1 Year.

On March 20, 2016, I ordered a Panasonic LX100 and decided right then and there that I was going to become a photographer. When the camera was ordered I stayed up until sunrise watching 'The Art of Photography' videos on Youtube until I had learned enough to go and tell everybody I knew what I was talking about. I was naively excited to get 'the whole photography thing' going and conveniently enough the camera only a few weeks before my trip to Nepal. Until that trip I only took a few photos on my shiny new toy, and instead opted to tell people how I was already a photographer. So in reality, I didn't actually start to try to live up that title until I got there. 

The photos from that time are like Elementary School friends, I don't go out of my way to say hi to them but whenever I walk past one, usually looking for someone else, I make an effort to say spend a few seconds with them. They sit as far back as my Lightroom catalogue goes, waiting for my to scroll by. I'm still proud of them, and theres some I feel are still genuinely portfolio-worthy. But I know I've come really far since then. 

When I got back from Nepal I decided to return my camera. I returned it and instead bought a Fujifilm X-T1 with a 35mm f.2 and 55-200mm f3.5-4.5. It was the best choice I ever made, and to this day my X-T1 is always glued to me. I've picked up and sold some lenses since then, but I can see that the change in camera affected me positively as a photographer. I'll talk more about that on the one-year anniversary of buying my X-T1, so look forward to that!

I've taken more photographs I'm proud of than I can count so I decided that I would simply just put 10 of my favorite photographs from this year up and let the work just speak for itself.

 

This last year has been one of self discovery. I've learned so much about not only this art but also about my connection to it. I don't think I'd be as well off without photography. It's given me the ability to connect to people easier, something I've always felt weak at. It's given me an outlet to create and an excuse to look longer. My camera has been like a life-coach and a best friend following me everywhere for a year, and every year from here on out.

 

I'd also like to thank a handful of people helped break me into photography and only elevated my passion for it.

Ted Forbes, Michael Koonce, Ted Viera, Shoji Ueda, Saul Leiter and every person I've ever photographed (because you have no idea how scary it was for me to ask you for your photo).

 

Marina's Photographic Beginning

UPDATE: In a week I'm out of my apartment and into a cheap room in downtown Tokyo for a few weeks. The stress of moving, like the contents of my apartments, have almost entirely disappeared. I've spent the last 5 days at my girlfriend's family's house spending time with all of them. That's where things are at right now.

A while ago, my girlfriend (and best friend) Marina was feeling dissapointed that she didn't have any hobbies or special interests. Instinctively, I gave her the one suggestion I give pretty much anyone, regardless of what their problem actually is: pick up a camera and start shooting. She said she always wanted to, but told me, "You already take good pictures, so I don't really have to, right?" I laughed, and after a few seconds she realised how dumb that was and laughed too. I promised that when things cleared up a bit, I'd teach her, even though I'm still only learning myself. 

While I was staying with her family this weekend, we had more than enough downtime to fulfil that promise and went for a walk around her neighbourhood with my X-T1. Only this time, it was me waiting for her to take a photo and not the other way around. She immediately understood aperture and the basics of composition. She already has a comprehensive understanding of things like shadows and highlights, since she has to usually listen to me ramble about what it is I'm actually doing in Lightroom... She takes her time with each photo and takes a few at different apertures to experiment, it was really a joy to watch. 

You can check her keepers below, all of which are out-of-camera jPegs. 

 

Kawagoe Festival: Right where I Shouldn't be

I haven't written anything on the blog in about 2 weeks. I've been working on a few drafts and thinking about what I want to say and how I want to say it, but I don't want to put out anything shorter in between. I don't like to speak when I have nothing to say, it would only amount in half-hearted articles about my favourite Fuji X lenses or '10 Things all Photographers Do', theres enough of that out there and I don't want to contribute to it. Instead I'd rather share something more meaningful, more planned and more personal even if it means sharing things less. 

 

In these last two weeks I'd attended the Sakado Yosakoi Festival and the Kawagoe Festival, which you can see more photos from on my facebook and instagram. Japanese festivals are lively, colourful, fun, and most importantly some of the only times I've ever felt like I was a part of my community here. In the 4 days I've spent shooting 2 festivals, I'd met more of my own neighbours than I have in 2 years of living here. 

