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A little perspective can fool you

Nikon D800, 1/640 f/4.5, ISO 800, 70mm

Nikon D800, 1/640 f/4.5, ISO 800, 70mm

Here’s a great photo that always makes me laugh a little every time I see it. The photo was taken at The National Art Centre, Tokyo. It’s an architectural marvel and photographer’s delight to be inside, especially during sunset, like above.

During one of my trips to Japan, I came here with a friend of mine—the one standing in the middle of this photo with a camera up to her face. The great thing about this photo is that because of where I was standing with my camera, the two people who happen to be in the frame look like they are totally different heights. The security guard on the left looks like he is quite a bit taller than my friend in the middle. Now I know my friend isn’t that short!

As it turns out, although the security guard was only a few feet in front of my friend, because I was so low to the ground, this particular angle makes it look almost as if my friend and the guard were standing along the same line—or the same distance away from my camera. This perspective trickery makes the subject standing further away from my camera appear to be much smaller than the subject who is only a few feet closer to the camera.

My camera was sitting right on the hardwood floor here, and I was taking random photos as people passed by. That was a great moment as there were so many different people walking by my camera. I did manage to get many photos here, and I will be sure to do some more show and tells  in the future.

The takeaway here is to remember to play with the perspective of your camera as you can easily fool the audience by making your subject matter appear much smaller or larger than they really are.

Don’t edit all your photos at once!

When you come back from holidays you may be tempted to start editing all of your photos on your computer. While it’s a great way to reflect on your recent adventures, I always take my time in editing photos so I can truly bring out the best parts of each photo.

Nikon D200, 1/10 sec., f/6.3, ISO 200, 22mm

Nikon D200, 1/10 sec., f/6.3, ISO 200, 22mm

I alluded to this in a previous post where I said to “marinate” your images so your feelings don’t play a role in your editing process.

When we are so caught up in the moment, we tend to remember things in a more exaggerated way, letting our minds fantasize more. If you wait a while before editing your photos, however, you will come back to them without any bias as to how you remembered that moment, thereby allowing you to edit them to reflect the true beauty of the moment.

Even holding off for a couple days will make a noticeable difference in how you edit them. Don’t just take my word on this though. Try it out yourself and you’ll see how a small change like this can make a large improvement to your images.

Get out and go explore your surroundings

When you’re out travelling in a new city or country, I seriously hope you have no days where you are sitting in your hotel room watching TV, letting the day pass by in front of you. Whether you have just one hour or the entire day free, get outside and take a walk to explore your surroundings and see what makes the city what it is today. There’s a bountiful of things to explore even if you don’t see it in front of your eyes. I make it a point to explore every spare moment that I have so as not to waste my time there. After all, you’ve come there for a reason—not to watch TV in a hotel room.

Nikon D200, 1/100 sec., f/19, ISO 100, 21mm

Nikon D200, 1/100 sec., f/19, ISO 100, 21mm

This photo was taken in the outskirts of Osaka where I took the train to a remote area and started walking. I passed by these abandoned red-brick warehouses that were apparently popular to the locals. Coming from a city where we have our own touristy red-brick warehouses, this wasn’t all that special, but I loved the fact that it was abandoned, as it showed on its facade. Boarded up, locked up, and just waiting for budding urban explorers to find its inner secrets.

You’ll be surprised as what you find so I highly encourage you to get out and explore your surroundings!

Why don’t you use a daypack?

Try travelling light. When you go on holidays you’ll be tempted to pack all of your gear to be able to capture any scenario that comes your way. It’s fine if you have shoulders of steel but let’s face it, not everyone is blessed with Clark Kent’s physique.

Nikon D200, 1/80 sec., f/5.0, ISO 100, 20mm

Nikon D200, 1/80 sec., f/5.0, ISO 100, 20mm

While I still do pack most of my gear for the holidays, I try and not take everything with me on my day trips. I’ve soon come to realize that I would like to travel light throughout the day, and keep my neck and shoulders free from all that weight. If you bring a daypack with you, try and bring only the gear that you think you may use for that outing only. This will save you from having to carry all the gear that you have packed.

The added benefit to this method is that it will also teach you to think ahead and allow you to practice taking photos with that particular gear. It’s a great way to mix things up and further enhance your creativity with the gear that you bring. I often find that it makes you think differently as you find more creative ways to work with what you have.

The next day, you’ll be able to change your gear combination for a whole new experience.

Try it out the next time you travel and you’ll save a bundle on your massage fees for your neck and shoulders!

What does this photo have to do with daypacks? Pack light, like I did with this meal!

Weeping Cherry Blossoms of Kariya Park

In continuing my series of cherry blossoms for this week, this post will cover the weeping cherry blossoms of Kariya Park, in the heart of the city of Mississauga—just outside of the city of Toronto.

Kariya Park is a little known Japanese garden dedicated to the twin city of Kariya, in Japan. The park is home to a number of cherry blossoms, and at last count, three different types of cherry blossoms. The amount of sakura trees may not be as much as what you will find at High Park in Toronto, but it still offers a unique experience for the park visitors.

