Travel

Photographs from a Ferry Ride

Photographs from a Ferry Ride

Recently I was telling a group of photographers at the ARC Conference that “you are not a ‘photographer’, you are more than that.” I really believe this to be true. While we are passionate about our photography work (weddings, family photographs, long-term projects), we are so much more than just a camera person who takes these photos. We are human beings: artists who create with our cameras. And sometimes, this creating leads us to explore other areas other than those that we would normally do in our line of work.

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Seaside Oregon Vintage Dress Photoshoot

Seaside Oregon Vintage Dress Photoshoot

Last year, as part of going on vacation in the beautiful place known as Seaside, Oregon, my wife and I decided on trying a photoshoot that involved a vintage dress and getting it utterly wet. Yup, we took this very beautiful dress and tossed her with it out to sea. 

Kidding. Well, not really. See, we had this inspiration from an article we had read about a vintage find of some amazing photographs…

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March...

March...

March seemed like ages ago but I feel like we're feeling that cold Canadian weather now as we did then. I've taken a lot of images since that time but haven't really had a chance to share them with you all. My walks are usually around Downtown Vancouver but I like to explore other places too, including Chinatown and also areas by the Vancouver Public Library (which is where the sushi photo is from). Occasionally my wife and I get into our car and we make a bee-line for some unknown place... take an exit off the highway and see where it leads. 

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Some Photographs Are Like That

I was going back through my Japan photographs from a trip in 2014 and found this one. Upon my first review I didn't think too much of it but after working with it, I found it actually turned out to be something I like. Some photographs are like that: They take time to mature. Or... another way to put it... your perspective changes and the photograph says something different to you.

From Behind The Camera

Japan really has a special place in our hearts for my wife and I. Some may say they left their hearts in San Francisco but we left ours in Japan. Some day, I would really like to go back as there was just so much to see and do.

Much of the time, when I blog, you see the resulting images of my endeavors but not really how I got that shot. While in Japan, my wife took a few of me while I was actually making the photograph. Here's two of them:

I try to get right in the action while also not being too pushy or aggressive. It's a fine line and one I'm always balancing on all the time.

I try to get right in the action while also not being too pushy or aggressive. It's a fine line and one I'm always balancing on all the time.

Here's the resulting image.

Here's the resulting image.


I was so focused on getting this image, I totally did not notice these two curious on-lookers trying to check out the photograph I was taking. I recall petting them after the image though.

I was so focused on getting this image, I totally did not notice these two curious on-lookers trying to check out the photograph I was taking. I recall petting them after the image though.

Resulting image

Resulting image



Ambleside and Crabs

At the end of the summer, my wife and I had an opportunity to go to Ambleside in West Vancouver one night. I think we just needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air so we packed the camera(s), started the car and drove out.

We arrived to find a few people catching crabs... fishing for crabs... crabbing... actually, I'm not really sure what the correct term is. They had steel traps, raw meat and were lifting out the traps with local dungeness crabs (and the occasional curious star fish).

Crabbing reminds me of old family summer getaways and trips to local lakes and beaches. I definitely would not mind trying it again but for now I'll just document it.

A Visit To Japan - Part 4

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove led us to an intersection that allowed us to head in different directions. Head North and you can see some of the larger temple areas. Head South and walk along the river towards a famous bridge and potentially a monkey park. We opted instead to go up the nearby hill, which led us to a place called "Okouchi Sansou."

After exploring the beautiful and peaceful gardens of Okouchi Sansou, slept and made our trip the next day to the famous Kiyomizu-dera temple. It is here where we decided to have a little fun and dress up in kimonos. I have to say that I was not used to walking around in wooden sandals and a heavy gown but it was surprisingly comfortable despite walking up and down the hilly area of Kiyomizu-dera. 

We later visited the area of Nara, which is a city a good distance away from Kyoto. It is here that deer roam freely in some of the parks and are quite tame... right up until they realize you have food or food-like objects on you.