Last Saturday I woke up at 6 and headed over to the neighbouring city of Kawagoe hours before the massive, 2 day long festival started. None of the food stalls were set up, none of the 2-story tall floats were riding along the closed-off streets yet. Aside from the people setting up, I was the only one there. It gave me some valuable time to find the best spots to head to as the day progressed.

The festival officially started at 10, but it was just passed 9 and already I could feel the atmosphere building up. There was a single float (called a Dashi in Japanese) sitting there and already performers were inside doing their routine. When I started taking photographs, it was only me and an old man with a disposable camera. For about about 40 minutes I was able to work my way around the float and take pictures without wiggling around crowds, which resulted in some pretty intimate photos.

The matsuri had just officially started, and already I was happy with the results from the day. Taking a break from shooting, I walked down an alley away from the growing crowd. A man came running down the street shouting "dashi mairimaaassuuu!", letting everyone know a float was coming down the street in a moment. At the end of the street, crowds of people pulling a massive, 2 story float by ropes came into view. It was one of those, "Ah yeah... I live in Japan..." moments. 

I wanted to get in and get a few photos but the crowds that grew were ridiculous, and there were people on the side of the float pushing people with cameras back to make way. I managed to get to the front of the crowd, and get a few shots... and when I took my eye off the viewfinder, I realised I was actually in the procession of people pulling the shrine, and no-one stopped me. When I realised I shouldn't be there, I kept this certain sense of deliberation and stuck with it. I was hoping that no-one would notice and ask me to back up, and realised this chance could end at any moment.... But the opposite happened. 

When the float stopped for a moment, an old man tapped me on the shoulder. He moved aside and told me to get some shots from where he was standing. We started talking and kept talking even after the procession started moving. I was on the other side of the crowd-control, making small talk with people and no one batted an eye. Until I got too tired, and all my batteries had depleted, I had the opportunity to take photographs no one else did. And I don't even know how it happened...

Thats it. Nothing deeper. No talk about my technique or what lenses I used. Just a story from last weekend. I'd rather stop talking and let the photographs speak instead. So please, check out the gallery below to see some more photos. 

And if you haven't please check me out on facebook, twitter and instagram. All support is appreciated!

 

 

川越祭りの話

2週間ぐらい、新しいブログを書いたない。言いたいコトがないなら、ブログを書くのは無理と思う。私が個人的の話みたいなコトを教えたいけど毎日ブログを書けない。すみません。

先週末、私が川越祭りに行った。日本の祭りは特別なコトと思う。祭りの色はすごいく綺麗。祭り料理はすごく美味しい。なお、祭りだけで、私が他の県民を会える。日本で、他の人を会うのは難しいと思うけど祭りでそのコトない。

土曜日の早朝で起きて、9時ぐらい川越に行った。市民は全員まだ準備してた。本通りで人があまりなかったから、私が朝の平和で散歩した。散歩したとき、太鼓の音を聞こえた。でかい山車があった、まだ動いたない。他の人がなかったから、自分のペースで山車の写真を撮れた。

10時で祭りが始まった。人が多くなったから私が横丁で休んだ。横丁の終わりで、おじいさんが叫ぶだ。「山車きいいいまああああす」って。私が早めに本通りに戻った。山車をみった時、考えたコトは一つ:「あ!覚えてる!私が日本に住んでる」w

私が写真を撮りたかったけど人は多いすぎた。道は細かったから、動けなかった。チャンスがあったから、写真をとった。私がカメラを目からとった時に、気づいたないけど行列に入った!山車の行列と一緒に歩いた!「これはダメかも知らない。人が私を気づいたら、どうする? 逃げる?」と思った。隠れたかったけど行列のおじいさんが私を気づいた。
「おい!。。。ここから写真いいよ!」って
私はすごくびっくりしたw。

全てのカメラの電池が消えたまで、行列と一緒の歩いた。行列の人々をたくさん会った。そういうコトは珍しいかも知らないけどあの時を全然忘れないと思う。私が人を会ったら、いつも緊張している。だけど今回、私は全然緊張したない。それは、写真より良かったと思う。

さ〜おしまえ。何レンズは使ったのコトとかは関係ない。今回、深い意味がない。これは先週末の話だけです。ありがとうございました。日本語のエラーがあるなら、すみません。

 

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