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Main > Photoblog

April 29, 2006

California High Desert, One

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CameraHolgaroid 120GF
LensHolga Glass 60mm f/8
Shutter @ Aperture1/100s @ f/8
Film / ISOPolaroid Type 89 / 100 ISO

Taken outside of Lancaster, California in the high desert.

During the spring time, the high desert is so colorful and awe inspiring that no matter the window you put to the world it still looks impressive.

A funny little story from this field: after I took this shot my brother wanted to take one as well. I gave him the camera and started to walk back towards the car, a distance of perhaps 100 meters. The wind was cold and strong and I didn't want to risk having the wind snatch any trash from my hand into this beautiful country and the car offered perfect shelter in which to dispose of the rather wasteful Polaroid 80 process.

My brother came back to the car, unopened and developing Polaroid exposure in hand but with no camera! He had left it among the poppies! We had to carefully retrace our steps on the trailless land looking for this grouping of scrub in order to find where he set down the camera. Ha ha.

My brother and I could loose anything anywhere. It runs in the family. Once he managed to leave two meter and a half walking sticks that we had just used to climb mount Fuji with on a bullet train destined for Akita after we had just disembarked in Tokyo. Surprisingly, due mostly to the attentiveness of the Japanese cleaning crew, we got them back later that same day!

Similarly, I had once left my camera bag with about US$5,000 worth of equipment in it in a park full of "troubled" drunk and drinking Japanese youth at 1:00am. After having walked back a half-mile to the apartment in which we were staying, laying down to rest, I awoke at 2:00 am to realized my error! I returned only to find that a group of mean looking kids had been watching it for me, just in case somebody dishonest would have been interested in taking it. My brother and I owe a lot to the honesty of the Japanese and the emptiness of the high desert.

 

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April 24, 2006

Evan at Ozu's Grave

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CameraKonica Minolta MAXXUM 7D
Lens (35mm Equiv.)Minolta 24mm f/2.8 (36 mm)
Exp. Prog. / Shutter @ ApertureAperture priority / 1/200 s @ f/5
Metering w/Adj. @ ISOSpot w/0.00 eV @ 200

...a continuation from a few days ago.

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Following printouts of excellent directions we found on-line, we finally made it to Ozu's gravesite: a giant polished granite block carved with the Japanese character "mu" on it. "Mu" more or less means "not anything."

Why Ozu Yasujiro would have this emblazed on his grave, I'm not sure. But I do know a story invovling the character "mu" as told in the form of a Zen Koan.

In short, a monk asked a Great Master Shinsai of Joshu, "Does even a dog have the Buddha-nature or not?

The reply from the monk was simple, "mu."

It was really quiet in the graveyard. Evan and I dwelled in the shade for awhile to escape the heat before we took a walk back to the train station and went into the city of Kamakura to go and find the Daibutsu.

I haven't bothered to try and translate the characters off to the left of "mu" (see detail, left). Are there any Japanese-speakers out there who might be able to enlighten me?

 

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April 23, 2006

Pontius Pilot

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One week ago and a day we were driving up to the high desert towards Lancaster, California. My father's financee Lauren told us we should stop in Vasquez and look at the Vasquez rock formation: a sedimentary stratum of geology jutting up and away from the Earth at a 30 degree angle no doubt the result of some earthquake long ago.

It was the day before Easter Sunday and we were surprised to find the place overrun with people looking as though they had been born from a nativity scene: brightly colored Israelite-themed clothing plus the odd roman soldier.

CameraHolgaroid 120GF
LensHolga Glass 60mm f/8
Shutter @ Aperture1/100s @ f/8
Film / ISOPolaroid Type 84 / 100 ISO

My dad sprang from the car like an excited child to an amusement park with his camera in hand to go off and interview people. I climbed a round on the rocks a bit with my brother who was wearing a pair of custom made goggles with IR filters. To these godly country folk we must have appeared to be aliens from another planet.

They were putting on a passion reenactment, the crucifiction of Jesus. Later I talked to Pontius Pilot and got the skinny that they were rehearsing for their 5:00am Easter Sunday performance. I asked to take his picture and I popped the Holga on him.

When we looked at the resulting photograph I think we both appreciated how the aesthetic of the resultant image and the theatrical subject both appeared to be misplaced in time.

 

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April 22, 2006

Back From the Dead

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CameraHolgaroid 120GF
LensHolga Glass 60mm f/8
Shutter @ Aperture1/100s @ f/8
Film / ISOPolaroid Type 84 / 100 ISO

Spring in Minnesota is such a nice time of year. The snow yields and the ground begins to green. Tiny buds and flowers appear to make the trees illuminate in soft pastels. The sun begins to feel warm again.

As beautiful and welcomed as these seasonal changes are they do not come without caution: rivers may flood their banks, leaf-clogged sewers can back up, and sneezy itchy-eyed allergy suffers begin to contemplate suicide. Spring comes not without its costs.

Part of the attrition this year was our dear household mail and web server. A fan died and the sun-warmed heat of the office was enough to cook something (processor or RAM, I haven't determined which yet) to death akin to leaving a puppy in a closed vehicle in July. Luckily I'm the type of nerd that happens to have enough parts on hand to construct a replacement.

