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Main > Photoblog

March 9, 2006

Cone Hunting

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 75mm
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/5
ISO (Adj.)200 (+0.30 EV)

I can’t stand in line at the store
The mean little people are such a bore
But it’s alright if you act like a turd
’causeI like
Birds

After our hike around Sensoji Temple, we walked up the street for a Japanese classic: mattya soft-serve ice cream. There was a small flock of pigeons nearby. They were fighting over a cone that was left behind by someone. I couldn't resist but to take more pictures. The luxury of digital: to press the button just to press the button.

I got lucky with the depth of field on this one, I think; everything that should be in focus is and everything that should be out is out.

 

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March 6, 2006

Displeased

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 135mm
Shutter / Aperture1/80s / f/4.5
ISO (Adj.)400 (+0.30 EV)

I spied this lady's expression from across the prominade area of the temple and couldn't resist but to take a picture. She looks completely displeased with something. If I had to wear that uniform everyday and work with tourists I guess don't blame her for being a little sour.

 

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March 2, 2006

Temple Roof

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 280mm
Shutter / Aperture1/1600s / f/6.3
ISO400

At the risk of getting a reputation for either liking telephoto or swastika containing shots too much I offer the following shot today.

Part of the fun of carrying a compact telephoto lens around with you is that—given that it's bright enough—you've got a great spyglass in your bag with which you can examine an object up close. And what's more, if you like what you see you can save it for posterity. I was surprised to see how intricate the tile work was. I only wish I had a wide shot so I could give you a sense of scale.

 

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February 28, 2006

Evan Ties One On

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensSigma 100-300mm f/4-5.6 @ 300mm
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/7.1
ISO (Adj.)200 (+0.30 EV)

This is my brother Evan; everything about him is amazing and unique. He is the entire reason for this second photo series on Japan, and the entire reason that I showed up twice in Japan in one year for a vacation.

I promised him a trip to anywhere he wanted to go in the world when he graduated from high school and if he at least applied to go to college. He readily chose Japan as our destination, almost exclusively to see the nation that produced people such as Yasujiro Ozu who's grave we later went to go and visit.

My brother has a near encyclopedic memory for anything he gets interested in. I've never seen such a breadth of knowledge so vast in a person so young. He always makes me feel uncultured.

We stayed on for a little shy of a week in Tokyo with my friend Jesse. While there we took Evan up to see Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Part of the temple experience is to receive your fortune.

The process is simple, you walk up to the fortune area, deposit 100 yen (about a dollar) and pick up a cylinder filled with sticks. You shake the cylindar and turn it over such that a single stick protrudes from the opening of the can. You remove it and match the number on the stick to a drawer in the fortune area. When you open the drawer there is a little piece of paper containing your fortune.

Both Evan and I took our fortunes. Evan's was just about as bad as a fortune could be. Moving was going to be difficult, he would have no love, studies were going to be hard, his health rocky. Mine was as good as it gets; everything was going to be terrific. Was it true? I'm not sure, but I do know Evan had a pretty tough year as a freshman in college...but who doesn't?

My favorite part of this process is that if you have a bad fortune, you tie it on a piece of wire along with the other bad fortunes. Monks will then say a blessing over the bad fortunes and burn them to ward off the bad luck. If on the other hand you have a good fortune, like myself, you have to do nothing more than carry it with you and impress your friends with your amazing luck.

I'll admit to doing the cheesy tourist/brotherly thing and I had him pose there after he tied it on. Look at how cute he is. Awe...it was totally worth it. You either love the depth of field and perspective compression of the long lens or you hate it. I'm a big fan of that effect for moments like these if for nothing but to create visual intamacy with the subject.

See that little watch on his right arm? We found that cheap lady's watch on the sidewalk of Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis after a really fun night of shooting. I loaded my SLR with fresh film and Evan packed his camcorder and we threw caution to the wind and interviewed and shot candids of street life all night long. It fantastic time and one I hope we get to repeat again.

 

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February 27, 2006

The Wheel of Dharma

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 24mm f/2.8
Shutter / Aperture1/100s / f/3.5
ISO200

I'm back and ready to have my website banned by all of France!

