japan

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Speaking of Tokyo… 🙂 Looking at this image makes me want to go back! I would love to go to Japan again although next time I would want to spend less time in Tokyo and spend more time in other parts of the country like Hokkiaido. One day I was looking at pictures and saw this amazing one of rows and rows of flowers just lining the country side. Man it was beautiful. Japanese people really know how to do it big over there! Lol.

This particular image was taken on my vertigo tour with Eyexplore. I’m a huge fan of signing up for these kind of photo tours while visiting other places. You can’t beat a local photographer’s knowledge of their area. They know all the best spots to take images and when, plus you can ask them about other travel related questions like what’s your favorite kitkat flavor? You know, important questions. LOL.

PS, if you’re ever in the DC area and looking for something similar, let me know!

Roof topping is amazing, but I think it’s especially different in Tokyo. There are so many buildings crammed into this little space. It’s really unbelievable if you think about it. Imagine one person occupying each of those windows. That’s a whole lot of people! And all the buildings look so different. I don’t know I think it’s so cool just to slowly move my eye around the picture. Not one spot looks like the other!

PS about 10 more days til the Cherry Blossom predicted peak and I’m so excited! Thank you again, Japan!

The settings for this image is F4.0 at  .8 seconds and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens. The A7II was particularly great at this time because it’s so good in low light situations and I was not able to use my tripod because a lot of the time it wouldn’t even fit on those tiny rooftops.

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Taken around the same time as this image. I really love those moody, rainstorm clouds. I remember it had been raining on and off all day that day. This happened to be during one of those off periods. What had actually inspired me to take this image was that cartoon you see on the right hand side. In particular that one with the green background and cute little bunny screaming on it. I recognized those characters from our trip to Japan 2 years ago. I believe the cartoon is called ‘Line Town’ and I thought they were so kawaii. They even had their own store near Harajuku and I believe Andrew and I bought a couple of tshirts there for our nieces and nephews. I was so excited to see Line Town come to America that I had to take a cool reflection shot of it. Duhhh! I didn’t make it into the Times Square store but at least I’ll have more opportunities to go than I did when it was only in Japan.

So I started to set up my shot but then that guy who’s covering it saw me trying to look for my composition. I know I was taking taking my time but it may have been too long. Because when I first saw this scene, there was no one there! But that’s New York for you, there are people EVERYWHERE and at any given moment, one of them could walk right into you composition. Right when I was ready to click, there he was, in front of the green bunny. I could have waited to see if he would move but there were more people behind me on their way. Oh well. I still think it turned out pretty cool.

My settings for this image is F8 at 1/50th of a second at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens. At first I was surprised that the shutter speed was so fast at ISO 400 on such a gloomy day, but then I realized it’s times square. It’s always so bright there so you really don’t need a high ISO to shoot fast. LOL.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.