The old server died exactly the day I returned from vacation in California. I was in a chipper mood and had everything backed up so it didn't really bum me out much.

In fact I was ecstatic from the glow of a purchase of a brand new . In fact, I believe to be the last purchaser of this discontinued back from Freestyle Photo. I have already put it to good use.

Last week my father, his financee, brother and I drove out to the high desert north east of L.A; out near Lancaster. We drove up there to observe the annual spring blooming of the California Poppies.

The above portrait of me was taken by my brother out in a field off a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

 

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April 5, 2006

Japanese Maples in Front of Engakuji

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My brother Evan researched instructions to find Yasujiro Ozu's grave and Engakuji (円覚寺) temple was the first stop.

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Engakuji is just a short one and a half hour train ride out of Tokyo and it makes for a good escape. It is wonderful to get away from all the concrete and noise of the city and excurse towards the ocean. Being welcomed by these gorgeous Japanese maples into the tranquil domain of the temple seemed like scenery directly from Ozu.

This shot is trite. Nothing says "Western Interpretation of Canned Zen" better than out of focus foilage with a temple backdrop more than maples in Japan. Well, I guess at least they are not cherry blossums!

I remember from last year, when I was composing this shot, how it was more of a personal marker to help tell the story of going to find Ozu. I loaded it up in the image editor tonight and scrubbed it up enough to feel that I had made it post worthy.

 

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March 25, 2006

The Moment of Inception

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My dad sent this picture to me in an e-mail last week. He called and called to make sure that I would print it and put it in my office as well as post it on my photoblog.

When my dad lived in Minneapolis, he had a copy of this photograph hanging on the refrigerator. Next to it was a picture of my brother at a similar age with a guitar in his hands. Whenever we would have a new guest come over he would make sure to point out both of these pictures and say, "these were their moments of inception."

Someone had to expose us and encourage us in those situations. Thank you dad!

 

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March 23, 2006

Evan, Film at 11

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CameraKonica Minolta MAXXUM 7D
Lens (35mm Equiv.)Minolta 50mm f/1.4 (75 mm)
Exp. Prog. / Shutter @ ApertureAperture priority / 1/640 s @ f/3.5
Metering w/Adj. @ ISOCenter weighted average w/0.00 eV @ 100

When Evan and I departed for Japan, I took my DSLR and Evan packed his video camera. He had every intention of faithfully documenting the trip but we found out by the first tape change that the write head had failed. Our footage was lost.

It's too bad.

This was the portion of the trip that Evan wanted to film most. The major reason he had chosen to come to Japan was to travel to Kamakura to find the grave of the esteemed golden-era Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu.

Evan wanted to take out his camera after arriving at the station to establish location and shoot a sweeping shot of the high school students milling about. I stood just outside of his frame and saw the train approaching behind him. I waited until it was in just the right places before snapping this photo.

 

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March 18, 2006

Japanese Homeless

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CameraKonica Minolta MAXXUM 7D
Lens (35mm Equiv.)Sigma 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 160 mm (240 mm)
Exp. Prog. / Shutter @ ApertureNormal Program / 1/125 s @ f/4.5
Metering w/Adj. @ ISOCenter weighted average w/0.30 eV @ 100

Homelessness in Tokyo stands as a sharp contrast to the rest of the cities gleaming, post-industrial image. Whisked out of the public eye and congregated into parks, Tokyo's homeless often hold jobs but are unable to afford housing in one of the world's most expensive cities.

 

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March 15, 2006

Frustration

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CameraKonica Minolta MAXXUM 7D
Lens (35mm Equiv.)Sigma 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 135 mm (202 mm)
Exp. Prog. / Shutter @ ApertureNormal Program / 1/80 s @ f/4.5
Metering w/Adj. @ ISOCenter weighted average w/0.00 eV @ 100

It can be hard sometimes to travel with family. Traveling with your older brother to a foreign country doubly so.

It can be fun to take your camera to an urban park in Tokyo. Using a long lens to catch peple unawares doubly so.

When the these premsis meet the above is the result.

I love my brother and I am very glad that he's coming back to town for has Spring Break on Saturday. Some Spring Break up here in Minnesota. We've just got a fresh 18 inches of snow on Monday!

 

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March 14, 2006

Sun Bather on a Concrete Beach

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CameraKonica Minolta MAXXUM 7D
Lens (35mm Equiv.)Sigma 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 300 mm (450 mm)
Exp. Prog. / Shutter @ ApertureNormal Program / 1/160 s @ f/5.6
Metering w/Adj. @ ISOCenter weighted average w/0.00 eV @ 100

My brother, friend Jesse, and I had finished looking out from atop the Tokyo Tocho building in Shinjuku and walked over to small square with a little pond and waterfall.

After sitting down for a rest I saw this guy come zooming into the park on his little bike and as quickly as he could he tore his shirt, took off shoes and, laying upon them, begun to sunbathe on the hot concrete. I was amazed.

Unfortunately I wasn't quite amazed enough to get this shot perfect. The highlights are a little blown and the sharpness is off. I remember that it was the end of the day and I was running a little low on flash at the point. Well, I wanted to share the story anyway.

 

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