Before some Internet censor bureaucrat gets their undies in a bunch, this isn't the Nazi symbol of yore: this is a Buddhist swastika on one of the huge temple lanterns at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. It is left facing, techinically making it a omote manji ("front-facing swastika") representing love and mercy. How is that for a symbolic diachotomy?

The highlights are a little blown in the right of this image. Hey, the site would be called "awesome wonderocrity" if I shot perfect frames. This one is definately in the mediocre category. Nonetheless, Japanese temples can offer some challenging shooting characteristics, especially around noontime.

There are the throngs of tourists to contend against for photos. Also, the ground is often composed of stark white gravel instantly blowing out both wide shots of architecture as well as causing difficult reflections onto the more reflective surfaces in the shadows. That is exactly what happened here.

My life is once again in order and I am going to posting much more often with a goal of getting back up to five days a week. Don't take me off that RSS feed just yet!

 

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January 30, 2006

Asakusa Sensoji Temple Pagoda

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 24mm f/2.8
Shutter / Aperture1/250s / f/7.1
ISO100

Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo is one of the most easily accessible cultural landmarks in the entire city. As such, one can expect a ton of crowds.

Going on a weekday as my friend Jesse, my brother Evan, and I did made this personless shot of the pagoda possible although I still had to wait for several minutes for the view to clear.

 

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January 26, 2006

Separated

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 24mm f/2.8
Shutter / Aperture1/100s / f/4
ISO1600

I took this picture from waist-level while walking through Akihabara.

 

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January 18, 2006

Tokyo Tocho Plaza

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensMinolta 24mm f/2.8
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/7.1
ISO200

What's that you say? You want to see more pictures from Japan? Well then, you're in luck! A so begins a new series...

In August of 2005 I made good on a promise to my brother: I had promised him that if he graduated from High School and at least made an application to college that I would gift to him a trip to any country he wanted to visit in the world. All he had to do was point it out on the map, he and I would go together, and I would pay for everything! Not a bad deal, huh?

Well he graduated and so I bought a couple of plane tickets and rail passes for Japan and we hit the skies.

One of the first places that I wanted to take him was the Tokyo Tocho (東京都庁) because from my experience from the top one can see perhaps the best view of metropolitan Tokyo and even perhaps best of all: it's free. From the top, one can get a sense of the massive sprawl, disorder, and incomprehensible density of the city. Three-hundred and sixty degrees of gray concrete stretching out to the horizons.

This picture was the first attempt at going to the tower this trip. I had forgotten that it was closed on Sunday (oops! I should have known that!) But we had fun walking around Shinjuku none the less, plus I snapped a picture of this man enjoying the relative quiet of one of the the governmental building's plazas.

 

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January 11, 2006

I'm In the Mood

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 28mm
Shutter / Aperture1/125s / f/4.5
ISO1600

After four hours of observing the varity of ways in which various ocean animalia can be slaughtered and dismantled, one wishes to do nothing more than to eat. And what better to eat than seafood!

Conveniently, there are a large number of fresh seafood restaurants just surrounding Tsukiji fish market. In order to know which one to pick, one need not do anything more than observe which ones are busy and where the locals go and eat as they are getting off of work.

Here was my meal of toro and uni searved in a bowl of rice accompanied by green tea and a bowl of miso soup. Yum!

I am on vacation right now in California (enjoying some of the freshest seafood this country has to offer) and will start a new series on last year's trip to Japan with my brother next week. Be well everyone!

 

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January 7, 2006

Fish Heads

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CameraKonica Minolta 7d
LensTamron 28-200mm f/2.8 @ 35mm
Shutter / Aperture1/60s / f/4
ISO (Adj.)400 (+0.30 EV)

If I promise not to leave this picture up for a week, may I post it?

Sometimes the still process cannot capture the horror that only motion can capture. This box was immediately to the side of a man wielding a large cleaver who would quickly beheading a large quantity of fish. These heads, which had been so quickly removed from their bodies, were still all in various states of animation: eyes, mouth, and flipper twitching.

 

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