At this point in the trip, I was starting to run out of film and decided to conserve my shots. With just a few frames left on a roll of black and white film, I took photographs of the Fushimi-Inari Shrine at night (we arrived quite late and were literally poking around in the haunting darkness) and finished the roll with just a few frames left in the geisha area known as Gion in Kyoto.

A section of Okouchi-Sanso

A section of Okouchi-Sanso

Okouchi-sanso

Okouchi-sanso

Okouchi-sanso

Okouchi-sanso

Okouchi-sanso

Okouchi-sanso

Okouchi-sanso

Okouchi-sanso

Okouchi-sanso

Okouchi-sanso

The fences in the bamboo grove are made of... bamboo!

The fences in the bamboo grove are made of... bamboo!

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Rental Kimono Okamoto in Kiyomizu-dera

Rental Kimono Okamoto in Kiyomizu-dera

Rental Kimono Okamoto in Kiyomizu-dera

Rental Kimono Okamoto in Kiyomizu-dera

:)

:)

Children school groups were everywhere in Kiyomizu-dera.

Children school groups were everywhere in Kiyomizu-dera.

Kiyomizu-dera temple

Kiyomizu-dera temple

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Deer of Nara

Deer of Nara

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With onlookers like myself looking on, two guys from a shop in Nara pound and create delicious mochi the old-fashioned way.

With onlookers like myself looking on, two guys from a shop in Nara pound and create delicious mochi the old-fashioned way.

The Fushimi Inari shrine area has a hike that goes for about two hours through these torii style gates. As we arrived very late, it started to get very dark very quickly. Before we knew it, we were enveloped in darkness going through a trail in Japan in almost absolute quiet. After we noticed it starting to elevate and we found ourselves stumbling in the dark, we decided to turn around and call it a day. 

The Fushimi Inari shrine area has a hike that goes for about two hours through these torii style gates. As we arrived very late, it started to get very dark very quickly. Before we knew it, we were enveloped in darkness going through a trail in Japan in almost absolute quiet. After we noticed it starting to elevate and we found ourselves stumbling in the dark, we decided to turn around and call it a day. 

This last images was actually my absolute last frame of film on me. Serendipitously, we ran into a group of maiko (or people dressed up as maiko) and I asked if they were OK with my taking their photo. They were cool with it and I took the photo and that was it... my film was done!

This last images was actually my absolute last frame of film on me. Serendipitously, we ran into a group of maiko (or people dressed up as maiko) and I asked if they were OK with my taking their photo. They were cool with it and I took the photo and that was it... my film was done!

A Visit To Japan - Part 3

In the third leg of our trip, we experienced the contrasts of the harsh realities of Hiroshima with the beautiful nature of Kyoto. To me, visiting the Atomic Bomb Museum has always been an unsettling but very insightful experience. However, Hiroshima is not all about tragedy. The city has some great food (like the Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki (a Japanese-style savoury pancake)) and an amazing love for their baseball team (the Hiroshima Cardinals) that rivals that of Canucks fans here in Vancouver. If it's game day in Hiroshima, you'll probably see many red shirts and red baseball caps. 

One spectacular event that we narrowly missed being in the center of (at least in our part of Hiroshima) was Typhoon Vongfong. On the day we visited the Peace Memorial Park (where the Atomic Bomb Museum is), we experienced hard-beating rains and at times even blustery winds that led the JR Hiroshima Station making announcements such as "go home immediately". We were slated to go to Miyajima Island after our visit to the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Memorial Park but decided to be safe instead and instead spent the afternoon shopping at the local Hiroshima Mall that was built around the JR Hiroshima station. That night, we stayed in our Japanese-style hostel room and rested and watched japanese game shows and ate snacks while the winds blasted against the windows. 

In the end, when we awoke the next morning, we saw no obvious damage nor any evidence that a super typhoon had passed our way. In fact, as we left that morning to go to Kyoto, we were greeted by blue sky and a bright sunny day. This weather led to a great experience in the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest just outside of Kyoto city.

Our Japanese-style hostel room in Hiroshima. 

Our Japanese-style hostel room in Hiroshima. 