Nikon D800, 1/160 sec., f/6.3, ISO 800, 24mm

Nikon D800, 1/160 sec., f/6.3, ISO 800, 24mm

I took my Periscope family here yesterday for a photo tour around the park, while taking pictures at the same time, trying to best capture the uniqueness of these weeping cherry blossoms.

Nikon D800, 1/40 sec., f/3.5, ISO 1250, 190mm

Nikon D800, 1/40 sec., f/3.5, ISO 1250, 190mm

I found it much more difficult to try and frame these weeping trees than the regular cherry blossoms at High Park, so I hope I was able to capture the beauty of them with these photos.

Nikon D800, 1/40 sec., f/3.5, ISO 1250, 190mm

Nikon D800, 1/40 sec., f/3.5, ISO 1250, 190mm

Even with having people within the frame, it was quite the challenge to be able to express the beauty of these weeping blossoms.

Nikon D800, 1/250 sec., f/4.5, ISO 800, 24mm

Nikon D800, 1/250 sec., f/4.5, ISO 800, 24mm

The front of the park offered these colourful blossoms, which contrasted nicely with the dark fence behind.

And if you’re in doubt as to how to take pictures of these blossoms, we can always just look straight up and enjoy their beauty with this great view.

Nikon D800, 1/250 sec., f/5.0, ISO 640, 70mm

Nikon D800, 1/250 sec., f/5.0, ISO 640, 70mm

Kariya Park is located just across the street from the Square One shopping mall, on the South side. Be on the lookout next Spring when these sakura trees will once again bloom.

The sun shines in Ikebukuro

I was out shopping one fine early evening in Tokyo when I came to this roadway with people walking down it. Normally it would have been just a regular pedestrian-filled road, but I soon realized the sun peeking out of the clouds every-so-often, shining its glorious rays right down the centre of the street. The golden light it emitted when it did shine down the street was magnificent.

I only had a few short minutes to try and capture this golden light because the clouds would cover the sun after a short time. It was just one of those days where I was happy I had my camera with me that day.

Nikon D800, 1/4000 sec., f/2.8, ISO 400, 56mm

Nikon D800, 1/4000 sec., f/2.8, ISO 400, 56mm

What do you bring on your walks?

When I go out travelling, I often like to take my full gear with me because you never know what to expect. Even on casual walking days like when I took this photo above, I always loved to carry my Nikon along with my 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at a minimum. This combination, however, isn’t always so portable, let alone light on my shoulders.

With the advent of mirrorless cameras though, I’m beginning to wonder if that’s a better option for me to take on these casual walks. It’s something to consider one of these days.

What camera do you bring on your photo-walks? What lenses do you like to use? Let me know in the comments below, and feel free to suggest any great walk-around cameras that you like.

People watching season has begun!

Nikon D800, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 640, 62mm

Nikon D800, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 640, 62mm

For some of us, people watching can be a real treat. Just pick a random location, sit down, and watch what goes on in front of you. If you’re at a relatively active location, you can sit there for hours on end just enjoying the time pass you by.

It’s those lazy Sunday mornings that make you feel like just taking the moment as it comes. The Spring season is good for that, as people start to make their way out of their homes and into public spaces. The sun starts to shine brightly warming the outdoors, and the overall aura of happiness floats about.

When I went to Japan last year, I took a few days off to just walk around and enjoy the moment around me. Taking random snaps along the way, I meant to post a whole series on these snaps at one point on my blog, but that never came to fruition.

This picture was taken at the Tokyo Forum, in the Ginza district. It’s a great place for photographers any time of the day, with its striking architecture, criss cross patterns all around, and muted colour palette. If you come here to take pictures, you won’t be alone.

As the Spring season unfolds here in Toronto, I look forward to more outdoor adventures to come!

Photo of the month at Mobile Walkers Japan

Photo of the Day for February 11, 2015 on @mw_jp

Photo of the Day for February 11, 2015 on @mw_jp

Mobile Walkers Japan is an Instagram community featuring primarily Japanese mobile photographers while also including a smattering of international photographers on their stream. Each day they feature on their stream a different photo from a different photographer. At the end of each month, they round up all the Photo of the Day photos, and post them on their website at http://mwjapan.org.

In addition to this post, they also feature comments from the photographers themselves, talking about their inspiration and editing techniques for the photo that was chosen. For the most part, this commentary is in Japanese but there are a few English comments as well.

Full sized, uncropped version.

Full sized, uncropped version.

I’ve been featured on their feed a few times before, but this was the first time I gave my input into the photo that was chosen as the Photo of the Day for February 11, 2015. Please feel free to have a look and enjoy the site…or at least as much as you can read of it.

The cropped version that I posted on Instagram, is actually a small fraction of the full sized version seen above.

The Photo of the Day post for February 2015 is here on the Mobile Walkers Japan site.