Mejiro!

That title most likely tells you absolutely nothing… Unless you googled it already. (On a side note, my post order got mixed up so scroll down to find my sakura plans~ They had already been posted before the last post. Fail on my part sorry! Anyway,) Mejiro are small green, with a dash of yellow, birds that have a white circle around their eyes. Also known as White-eyes or Japanese White Eyes they are omnivorous little birds. During sakura season they enjoy plucking the little bugs right out of the pink blossoms making for some interesting pictures.

What they don’t tell you is that these little guys are fast! Always hopping around and quick to flit away~ Which makes getting in focus shots difficult! Especially if you forget to remove your filter….>.>….

Today was the first time for me to actually see them in real life! I have seen many pictures of the little guys but have never seen one until today~ Now I just wish it had been bright and sunny so their colors showed up brighter and not as dull looking. Just wanted to give you a bit of spring from Japan wherever you are in the world~

Armed, but not dangerous, at least not yet….

So as I have said in an earlier post my camera is coming along more often. As much as I love my camera bag and everything that I can bring along sometimes it is just not as shoulder friendly as I would like it to be. So I am trying to cut down on what I bring and trying to go camera only. Half the time it feels as if I am walking around naked, I miss the bag that much. While it took a little bit of getting used to it made it easier to get some shots as I didn’t have an unwieldy bag to haul around. Fully loaded for a day trip my bag probably weighs more than it should and I guess that is my fault for wanting to be prepared for everything. I am horrible at packing suitcases too, not just camera bags.  With just my camera, my 18-200mm lens, a few filters, and lens cloths it is a much lighter load, so I can get around a bit easier and stay active a little bit longer as the weight doesn’t drag me down. I went to USJ and hit the local park like this. Even forgoing my tripod! I have to say on one hand I am happy with some of my shots, while on the other I was longing for the bag and every little bit of magic it contains.
So since there is a little blur in Mel’s diner, don’t hold it against me! Shot in the cold, without a tripod, shaking hands were kind of a problem.

I also hit up my local park and was able to use my Kenko Pro 1D AC CLOSE-UP #3. The effect it gave was varied and it created a kind of “slice” of focus which was very hard to work with. I think I really need to hit the gym more also to help take care of this shaking hands. Not sure if it’s just me or if everyone’s hands get shaky after holding up the 7D for long periods of time. Needless to say the tripod would have probably came in handy again here but I didn’t have it on me.

As you can see very little is actually in sharp focus. So this little guy will take a lot more work to get decent at.

While I like the effect on flowers, I’m not quite sure what else I will use it on.

So while I have been using it more and going to try to get it out even more often I find that I always want my bag when I don’t have it. And and I don’t want to carry it when I do. Such is life I guess.

New Gear~

I just published a post that I thought I had already published. Fail on my part. So now this is going to seem a little weird. Three maybe four posts right in a row!

I have been bringing my camera with me more often. Not as often as I like, but more than usual. So I have been getting more shots and have also gotten a few new pieces of gear to go along with it. So I thought I would share the goodies first! I gave in after many mad reviews from my photog friends and got a Black Rapid strap! I can’t say I’m disappointed! Besides costing me a pretty penny….. 8000yen, rough equivalent is about 80$. Definitely worth it though. It saves on time and energy also my neck. I’m able to get the camera up faster and it doesn’t bounce as much as when I have it around my neck. Haven’t got to try it with the backpack yet but sakura season is almost here! I will let you know how it goes after that.

Since Sakura Season is coming up I went ahead and got a diffuser! A nice big one! If I remember right it’s a 52″. This year I will be attempting to do some photos of my friends frolicing among the blossoms. So that is a challenge in and of itself but hopefully it will turn out okay. One of the reasons I got this is I watched RC Concepcion’s video on doing shoots in midday sun. You can watch the video here! Definitely worth ten minutes of your time. Now what I really wanted was one of these, but was unable to find one at Bic Camera. May have to order one soon.

Finally I have had it for awhile but haven’t really gotten much play out of it yet. That should change here quickly. So last but not least I got a Canon 430 EXII. I have been goofing around with it and working on settings and that sort of thing. Though ttl is pretty easy to use and it doesn’t require me to do a lot of thinking, I would really like to get manual flash down. So more studying is necessary!

The previous post is SAKURA SEASON PLANS 2014!!! Let the frolicing commence!

Sakura Season Plans~

YEAH! It’s that time of year again! Sakura Madness! If there is a busy but beautiful time of year it is during this season. Spring has come and around the end of March, beginning of April everyone and their dog goes out to view the symbol of spring here in Japan, the Cherry Blossom!

