Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Secluded shrine

A small shrine at Kashima Jingu

So, some of you are no doubt wondering where I've been the last week. Well, I've been preparing for this summer seminar that I had to teach at over the weekend. It was actually a lot of fun, but there was also quite a bit of work that went into planning one of my lessons. And then I had no Internet access for the whole weekend, so I couldn't post anything or visit anyone else's blogs.

Unfortunately, I also couldn't really post any pictures from the seminar. So instead, I thought I'd post something I took back in Kashima. I really liked this little shrine, because it was so peaceful and secluded--a very unusual sight in Japan.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Eye on the prize

Eye on the prize (experiment #2)

Well, since I haven't been able to shoot anything decent outside, I thought I'd try something inside instead. This is my first attempt at a still life.

As an aside. I have a question for you: what do you think when you see this? Does this say anything to you?

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Stone lantern in a pond at Hase Temple in Kamakura

Okay, it's time to start digging through my archives again. I've been ultra busy these days and haven't had any time to get new shots. So I decided to show this for now. It's another shot from Kamakura's Hase temple.

However, summer vacation is only a week away for me. This brings time off to enjoy, and more importantly, festivals and fireworks! Hopefully, this should bring lots of stuff to show you fine people here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A colourful experiment

Buddha colour experiment

First of all, I want to thank all the new people who keep coming in to see my blog. You really make this even more fun to do!

As for this shot, I know it's quite similar to what I posted a couple of days ago. But I finally got my hands on Photoshop, and thanks to Suby, I know how to do selective colouring now.

As soon as I saw this Buddha statue with the red cap and cloak, this was pretty much what I had envisioned.

Wish I may, wish I might

Votive tablets at Hase Temple in Kamakura

Buddhist temples sell special votive tablets, called "Ema" for people to write down their wishes. Hase temple in Kamakura had a plethora of tablets in a multitude of languages, wishing for all manner of things.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

How come THEY get the nice clothes?

A couple of dressed Buddha statues at Hase Temple in Kamakura

First of all, I want to apologize for not posting anything in the last two days. Things have been very hectic with work around here to say the least.

Second, I want to thank everyone who's been coming in here and leaving comments, both recent visitors and those who've been coming for a long time. You make this whole process so much more enjoyable.

Okay, as for this shot, it was taken at Hase temple in Kamakura. For some odd reason some people like to dress up the little Buddha statues. They're usually dressed in red, but I guess someone had other ideas.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sunset over lake Kitaura

This is a better crop of the sunset I think

As the sun sets on this past week of some of the most direct, yet honest criticism I've received yet, I want to say thank you to everyone for all your comments. I've really learned a lot this week and I hope to use my new-found knowledge to do even better from now on.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sparkly drink

Slight recrop of my friend with the sparkly tropical drink

I want to thank you all for your comments on yesterday's picture, though there didn't seem to be that many. I hope the one I posted on Tueday didn't turn everyone off.

This was to be the fourth picture in the series. I actually took this one with my 2 megapixel camera phone.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fenced in

A single buck through the fence

First, I'll explain this picture. Then I'll explain something else.

I took this picture up at Kashima Jingu shrine. The same place I took yesterday's picture. They have a small herd of deer there, but they're fenced off. It's actually quite sad to see these beautiful creatures caged in like in a zoo, when they should be living free.

Now, a few words about the challenge.

After reading the comments on yesterday's post, I decided that I'm not quite ready for Suby's challenge just yet. My archives are a little sparse, and they don't really have all too wide a variety of pictures.

However, I still want to keep posting. More imporantly, one thing I'm finding is that, by posting these pictures, I'm getting a lot of good feedback on how to make them better.

So here's what I'm thinking. For now, I'm going to simply post the picutres I was planning to post anyway, but not as part of the challenge. I'd like instead to get feedback on the pictures in and of themselves. If you think they suck, tell me why.

Because the strangest thing is, I probably learned more from yesterday's post than I have from all the good pics I've taken put together. So keep the remarks coming, no matter how bad you may think the pictures are.

In the meantime, I'll be reading the books I have on photography (including another good read through my camera manual to figure out a few things). Then I'll go out and try and recapture some of the ideas in Jide's photoblog. It's actually given me lots of really good ideas.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Suby's challenge, day 2: Soothing music

A man playing the ocarina at Kashima Jingu

Okay, it's now day 2 of Suby's challenge. I want to thank all of you for your comments so far. Don't be shy. Even if the comments are negative I want to hear them, provided they're constructive.

This shot was a textbook example of serendipity. I took the bike out to a city called Kashima last week, and went wandering around the grounds of a shrine complex there. I was in the middle of the wooded area when I heard this beautiful music comeing from somewhere.

I followed it down the stairs and saw this man playing an ocarina. He was nice enough to explain how he learned to play, and he even let me set up my tripod and take a few pictures.

Oh yeah, the reference shot from Jide's photoblog is here.

(This is totally unrelated, but it's for Micki: I made those penmanship books from alphabet practice pages from here and a few custom-made pages from here. They're great for kids to practice their handwriting! Sorry for adding this here, but I don't have Micki's e-mail :)

Edit: I think there's something important that I should mention here. Suby's challenge specifically said to go through my archives for the past month and look for things that I can either recreate or capture a similar theme of.

Well, my archives are a bit on the sparse side to be honest. And as such, some of these things are going to be a bit of a stretch. If I could go out and take new pictures to try and recreate Jide's shots I would. But since I can't, I have no choice but to work with what I have.

It's either that or forfeit the challenge. And that's something I am not prepared to do.

So here we go. Let's see what I can pull off.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Suby's challenge, day 1: My bike by a rice field

My bike by a rice field

Well, it's day 1 of Suby's challenge. For those of you who don't know, my mentor and harshest critic--and a good mentor must be a harsh critig to be a good mentor--issued a challenge. He told me to look at the archives of and try and find five pictures from my archives that recreate or capture a similar themed image.

For my first shot, I decided to take Azhar's favourite pic and put it up here. The theme I was trying to recreate is captured in this shot. What do you think?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A rain channel at Hasedera, Kamakura

The chain rain channel in black and white

Many places in Japan use either bronze cups chianed together or simpler chains like this one to channel the water from the roof. I really liked this one, and I wanted to save it until later. Then Tore suggested I post it immediately. (Thanks Tore!) But when Suby issued his challenge, I wanted to hang on to it in case I could use it.

Well, after looking through the archives of (which I recommend you all to do, since it's fantastic!), I decided that I couldn't use it for the challenge after all. So I'm posting it today.

I have another photo that I'm posting tomorrow on Azhar's insistance (thanks Azhar! You rock dude!), and then the challenge, as they say, is on. Wish me luck!