In my first catch-up post (of likely a few to come from November), I went on a mini-tour of the Sankeien Garden located in the southern outskirts of Yokohama in early November. My base’s Liberty Center is experimenting with cheap afternoon/morning tours to local hotspots lately, and I am glad to participate in as many as possible for some easy ways to get more photographs and explore my cozy little corner of Japan. Continue Reading
Warmth turning into chill, daylight hours quickly disappearing, and leaves gradually dying off in a burst of color. Sounds a lot like late September/October for a good portion of my readers back in the States. But not so in Japan, at least, in my region. November turned out to be the month that finally forced me to begin to bundle up and alter my outing plans to make up for the temperature changes and lack of sunlight. Granted, my health hasn’t exactly improved from my last post, but I was not about to let an entire change of season pass me by. Despite the exhaustion, I managed to enjoy four separate local trips in Kanagawa, from Kamakura on a rainy day to Yokohama well past sunset.
But, it’s not all sunshine and roses, of course. Since I expended so much energy on just taking these trips, I came back to my barracks without enough energy to actually edit and post any of my photographs. So, similar to this past summer, I now have a decent little backlog of photographs to sift through and post in the beginning days of December. In a bizarre twist of luck/misfortune (depending on how you look at it), an ankle sprain I suffered a week ago will do much to confine me inside to edit to my heart’s content.
I will not be able to stay inside for long, however. Adorama charged me for the shipment of my a6500 today, a camera that I am very much looking forward to shooting alongside my NEX-7 (I may have to pick up that BlackRapid Double to comfortably shoot two cameras). In-body image stabilization, a super-deep buffer, and a touchscreen? Oh, sign me right up!
Otherwise in the photography world not too much has happened in November, aside from the expected Black Friday sales. The a6000 continues to be one of the best deals going in mirrorless photography right now, and consistently stays in the top lists of Amazon’s sales. Still no word yet from Sony on a supposed a9000/A9 camera, though the rumor mill is pointing toward some big announcement in the first quarter of 2017. Of course, we’ll just have to wait and see what this camera has to offer. In the meantime, I’ve got to get back to some photo editing! That’s all for this quick update, guys and gals, thanks for dropping by! As always, have a great day!
P.S. The cover photo is one of the only shots I made during a brief business stop back in the States in early November. Shot in the cozy little Jonas Green Park in Annapolis, MD.
Well…this is new. A site update without any photos? What in the world is happening here?
There’s no use in hiding it at this point due to my now-extended absence from the photography world. I am dealing with a long-term sleep disorder that basically doesn’t let my body go into a deep sleep. In a sense, no matter how long I sleep—or how early I hit the sack—I go about the next day with extended exhaustion both in mind and body. Up until mid-Summer, I have been able to deal with the issue on my own, but since then, it has quickly compounded into a vicious cycle that I cannot get out of on my own.
Thankfully, I am close to beginning treatment so I can start building up energy again to do more than just go to work…i.e. go have fun in Japan and make some awesome photos! In spite of the exhaustion I have tried these past couple months to go out and enjoy the country when I can, but my trips nowadays are often short and within a local area that I have already well-photographed before. I do hope that November is the month that I get it all sorted out, as the Fall colors are starting to pop up here in Japan…Kamakura must look nice this time of year…
On a lighter note in the wonderful world of photography gear and tech, Sony decided to release a new flagship APS-c NEX-style camera, the a6500. Oddly, this comes within the same year as the a6300, which is itself a very fine camera. What really sets this one apart though are three big features: IBIS, a huge buffer, and a touchscreen. For my style of shooting, these features have the potential to be HUGE game changers in terms of usability.
As a primarily manual focus, AI-s shooter, the ability to stabilize any lens I put in front of the sensor will help me tremendously in achieving lower-ISO handheld shots on the wide end, and easier-focused photos and videos on the telephoto end for sports and events. The UHS-1 high speed buffer can now hold 107 RAW images at 11fps, with the ability to instantly check on the last shot (provided the buffer isn’t completely full). That’s almost 10 seconds of blazing-fast shooting at full-resolution. My workhorse NEX-7’s buffer and processor would be jealous. Finally, for the few autofocus lenses I use, the touchscreen will make focus point setting easier and faster. Plus, even when the camera is up to the eyes, I can drag the focus point around via the touchscreen.
Sony has proven in their a6000 line that some really fancy, high-performing technology can and will work in a small package. There’s a reason the a6000 is still one of the highest-selling mirrorless cameras on Amazon.com. With that in mind, and after a good amount of thought, I pulled the trigger on a pre-order, and am almost positive I will follow through with the camera as my new primary shooter (NEX-7, old buddy old pal, you’ll retire only when you break down, though!). A large part of me still wants to hold out for a full-frame a9000 or maybe an A9, but I’ve shot APS-c for so long, I’ve gotten great at working around the format’s weaknesses and capitalizing on its strengths. If anything, I imagine a dual a6500/a9000 kit working well in tandem in the near future. Full-frame for wide shots and low-light, APS-c for fast action and telephoto work. Dream-team.
Time will tell, of course, in just how this camera compares in real-world use to my trusty NEX-7 that has easily been to hell and back with me. I can only wonder why Sony would not instead name the camera a7000 to better differentiate it from the still-good a6300. Perhaps in their product pipeline is an even better “flagship” APS-c…with Tri-Navi? Time will tell. That brings me to the end of this photograph-less post, guys and gals. I hope I didn’t ramble on too long for you.🙂 Here’s to hoping that I can start getting more energy soon! As always, thanks for dropping by and have a great day!
As many of my online followers and subscribers have probably noticed, I was conspicuously absent for most of the month of September. To make a long story shorter, I have been dealing with some health issues that prevent me from getting the energy needed to go out and make photos. What a shame, too, given that September was the last full month of warm weather here in Japan. As the calendar changes to October, I can already feel the cool Fall breeze setting in. With any luck, though, I’ll beat my current condition and get back to my shutter-happy self sooner rather than later. After all, with Fall comes lovely color changes in the trees, and the temples here in Japan are absolutely surrounded by flora! Continue Reading
Welcome back to another website update, folks! August marks the last full month of summer, and Japan definitely felt the heat for a lot of the month. I didn’t get to experience the “beach scene” that is apparently super popular here, though I had some personal time a couple weekends to go stand-up paddle-boarding (harder than it looks!) and deep-sea fishing for mahimahi. For the former, I’ve managed to paddle-board over 4 miles without falling off, and the latter, caught hundreds of pounds of fish with a fierce sunburn worn as a battle wound. Continue Reading
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