camera just cannot capture! Continue Reading
Though this post comes in a week after I intended to publish, I’ve finally come to the end of editing and captioning my series of photographs from my week-long vacation in Kansai! Even looking back over a month ago, the places visited and experiences I had are still very vivid in my memory. Every time I look back at my photos, I want to go back, or even explore new places here in Japan. It’s great that long distance buses are cheap here for weekend trips!
In my last few days in Kansai, I got to check out the port town of Kobe, enjoyed a mostly-indoor rainy day in Osaka, and wandered around a couple of the massive temples in Kyoto. I wasn’t as trigger happy with my camera these last days, though combined, this post has 70 photos in all. So with that said, let’s do a little exploring around Japan, shall we? Continue Reading
Whew! Seems like with every passing day I am getting further and further behind in my personal photographic work. The files just keep piling on, while I can’t find the time to edit and post up the shots! I have to admit that this is a great problem to have, though, especially given my photographic drought in 2015.
Up for posting today is day two of my photographic journey in the Kansai region, specifically my time in Osaka at the Rice Planting Festival (Otaue Shinji) and a brief stop at the majestic Osaka Castle. For more information on the rice planting festival and its history, please see this link. Since I already made the fortunate mistake of arriving to Sumiyoshi-Taisha a day before the festival, I had a decent mental map of the area to navigate the grounds easily among all the visitors and performers. Note: a video recapping much of the festival’s events will be near the bottom of this post. Continue Reading
I know, I know…it’s already July! I missed my June update window by a few days. But I promise I have a good reason (see above)!
That’s right! June has been a month full of travel, both for personal vacation time and for work. After I played catch-up with my Kamakura trip, it’s looking like the beginning couple weeks of July are going to be my catch-up time for the bevy of photographs I made!
Although I have not done much sightseeing in my immediate area recently, I traveled to the Kansai region for a full week to explore Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara. I’ve already got a head-start on those photos, thankfully, and it’s looking like I will have about two more posts from that trip alone! Immediately after returning from Kansai, though, I headed to Singapore and India for two work engagements. These were technically business trips, but in both instances, I had a couple opportunities to make some photographs of the area. I’ll put both of those visits in a single, short post after the Kansai series.
In other news, I broke an almost two-year lens dry spell and purchased a new optic last month too! The Laowa 105mm f/2(T3.2) STF is a well-built and unique lens that is looking to replace my venerable 105mm f/1.8 AI-s. I can’t wait to put it through the paces of a lens review and share my experiences with you all. Though I don’t have any definitive tests yet, I can spoil one thing a bit: the lens is pretty awesome all around, so far. This is definitely one lens that makes me wish I shot full-frame! For my recent hands-on video, check out the link.
In the world of photography, things have been relatively quiet, with a few notable exceptions. Hasselblad decided to shake up the industry by releasing the world’s first medium-format mirrorless camera, the X1D. Using the proven 50MP Sony sensor, it gives a hint at what Sony might do if given the chance to make their own medium-format body. However, cost is definitely a prohibitive factor when going to medium-format, as the body alone will run $9k, with the two-lens kit soaring to $14k. Yikes! On the flip side, Sony also announced publicly that production of cameras has been greatly affected by the Kumamoto earthquake. This can mean camera shortages, for sure, but may also affect roadmaps for new camera releases. A shame, really, because every day that goes by without an a7000/9000/A9 release is another day my NEX-7 grows older! As always, time will tell, and there are still a lot of days left in 2016 for some announcements to come out.
So all that said, this catches up on everything that happened in June! July looks to be a little more “relaxed” time, compared to June, anyway. I am headed to Sendai, Japan tomorrow for a few days to see what northern Japan has to offer, so that will be even more days of backlog from photograph-making without photograph-processing! Anyways, thanks for dropping by, and as always, have a great day!