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!

 

It’s the little things

Perfect perfect! I cant wait to get home and get it off the camera. *later* WHAT??!! It didn’t look like that on the camera display!

Ever had one of those shots? They are probably the most common type of shots. Its why most of us have 500+ photos from a trip we went on and only publish 20. I have them all the time! I hate them! They are the bane of my existence, well at least the bane of my computer storage. So here are a few tips that help bring that 20/500 ratio to a more solid 250/500. You friends and family will then be overwhelmed with all the photos you took!

The first problem is how the display on your camera shows the photos. This varies from camera to camera, brand to brand, and greatly affects how  you see your photos! Now the first question is did you change anything in the Picture Styles(C)/Picture controls(N) in your camera? Did you know you could? That would be the first thing to check. The second is do you shoot in RAW or in JPEG. To K.I.S.S. on the difference between RAW and JPEG lets just say that the RAW file is bigger/better for the simple reason that it contains more data. I can’t get into all the deep details in this post because it would be epically long but it would be in your best interest to dig  more into you camera settings themselves. As Kate has a Nikon and I have a Canon maybe we will do a collab post in the future on our settings.

The second problem, lets be honest, is being in focus. There is no amount of sharpening that can fix an unfocused photo. There is no option to go back and hit that exact same spot at the exact same time under the exact same conditions. So take your time, no rush, and FOCUS. Also if you are doing manual focus make sure you dont bump, or do if you need to, the little +/- dial thingy (no idea what its called diopter adjustment dial). It might also help, especially if you are going to be printing or submitting to a contest to buy a LCD loupe. Now if you know photography you know that a loupe is typically used to look at negatives up close, you also might recognize it as what your cartoon favorites always pull out to inspect diamonds. Now if you are going to have a diamond sharp photo you need one of these to check your focus before you are all packed up and enjoying a nice drink in front of your computer. They can run between 15$ and 100$ depending on what you want.

The third most common problem is from your computer to paper, PRINTING! It can suck. The first thing you should invest in after your camera and computer is a monitor calibration tool. Now many people will tell you they can trust their eyes or know what their prints will look like and to you I say….

How many white or was it black dots do you see?

As you can see, between our eyes and our brains there can be some variance in communication. When you spend three or four hours in front of your computer this can become exacerbated. Colors may even begin to switch on you, even if you just sat down. Even blue light cutting glasses won’t save you here!

If you stare at the blinking pink dots, you will see only one color, pink. If you look at the the + in the center, you’ll see a circle of pink dots and a rotating green dot. Now, stare at the + without moving your eyes. After ten seconds scroll down a bit and watch a bright green circle appear to move with you *Click on the image to be taken to the site its from*

The last and but not least remember you can adjust your white balance and exposure when you do it get home. Many find it helpful to shoot +1 or more exposure wise because you can always go in and darken what you need to, while on the other hand its a lot harder to bring things out of the shadows.

Here is a before and after of the same version and while it may not be a big difference, it is big enough to post or to trash in my opinion.

Original Shot

Before

As you can see dull, gray and boring. I like the darkness of it myself and the shadows in the background but this photo doesn’t say Japanese Sakura like it should.

After

As you can see in the second photo a bit brighter, colors with a little more pop and not so heavy on the shadows. All changes were done in Camera Raw itself and didn’t step into full photoshop.

Its the little changes and steps that make a difference in your photos. Its the time you take and the effort you make.

-Don’t be afraid to push the button, go on, PUSH IT!

~Anne

Intro Part Deux

Hello and welcome. Now that Kate got all the important stuff out I am feeling much less pressured to write. If you haven’t read hers yet you should stop and scroll up down.

Now that that’s done, you did do it right? On with the show.

Why a blog? Why me? Well let me first say that this isn’t my first blog, not that any of my other blogs made it beyond six posts, but that’s not the point right? However, I will be working with Kate (again scroll down if you lied at the earlier question) which means I won’t be able to slack, procrastinate and all of those other maladies that seem to befall me. While I am a dreamer and a dreamer only, Kate is more of the dreamer/do-er combo of which I am insanely jealous over. So I know that this blog will make it beyond six posts and won’t be lost in wild of the internet. We have plans, we have dreams and we also have cake! The cake helps trust me. I am always trying to improve, learn and just understand more about photography, light, and all the other factors that go with it. The point of this blog for me and to share, show and learn, I was never very good at the “tell” part.

My photography style varies day to day. Its like my favorite saying about my age. “I am as young as I feel or as old as I look, depends on the day.” I sometimes love the basics, a black and white, and other times its heavily edited or HDR. You will also see a variance in the way I shoot the same subject. I’ve learned that though some of the photography “rules” are the same across cultures not all of them are and I often attempt to get that other look. I rarely shoot people whether models or street photography. You will see a lot of landscapes, nature, seasonal shots, temples and shrines (as I am living in Japan), and you will probably also see my dog Kouyou as she just moved to Japan this April.

I have a Canon 7D and HTC One. I usually shoot RAW but will use JPEG to get a few quick ones. I use photoshop when necessary but try not to do much outside of Camera RAW.

Sakura 2013

I picked two seasonal shots for my first post so you get a double dose.

Kyoto momiji (maple leaves) and Kinkakuji 2012

Also you will find that Kate is more adept at WordPress than I am and it will be noticeable as the blog goes on. In fact she is the one who set this all up! ❤

Don’t be afraid to push the button!

~Anne