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.Read More
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…
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.Read More
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
More to follow in the final post - Part 4.
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.
Part III following soon.
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.
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