What a difference just five days can make! Continuing after my last post along the Ooka River in Yokohama, I made sure to return for another walk at just the right time to catch almost the entire area in full bloom! Even though the festival itself was well-finished up at this point, I joined crowds of thousands to partake in the Japanese custom of hanami, simply known as “flower viewing”. The tradition almost always refers to Sakura viewing, however, and with it usually comes the appreciation of the transient beauty of the flowers and their relation to life itself. As such, this time of year usually invokes feelings of joy mixed with a bit of melancholy. Continue Reading
Despite a whole year since my last go-around at CP+, it seems that just a short while ago I was ranting and raving about the latest A7rii and GM lens tech at Sony’s crowded booth. This time around, there were not as many bombshell products to shake up the exhibition hall at Yokohama Porta. The general atmosphere was thankfully much less chaotic as a result, and it gave me a chance to move around and get to see a good deal more than last years’ hour-long product lines. Continue Reading
As I have mentioned many times in previous posts from 2016, I doubt I will ever run out of things to do or see in Japan while I am here. From the countless temples and shrines to the annual festivals across the country, and the meticulously-kept gardens to the many scalable mountains (Fuji-san, I hope to conquer you this summer…), I find it funny that I am beginning to run out of local destinations close to base. Sure, I could probably go to Tokyo and Yokohama five more times each and still not see the half of these cities, but in a lot of ways these cities are a lot of the same that end up lending similar photographic opportunities.
As it stands, I only have time about once or twice a week to go out and explore, and in those times, I am pretty confined to someplace within a couple hours train ride. On the occasional 4-day weekend or two weeks of leave in summer, I have the chance to really go outside my comfort zone like I did in Osaka and Sendai! Otherwise, I end up in these dead months of winter twiddling my thumbs trying to figure out a new and exciting place to visit within arms reach. Thankfully, I am not quite to the point of having seen everything, as I managed a trip with a friend to visit Odawara for a while last weekend on a beautiful but cold Sunday afternoon. Continue Reading
Every now and then, I go on an adventure that pushes me just a bit farther than what I am capable of safely enjoying. That is, of course, just part of the nature of getting out there. Similar to around this time last year, I recently injured my left knee a few weeks ago in almost the same way during a walk around Mount Nokogiri (or Nokogiriyama). The bad news is, just like last year, I was unable to take stairs or even walk correctly for a while. The good news, though, is since I knew exactly what was wrong (compared to a bunch of trouble getting a diagnosis previously…), I could quickly start treatment to recover and move on. With that, and about a month of recovery, I am almost back in business fully! Plus, I managed to get some great photographs and video on my α6500 to boot! Continue Reading
After a good, long run, I can finally say that after this post I am fully caught up with my main photographic adventures from 2016. Save for a few shots here and there (that I may share by themselves on social media), this post joins 27 others from mostly my first year living in Japan. So with that, consider this my “monthly” website update for January, but for the whole year of 2016 as well!
During my break around Christmas, I got to spend some much needed time with friends and family. In addition, I managed to catch up on a lot of sleep that I previously missed out on in my barracks room. Photographically, though, I still wanted to put my new α6500 through its paces to see how it holds up to my style of shooting. If I can ever manage the time, I may write up a real-world review comparing it to my trusty NEX-7. In a sentence though? The α6500 is a far more capable camera than the 5+ year old NEX-7, yet from a manual-control perspective the NEX-7 doesn’t suffer from any of the performance quirks the α6500 exhibits. Continue Reading
Howdy there! Right up to the few days before Christmas, I hoped to get my last couple catch-up posts written up online from Yokohama and Tokyo. Unfortunately for the past six days straight I had work almost the entire day (and evening), so you can imagine all I wanted to do when I made it back to my barracks was sleep! Rest assured, though, the photos aren’t going anywhere soon, and I will work on them upon returning from a two-week hiatus.
Speaking of why I’m taking a break anyway, Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season to all my readers out there, I hope you take note to spend some good time with friends and family, and maybe treat yourself to a little photography gift this year too. C’mon…you know you deserve it! On break I will be photographing and videoing with my new a6500, so we’ll just have to see just what this blocky little camera can do (spoiler: I love it so far…except for it missing Tri-Navi…).
And with that, I leave you with my first photograph to share from the a6500. Actually, it’s 12 photographs stitched together with Lightroom CC, a whopping 87 megapixel file! And if you look a little closely, you may spot a nice little moon “ornament” shining brightly in the center of the tree. Take care guys and gals, I’ll catch you on the flip side. As always, have a great day!
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!