Spring has sprung, as the saying goes, and this year marks my second go-around at one of the more popular times around Japan! Unfortunately for all those involved in planning special events and meals, the main attraction of the fleeting Sakura bloom ended up delayed by about a week in the Kanto region. Persistent cold and cloudy, wet days kept much flora dormant up until only a couple weeks ago. Foolishly hoping that the weather would break and the initial blooming forecasts were correct, I headed out to Yokohama with a couple friends to walk along the Ooka River during their 2-day Cherry Blossom Festival. Continue Reading
I have always been of the mindset that in late winter, if there’s no snow on the ground, most outdoor photography is just plain difficult. It’s still cold, most flora is dead or in hibernation, and days are short enough to limit time out and about. That said, it is hardly an excuse to stay inside. Gloves exist for a reason, not all plants succumb to the elements, and with some careful planning a photographer can still get many hours of adventuring in before the sun sets! 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
Another weekend, another couple days to write up a website post! Japan hosts an abundance of sights to see, and if you live anywhere near the world’s largest megacity, that goes doubly-so! In early December, right near the tail-end of Fall in my area of Japan, I took a midday trip to Minato, a small ward connected to Tokyo by Rainbow Bridge (fitting name, given the title photo…). The purpose of the trip was actually to have some fun at Tokyo Joypolis with a friend (think indoor amusement park/arcade galore), but I am very glad I brought my camera gear with me. There turned out to be a lot to see and photograph! Continue Reading
Ah, I can’t argue with the fact that breaks are nice. Especially around the holidays (if you’re able to avoid the stress!), some well-deserved time off with friends and family can do wonders for the mind and body. My two-week “reset” really helped fix some of my health issues I have been having, notably regarding my sleep. Though it is likely temporary since I am headed back into the same conditions of barracks living like I have lived for the past year, I’m enjoying the respite from exhaustion and sleep deprivation while it lasts.
As such, I am getting out and photographing even in the cold of winter here in Japan, and while I am still working on photographs from late 2016, new sights aren’t going to see themselves around here! Back on the subject of catching up on 2016, this post contains my first adventure into Yokohama, what some consider as the “little brother” to Tokyo. Easier to access, and a bit more spread out than the megacity many around the world already know, Yokohama is a large but manageable Japanese city on its own that holds many attractions for everyone. Best enjoyed with friends, a day trip to Yokohama (this one in the tail-end of November!) is sure to end with some fun and memorable times. 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, day by day, I’m still editing and posting up what’s left of my previous photo excursions into the late November/early December time of year here in Japan. As the chill of winter starts to set in, the flora all around is slowly dying off, with colors fading and leaves falling to be swept up the next day. Pretty soon, the hum-drum of my least favorite season will take over for a few months, leaving me a bit more time to a) Sleep in more b) Work on some lens/gear reviews and c) Hopefully sleep in again some more! Of course, when the cold does get here to stay, I will make my best effort to get some snow shots, maybe even as far north as Hokkaido’s epic snow villages if I get a 3-day weekend.
But, if my current photos have anything to say about it, that time has not yet come! Right near the peak of Fall color in Tokyo, some friends and I headed on a late afternoon trip to the 143-acre Shinjuku National Garden to catch some late November sights. I did not realize just how impressively the park expands into about a third of the size of New York’s Central Park. As are many things in Japan, however, the park is very space-efficient and contains many smaller vistas and gardens for visitors to enjoy, in addition to vast stretches of open field for picnicking and recreational sports. At the super-reasonable 200¥ admission price, I’ll likely see myself coming back again later next year. All photos below with the NEX-7 and Rokinon 16mm f/2, Zeiss Touit 32mm, and Laowa 105mm T3.2 (the last of which I really, really am trying to find time to review!). Continue Reading