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This was in the quiet streets next to our hostel. These things were literally everywhere.

This was in the quiet streets next to our hostel. These things were literally everywhere.

Restored remains of the Genbaku Dome in Hiroshima

Restored remains of the Genbaku Dome in Hiroshima

Inside the Peace Memorial Museum

Inside the Peace Memorial Museum

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Despite heavy typhoon rains and wind, the next day we were greeted by sun.

Despite heavy typhoon rains and wind, the next day we were greeted by sun.

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In the Arashiyama area just outside of Kyoto, there is a bamboo forest.

In the Arashiyama area just outside of Kyoto, there is a bamboo forest.

More to follow in the final post - Part 4.

A Visit To Japan - Part 2

One of the places we wanted to go while in Japan was the place with the "big lantern". We had seen it on NHK's Tokyo Eye special program and thought that it would be a great place to check out. When we arrived, we were unprepared for the crowds of people who thought it also a great place to visit. While I was aware that the tourist areas were going to be busy, I didn't anticipate them to be as busy as they were! As a result, my wife and I meandered over to the side streets and alleys away from the main tourist area. It's in these alleys and side streets that we found Japanese strip malls, unique shops and some amazing food delicacies.

I highly recommended that you visit a small stall in the Senso-ji area (on one of the side streets) that makes deep fried curry buns. Although I don't have a photograph here, please take my word for it.... they were well worth every yen we paid.

The "big red lantern" is located in a temple called Senso-Ji in the Tokyo district (city?) of Asakusa. We spent a good day there and tagged a trip to the high-end Ginza district along the way.

Yamanote Line, Tokyo

Yamanote Line, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo - the person in the middle of the frame is riding their bicycle and using their cellphone at the same time. People in Japan ride their bicycles... a lot.

Asakusa, Tokyo - the person in the middle of the frame is riding their bicycle and using their cellphone at the same time. People in Japan ride their bicycles... a lot.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - What you don't see in this image is the intense amount of activity and also the sheer amount of people around us. The large lantern is currently behind me and this long pavilion leads up to the main temple area just barely visible in the distance. All along the sides are various shops selling various snacks and souvenir trinkets.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - What you don't see in this image is the intense amount of activity and also the sheer amount of people around us. The large lantern is currently behind me and this long pavilion leads up to the main temple area just barely visible in the distance. All along the sides are various shops selling various snacks and souvenir trinkets.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - We did not realize it at the time but around this time (mid-October) was when Japanese students went on field trips to famous places.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - We did not realize it at the time but around this time (mid-October) was when Japanese students went on field trips to famous places.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - just a few side steps away from the main shopping area, It's a lot quieter here. A few uniquely painted Japanese fans pictured here.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - just a few side steps away from the main shopping area, It's a lot quieter here. A few uniquely painted Japanese fans pictured here.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - This area was off to the side of the main area. Note the quiet (so far) alley way in the background filled with various shops.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - This area was off to the side of the main area. Note the quiet (so far) alley way in the background filled with various shops.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Off to the side of the main area. We ended up following this road that was connected to the main area. It was a quiet(er) and quaint little shopping area. As there were a lot less people here (squeezing past people is not always fun), we spent most of our time in this area. This was where we found the really tasty deep-fried curry buns!

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Off to the side of the main area. We ended up following this road that was connected to the main area. It was a quiet(er) and quaint little shopping area. As there were a lot less people here (squeezing past people is not always fun), we spent most of our time in this area. This was where we found the really tasty deep-fried curry buns!

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - There was a little shop called "Good Fellows" that sold American style popcorn... in Japan!

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - There was a little shop called "Good Fellows" that sold American style popcorn... in Japan!