I am no exception. This year however instead of just taking pictures of gorgeous flowers I am hoping to do a bit of people work too. It will be the first BIG challenge this year. I have my diffuser, reflector and my speedlight and will hopefully be able to capture something worth posting. However…… If you want to send me something… I am in need of an Orbis flash ring ^_^~  As for where I am going in the Nagoya area and beyond, I plan on hitting a few locations.

Tsurumai Park – mainly for people partying shots, gonna try getting some of that in~ not so much the flowers.

Iwakura~Gojo River – This location is for the flowers and river, may do a frolicing session here~ it’s gorgeous!

Yamazaki River- This will probably be night shots and few frolicing as it is in Nagoya

Kyoto- Flowers and buildings! What more could you ask for~ I’m just hoping it’s not as goofy as the Kouyou was.

Yoshino Mountain- LOOKS AMAZING!!! If things go well might hit up here with great friend~ More landscape-ish

Those are the big plans this year! If you are in the area and want to meet up I am all for it! Hit me up on here or G+ or FB! I have one more paid day off so I will be saving that most likely for Iwakura or Kyoto~

The blossoms are set to open around March 27th here in Nagoya~ are you ready? I am!

 

Bonbai~

Bonbai? What is that you ask? Well it is a bonsai ume(plum) tree and I got one!

I went to Nagahama to blow glass and also happened upon a bonsai exhibit. Now being American it is always interesting to see things that are, well, older than my country. I know that sounds weird but hang on a moment I shall explain. Japan, China and some parts of India have some of the longest, static, by static I mean continuous culture/tradition/history, which I find fascinating. Of course some things have changed but as a whole compared to the rest of the world there hasn’t been and huge revolutions to the heart of the culture and tradition. So when I saw these little trees that were 400 and some years old it made me stop and think. This art, this piece of culture has survived so much and has been passed down successfully that it makes one want to be part of it, to be a small piece in the bigger picture. So, I bought one and will attempt to not kill it!

 

Its actually quite a bit of work once every 3 years or 5 years. The repotting process is daunting but I will attempt it this December. In the meantime I get to enjoy the lovely blossoms this year and will have to prune and water only until December. It also makes a great subject for photography~ So there shall be many more photo experiments to come that include this new little member of my family.

My first experiment was with time lapse. I know, I don’t start small. So for my first ever time lapse I would have to consider it a success! It was actually much easier to do than I assumed it would be. As you know, I have a Canon 7D and thats pretty much all I really needed. I didnt have to purchase any special software. I used the EOS Utility and iMovie, as I have a Mac but I am pretty sure you could do it in just about any regular movie editor.

Using the timer in EOS utility you just have to make sure your live view is off. Set your camera up on a steady tripod and fix the focus, DON’T use autofocus as it may search each time for a new focus point or be unable to find it. I ran my camera in Manual but you could also do this in AV, TV, P or B. Depending on the length of time you need between your shots or the length of your shots I have read you may have to have it in B, given that I was throwing mine together before work and have yet to attempt another one I am not sure if this is true or not. I set mine to take a photo every 30 seconds and just let it go. I had originally had it set to take 500 photos but it only took 372 as the light and my camera both died. I highly recommend starting with a fully charged battery! Mine was down to the last little bar when I started, fail on my part.

I stuck around for the first ten or so actuations and then left for work. Came home and threw all of the photos into one folder and then imported them into iMovie. Set the display time to 0.1 seconds and fixed the crop so I didn’t have that goofy, ahem, I mean supposed cinematic effect. All in all 372 photos became about 50 seconds of movie. So not overly long but considering I didn’t do a lot of work on my own not bad. Now I did take all of these photos in RAW so I could go in and batch edit or fix a few if it seemed necessary, however, as this was my first attempt I was more worried about it actually working rather than the quality of the images. Bad, bad, bad Anne! I know, but now that I have this part down on my next one I can work more with the quality of the images. My biggest worry was to do a lot of intensive work and then have it fail somewhere along the way. Now that i know the first few steps I feel more comfortable putting more work into the next one. I would like to try a night time lapse but we will see how it goes. I would need to get out of the city and into the countryside to actually be able to see the night sky. But when i get this down I have a new reason to climb Mt. Fuji this year, because there is this great little spot near the top that I think would look great in a time lapse with the stars.

Watch the video here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31tlGQNuQR4

Watch “The death of Mr. Al Gator” on YouTube

Koyo being cute. I’m kinda falling in love with the new auto awesome movie feature of google~