japan

All photos available for print and licensing >

Afraid of heights? Yea, me neither. I actually think heights can be fun. Sometimes.

This was taken looking down from a rooftop in Ginza, Tokyo during a fun photo tour I had with Eyexplore Tokyo. I joined them for one of their Vertigo tours and it was definietly a different view of the city than I was expecting. In this image, we were looking down at 3 or 4 different buildings. Hard to tell how many there really are because all them are so close to each other. But most of the time we were confined to really tight spaces on top of these buildings. So, I’m the one wearing black shoes and the tour leader, Axel is wearing the brown ones. Andrew was directly behind me so he didn’t make it into the shot but that was basically as much room we were given on this rooftop. Just goes to show you how smushed we really were and how super jammed pack the city is. There was definietly not enough room for tripods at all. Good thing the Sony a7ii is so great in low light situations. I was using the balcony for camera support during the longer exposure times.

The camera settings for this image was f/4 at .5 sec at ISO 500. The ISO definietly had to be bumped up to compensate for the lack of tripod. But I’m glad I was still able to capture the colors and angle so nicely. For sure a difficult shot and if I had the opportunity, I’d love to do something similar in DC. But I’m not sure how rooftop-hopping would go in these government secured buildings. LOL.

If you ever find yourself in Toyko, consider joining one of their tours. I’m sure you’ll learn a lot, like I did 🙂 Tell them Angela sent you.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Recently I read an article entitled, “I hate the Cherry Blossoms. There I said it” by Josh Lorenzo. He’s a part of the Capital Weather Gang crew at the Washington Post so I thought it’d be an interesting read. The Capital Weather Gang has always been my go-to for big weather storms or anything like that. So I wanted to hear what he had to say. If you missed it, you can read the it here.

I understand what Josh means. I think pre-photography, I would of felt similar on some points. There are cherry blossoms in my neighborhood, why do I have to go all the way to DC to see them? They’re just a lot of hype, lots of tourists, blah blah blah.

Here’s how I see things currently: Becoming a photographer has made me look and see the world differently but I’ve always loved the cherry blossoms. They make me smile. They make me happy. They make the city more enjoyable and fun to walk around and explore. They bring lightness and color to a city that has been wrecked with controversy and “fake news”. I truly believe that people all around the world should experience this kind of DC as opposed to the one you see on the TV.

And considering they usually last only a week, why can’t we have the one week out of the 52 in a year to appreciate, rejuvenate, and bring more life back in to the city? Then it goes back to the ordinary black and white marble structures that were used to. Boorrringggg.

The blossoms are an extraordinary event that should be celebrated. Please don’t make this into ANOTHER thing to complain about. If cherry blossoms won’t make you happy, what will?  And if you think the best thing Japan has to offer is was a better Ramen recipe or a blue print on how to build a better Toyota Camry, then you need to learn how to appreciate the beauty in the little things that surrounds you. The cherry blossoms were a present that should be appreciated, cared for and admired.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Now that the snow has fallen, it’s crazy cold outside and it’s official that the cherry blossoms will not peak this year, it made me think about our trip to Japan around this time last year. Unfortunately while we were on our trip, I missed the peak bloom of blossoms in DC. Double unfortunate that we also missed the peak in Tokyo. We did see some cherry blossoms, but if we really wanted to see it, we should of stayed for a week longer. Oh well. I still loved our visit and was still able to see some beautiful flowers including this one. Do any of you guys know what this one is called? I have no clue and would not even know where to beginning to find out.

I took it in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. The perfect place to go if you want to catch any kind of blooms. When you walk through the park, you almost forget you are in a major city. You don’t hear any honking horns or busy streets. You’re in your own little world, walking down paths of diverse garden areas and scenic views. If I had the opportunity, I would of loved to spend sunrise walking around by myself like I do in DC. The best part is that people come here not just to walk around and enjoy the flowers, but they will bring a blanket with a picnic baskets and hangout for a couple of hours. Kinda like what they do at the tidal basin for the cherry blossoms but it’s definietly not as crowded. I feel like when you can sit down and relax like that, you’ll get the full experience of the beautiful sakuras and these unnamed flower I photographed 🙂

By the way, if you missed it, I made a Tokyo guide. Click here if you’d like to see it.

All photos available for print and licensing >

This was taken last year in Tokyo Skytree. When I was researching different places to take pictures in Toyko, Skytree was definietly on top of my list. Not just for the amazing views, but also the possibility of photographing people looking at said views. It sounds a bit weird, I know, but I think that some of the more interesting photos are the ones of that include other people enjoying the same things you are.

So here I was, enjoying the beautiful view from 2080′ in the air, when I heard a lot of little voices laughing and talking. I turned around and saw a bunch of little kids with what looked like to be there teacher. It was so cute because all of them were wearing these yellow hats so it was really easy to spot them in a crowd. It immediately reminded me of when I was in elementary school and we’d always go on class field trips to the Smithsonian museums or to the Washington Monument in matching t-shirts.

Not to sound like a creeper, but I followed these kids around for a little bit. I wanted to find the right time so I could photograph them enjoying the views. They finally stopped and all lined up in front of a window as there teacher was showing them something outside. I started to shoot. These two girls in the back must of heard my camera clicking because they immediately turned around with big smiles and gave the international signal for “I’m ready for my close up” by pulling out the peace fingers. Aren’t they so cute? No words or anything were exchanged. Just a little “Arigatou gozaimasu” (thank you very much) from me and a big smile and they kept on moving with the rest of the yellow-hat kids.

All photos available for print and licensing >

In the past 48 hours, I’ve heard of at least 3 different people saying that they’re going to Japan in the spring. Obviously, my first reaction was to get insanely jealous and my second reaction is to think about all the delicious udon that they’re about to eat. Mmmmm udon.

So I decided to look back on our own trip from last year and I stumbled onto this image. I remember the exact moment I took it. Andrew and I had woken up early to make it to Tsukiji Fish Market. We tried for the 3a auction but even with the time difference and us waking up super early everyday, there was no way we were going to be able to make it THAT early. But we did make it there at around 6a. This fish market was bumpin’! I mean there were people everywhere you turned, they were all on these miniature stand up golf cart things zipping in and out of lanes, and gigantic fish EVERYWHERE. It was a seafood lover’s paradise.

Andrew, being the awesome yelp-per that he is, found the “best” sushi restaurant. It was really different than what I’m used to in the states. You stand outside and wait in this really long line. While you’re waiting in line, there’s a guy there who will take your order. It’s usually just pointing at pictures on this big billboard but luckily this guy also spoke pretty good english too. He told us that sushi in a sushi roll was for tourists and that we had to get a sushi bowl. He was totally right. Eating sushi from a bowl was a totally different experience. So it was the raw fish on top of a bowl of already seasoned rice. All the extras like wasabi, ginger, vegetables and everything were on a different plate on the side. Just the rice alone was so flavorful and delicious. But man, the whole meal was amazing. I never expected sushi to be that much better considering it’s not even cooked, but it was!

So this picture was after we stuffed our faces with fatty tuna, rice, and everything else. We went to Hamarikyu Gardens which was less than a mile away to walk off everything we had just ate. That little building in the middle of the water is a tea house. We were at the gardens so early that it wasn’t even opened yet. I bet it would of been a great place to have some hot tea though.

If you are one of those people who are going to Japan then this is for you.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Views from the top of the world. Love this perspective that a lot of tourists don’t get to see. If you’re interested in something like this and visiting Tokyo, definietly definietly check out EYExplore. I highly recommend them and tell them I sent you 🙂

In other news, today is a travel day. I’m going somewhere veryyyy icey. Can you guess?