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Back to the main pavilion.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Back to the main pavilion.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - stores like this sold a variety of delicious baked goods. 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - stores like this sold a variety of delicious baked goods. 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - the main temple area.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - the main temple area.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - people would pull the smoke coming from this large incense pot onto themselves as a form of cleansing before entering the temple.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - people would pull the smoke coming from this large incense pot onto themselves as a form of cleansing before entering the temple.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - you could hear the coins drop in between the wooden separations just before people prayed.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - you could hear the coins drop in between the wooden separations just before people prayed.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - off to the side of the main temple was a beautiful koi pond.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - off to the side of the main temple was a beautiful koi pond.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Off to the side of the temple area. My wife and I were both a little hungry and wanted to have something to eat. I can't recall how we found this place (it was on a quiet street farther away from the busy temple and pavilion area) but the food was amazing! I could taste the chef's passion in the food. Also, the washrooms were really clean! 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Off to the side of the temple area. My wife and I were both a little hungry and wanted to have something to eat. I can't recall how we found this place (it was on a quiet street farther away from the busy temple and pavilion area) but the food was amazing! I could taste the chef's passion in the food. Also, the washrooms were really clean! 

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Rickshaws are still quite popular in the tourist areas of Japan.

Senso-ji (Asakusa), Tokyo - Rickshaws are still quite popular in the tourist areas of Japan.

Asakusa, Tokyo

Asakusa, Tokyo

Ginza, Tokyo - Occasionally you would see monks on the street with their eyes covered by their hats. 

Ginza, Tokyo - Occasionally you would see monks on the street with their eyes covered by their hats. 

Ginza, Tokyo - a quiet alley way just off the main street,

Ginza, Tokyo - a quiet alley way just off the main street,

Ikkebukuro, Tokyo - we were surprised to come back to Ikkebukuro to find a parade happening on the main streets! I don't think there was any national holiday happening at this time (early-mid October). Some people just like to party :)

Ikkebukuro, Tokyo - we were surprised to come back to Ikkebukuro to find a parade happening on the main streets! I don't think there was any national holiday happening at this time (early-mid October). Some people just like to party :)

Yamanote Line, Tokyo - people in Japan are exceptionally quiet on the train. It is customary to NOT speak loudly on the train and people keep conversations to themselves. 

Yamanote Line, Tokyo - people in Japan are exceptionally quiet on the train. It is customary to NOT speak loudly on the train and people keep conversations to themselves. 

Aboard the Shinkansen, somewhere in Japan - After time with relatives, we boarded the Japanese bullet train and headed for Hiroshima.

Aboard the Shinkansen, somewhere in Japan - After time with relatives, we boarded the Japanese bullet train and headed for Hiroshima.

Part III following soon.

A Visit To Japan - Part 1

My wife and I took some time out for ourselves and finally went on a trip that we had been planning for a while: Japan.

Even with 2 weeks to explore, we both felt that there was so much more we could see. 2 weeks was not enough time to see all the places that there was to explore. While we did visit the normal "touristy" spots, we had the most enjoyment in the little "nooks and crannies" and things in the alleyways of the main streets: hidden tempura restaurants, little unique stores, quiet(er) neighborhoods, bamboo groves, Japan life.

Amidst taking images of large red lanterns with throngs of tourists as well as our 7&i Holdings (aka 7-11 in Japan) dinner(s), I took some time to take images of life in Japan as it was. Yes, I wanted to document Japan :)

From scrambling through the Narita Airport to get on the NEX Airport Express to trying to find our hostel in the darkness of night in Ikkebukuro, our journey truly started as an adventure. Thanks to street view and googlemaps, we successfully found the place and slept for the night to rest after a long flight. We awoke to explore an amazing city and an amazing country. 

Vancouver, YRV Airport - The new departure terminal for International flights is amazingly beautiful!

Vancouver, YRV Airport - The new departure terminal for International flights is amazingly beautiful!

Shinjuku, Tokyo

Shinjuku, Tokyo

Shinjuku, Tokyo

Shinjuku, Tokyo

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - Roppongi was quite a nice place. We visited an area called Tokyo Midtown, which had some amazing examples of architecture and design. 

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - Roppongi was quite a nice place. We visited an area called Tokyo Midtown, which had some amazing examples of architecture and design. 

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - I focused here on the person with the umbrella.

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - I focused here on the person with the umbrella.

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo 

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo 

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - This was taken in the library section of a design gallery that we visited. 

