The spirit and tone of sightseeing varies greatly depending on who you are with, the weather of the day, as well as whether or not you brought a camera along. The last time I visited Kamakura, my camera gear had not yet arrived to Japan. Granted, it was also December, and a little too cold14 to be holding a camera all day. For a long time, I wanted to go back to this historically significant city and take a closer look around with my trusty camera in tow. Continue Reading
Yet again I find that every day whizzes by faster and faster as I stay in Japan, with the months only feeling as if one or two weeks are passing. It’s not bad for getting through weeks quickly to enjoy weekends and time off, but it can make enjoying what time I do have off feel a bit forced and rushed.
To counteract this, I’ve had to mostly abandon my past way of urban exploration—that is, just “getting out there” with my camera and looking for photos. Now, I am trying to adopt a planned approach that puts me around places of interest where I am more likely to find good opportunities to make photographs. This way, I have a general direction to head, while still giving me room to explore freely. From the few trips I have planned out so far, it seems to be working out pretty well!
But, onto this little site update! This past month I got to photograph a lot of subjects, but unfortunately not all of it was for personal use. I did take a nice day trip to the Sumida/Asakusa area of Tokyo and stumbled upon a fun festival in the process, however. Without a doubt, I want to attend as many festivals as I can while I am stationed here. The atmosphere is joyful all around, and many unique photo opportunities present themselves with all the action. During a work trip to the 77th Shimoda Blackship Festival, I got to photograph a low-light performance from one of our ensembles with my trusty 200mm f/2. Unfortunately, since they are official photographs, I cannot release them here.
Main music gigs aside, I made a point to get another trip in this month for some photographs and personal exploring, and today happened to be that day. Soon to come in a website post of its own (in 1-2 days), I visited Kamakura again, this time with camera in hand. The historic city is filled with temples and shrines, as well as hiking trails and great hole-in-the-wall eateries. The feature shot of this post comes from one of those temples, but I won’t give away what or where it is just yet!
In other camera-world news, there is not much to report. The d500 got reviewed at DPReview.com, and as it deserves, received the highest score any camera has ever gotten, beating even the A7r II (albeit by 1 arbitrary percentage point). Great news for users like me who used to shoot the d300 and wished for an upgraded body for years. Due possibly to the Kumamoto earthquake, Sony has not announced anything this month in the way of cameras or lenses. Here’s to hoping the area can recover as best it can so the people and lives affected can return to normal.
However! One announcement I gave away in a comment reply last month…a couple months ago I mentioned wanting to pursue another lens purchase, since I have not gotten a lens in well over two years. Venus Optics’ Laowa 105mm f/2 STF lens caught my eye since its announcement in early spring this year. ePhotozine (one of the few lens review sites I know of that is relatively unbiased and straightforward in their review process) reviewed a production copy of the lens and gave it surprisingly high marks. So, after reading through it, I punched the buy-it-now button to get myself a copy! I can’t wait to review this unique and (hopefully) high-performing lens, but more importantly, I can’t wait to shoot with it and make some great photographs! As some of you original subscribers may know, my very first prime lens I purchased was the venerable Nikon 105mm f/1.8 AI-s, a classic fast prime that I still use to this day! With the extra apodization element, the light transmission is not as fast as the f/1.8 AI-s, but the modern optics and STF tech should provide much sharper images with a MUCH better bokeh quality.
So…you could say I’m pretty pumped. Stand by for late June when it is supposed to arrive in my PO box. 😀
That’s all for this update, guys and gals, thanks for dropping by! As mentioned, I hope to get those Kamakura photos up quickly, and here in a couple weeks I will have even more photo opportunities in southern Japan! The annual Rice Planting Festival looks very promising in Osaka…As always, have a great day!