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.

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!

 

Windmills~

Sometimes it’s easy to forget where you are. It’s easy to forget what you set out to do. Instead taking a tilt at the windmills you become lulled by the motion, it soothes you inexplicably. I fear recently that this has happened me. In my photography and life in general. It’s easy to say I’m good enough or that it whatever it may be is good enough for me, I can produce decent work, I know the basics and the rules and I seem to no longer challenge them. I used to laugh in the face of challenges! Now I cringe and spend more time and energy thinking how to avoid them. I’ve realized I do this more and more.

This really hit home for me when I took a trip to the Nagoya aquarium with a friend. I had to look at my controls! As in physically remove the camera from my face and look at the controls! And the light, ahhh the light! I read it wrong! Some of my pictures turned out decent and yes by decent I do mean workable and just toeing that line of “looks good”. Examples below. But more than half of the pictures I came home with were to be honest… Crap. With that capital C, as in no amount of Photoshop or Lightroom will save you!

I’m so lucky I don’t shoot film. I will also save your eyes from the horror that occurred and not post any of those instead a few more decent ones. So the goals for this year have a new sub-article? Yes again! I plan to see this one as a lifestyle change not just a photography one. I think they go hand in hand in my case so I expect that as one changes so will the other. At least that is the logic I’m applying to this constant problem.

Some of my new year’s resolutions have fallen under the lull of the windmills. I don’t need to go for that run or I can have an extra bottle of soda because well I look good enough, I don’t NEED to run…… See where this is going? So hopefully with this new point added I can focus on doing stuff. And doing stuff better ^_^ at least that is the goal. I’ve even downloaded the couch to 5k app and will be starting that Monday. I plan on bringing bigger and better and also more frequent photos to the table. But, gotta walk before you can run I guess. As to that I’m am going to need a lot of practice before sakura season starts so I’m going to see if I can rope someone into being my shadow model. I hate taking photos of people but I’m curious if I can do a shadow series where all they are are shadows/silhouettes. Stay tuned to see if I can convince anyone to do so. In the meantime I convinced Koyo to model a little bit. She was too sleepy to object.

Unfortunately she awoke with the first actuation. So only one of her really sleeping~

Other than that I am off to Kurokabe Square on Sunday and going to attempt blowing my own glassware. I’m going with a friend so hopefully she will allow me to take pictures of her but we shall see. I plan to get more of Koyo as she is my constant companion and therefore makes a great model~ We had snow on the 14th which was really nice. I was actually able to make a snowman! He lasted a total of maybe 5 hours though all said and done. However, Koyo was able to play a bit in the snow so I got a few good ones of her out running around.

Working on it

So with my last post deciding what I should work on I have started working! You should feel proud! I feel proud! However as I have been sick for going on about two weeks now I haven’t gone out and gotten new shots…… How am I working you ask?  That is a good question! Youtube and Adobe tutorial videos and such! Yeah for the computer!

Everyone knows that the camera can’t see what you see in fact sometimes it’s way off~ way way off sometimes if you are me. If you are working with a DSLR, welcome to heaven and purgatory! Better known as Photoshop and Lightroom in my case. One I have trouble getting it just right in but when I do it’s great and two is fantastic for organizing and non-serious edits but I hardly get any photos out of it, they just sit in limbo. More of a personal problem I know but I would like to believe that it happens to all photographers at one time or another.

So what have I been doing about it you ask. Well first I watched The Grid: How to be a better Photographer in 2014 and as you know I scrapped my 365 project, we had that lovely discussion earlier. I decided I needed to learn PS and LR better than I already do, which involved me buy Scott Kelby’s book covering Lightroom 5 because I like his writing and his book usually covers enough to get me going into the extras that I can later explore on my own. So started flipping through that learning some new tricks and tips. I headed online and watched a bunch of educational(FREE) videos because I wasn’t going out in the wind and cold. So with my hot chocolate I sat down to absorb all I could in about 3 or 4 hour segments.

I realized that I did not know as much as I thought I did. So then I decided to delve into all the photos! I mean ALL THE PHOTOS… I hate deleting, that just in case always gets me. So I decided to start just randomly and closed my eyes and clicked a folder. It happened to be my Shirakawago trip. I then picked a photo I really liked but I couldn’t get to work/look the way I wanted. This was the photo I started with….Snow in Color - Original

So as you can see it’s kind of flat, a little boring and not really at all how that morning looked to me. The snow is rather gray and a little dirty~ Not really the pristine snowy landscape I saw. So using all the wonderful information I has absorbed I took it all into lightroom, took 3 of the different exposures, bumped them over and into HDR in photoshop and then SURPRISE, SURPRISE I bumped them back into LR as a 32bit TIFF! Oh the things you learn… So about an hour or so later, yeah I’m still learning LR, I had a final-ish product.

Snow in Color

Now I tried to crop it so those little branches on the side disappeared but the crop looks funny and as much as I don’t like them I have started to like them. Not sure if that is good or not. So what do you think? Let me know! More and more the work continues. So much more to do and learn and hopefully when I get over this stupid sickness I will be able to get out and get more shots.

A need shutter actuations~