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - This was taken in the library section of a design gallery that we visited. 

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - A pet-focused store inside the mall with a grooming area in the back.

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - A pet-focused store inside the mall with a grooming area in the back.

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - This place was very quiet in the morning but became very lively around lunch time as droves of office workers came down from their offices to have a bite to eat.

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - This place was very quiet in the morning but became very lively around lunch time as droves of office workers came down from their offices to have a bite to eat.

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - One of our many amazing Japanese meals. The chicken karaage here was delicious!

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - One of our many amazing Japanese meals. The chicken karaage here was delicious!

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - Taken from inside the restaurant where we had the chicken karaage.

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - Taken from inside the restaurant where we had the chicken karaage.

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - Kimonos are quite common in Japan.

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - Kimonos are quite common in Japan.

Roppongi (Tokyo Tower), Tokyo - We did the tourist thing and took a ride up the Tokyo Tower and were blessed with amazing panoramic views of the great city that is Tokyo. Here, I decided to take photographs of the others staring out at the amazing sight. 

Roppongi (Tokyo Tower), Tokyo - We did the tourist thing and took a ride up the Tokyo Tower and were blessed with amazing panoramic views of the great city that is Tokyo. Here, I decided to take photographs of the others staring out at the amazing sight. 

Roppongi (Tokyo Tower), Tokyo - And the clouds parted :)

Roppongi (Tokyo Tower), Tokyo - And the clouds parted :)

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - Cafe level

Roppongi (Tokyo Midtown), Tokyo - Cafe level

Shibuya, Tokyo - Shibuya Station has a whole wall and a statue dedicated to Hachiko, the dog.

Shibuya, Tokyo - Shibuya Station has a whole wall and a statue dedicated to Hachiko, the dog.

Shibuya, Tokyo

Shibuya, Tokyo

Tokyo - At an intersection as we made a way to our train to head to Mitaka.

Tokyo - At an intersection as we made a way to our train to head to Mitaka.

Mitaka, Tokyo - We boarded the yellow Ghibli bus as we made our way to the Ghibli Museum. 

Mitaka, Tokyo - We boarded the yellow Ghibli bus as we made our way to the Ghibli Museum. 

Mitaka (Ghibli Museum), Tokyo

Mitaka (Ghibli Museum), Tokyo

Mitaka (Ghibli Museum), Tokyo - We were not allowed to take photographs inside so I took as many as I could of the outside. This is a robot (about true-to-life size) featured in the film "Castle in the Sky" (Laputa). 

Mitaka (Ghibli Museum), Tokyo - We were not allowed to take photographs inside so I took as many as I could of the outside. This is a robot (about true-to-life size) featured in the film "Castle in the Sky" (Laputa). 

Yamanote Line, Tokyo - If you time it wrong, you run into the busy Tokyo traffic. I don't recall which station this was but during rush hour they all seem this busy.

Yamanote Line, Tokyo - If you time it wrong, you run into the busy Tokyo traffic. I don't recall which station this was but during rush hour they all seem this busy.

Ikkebukuro, Tokyo - A view from our hotel room. Many of the places we stayed in were actually in the alleys of Japan. Japanese alleys are pretty amazing. Usually they are very clean and they have a ton of neat surprises: unique shops, restaurants, small businesses, etc.

Ikkebukuro, Tokyo - A view from our hotel room. Many of the places we stayed in were actually in the alleys of Japan. Japanese alleys are pretty amazing. Usually they are very clean and they have a ton of neat surprises: unique shops, restaurants, small businesses, etc.

Ikkebukuro, Tokyo - Ramen! While we love ramen in Vancouver, there is nothing quite like a Japanese ramen in Japan

Ikkebukuro, Tokyo - Ramen! While we love ramen in Vancouver, there is nothing quite like a Japanese ramen in Japan

Part II coming up!


Camera tech info:

Color - Kodak Pro Color 100 on Olympus OM4 + 50mm F1.8
B&W - Kodak TMAX 400 on Leica M6 + CV 35mm F1.2