As I mentioned in the last post, I just recently purchased my first ever Digital SLR camera: A Nikon D40. And I love it. Although there are a few things I miss about my S2 IS (i.e. the mega-zoom), shooting with a real SLR just feels so much more…satisfying. Or “real.” Or something.
In any case, it’s done exactly what I was hoping it would: revitalized my interest in exploring and photographing Japan. It’s also shown me just how much I’ve got to learn about taking photos, so in addition to real-life practice I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading whatever I can get my hands on (eg KenRockwell.com) for tips on everything from actual shooting to the post-processing workflow. I’ve since picked up countless new Photoshop techniques, as well as adapted IrfanView as my new viewer-of-choice. Highly recommended.
The influx of new pictures has motivated me to get rid of the site’s Gallery (unmaintained for well over a year now) and replace it with a Photo of the Day section (idea stolen from Sushicam.com). My hope is that this’ll have the added benefit of keeping the site interesting even when I don’t have time for regular blogging. Although I’ll probably end up extracting some of the photos from previous posts (occasionally, until I’ve built up a better archive) the ability to queue up pictures in advance should help keep them fresh every single day.
…And what better a time to start with a new camera than the arrival of Springtime in Kyoto. The icicles in my apartment have melted, the brown tree-skeletons have been covered with bright green leaves, and the grey overcast weather has been replaced by blue skies as far as the eye can see. Although I immensely enjoyed my first winter in Japan (mainly because I’d never lived anywhere with snow), the more time passes the more I realize that deep down I’m still a California boy. I just can’t live without sunshine. This Winter I started to find myself feeling very, very affected by the weather – going to bed hungry because it was too cold to go to the store, skipping the gym before work because the morning air was below zero, etc. I know, I’m spoiled…but what can I say? Winters just don’t exist where I grew up. And let’s not forget how much building insulation sucks in Japan 😉
But now that the days are long and it’s T-Shirt weather again, the feeling is fantastic. I’ve finally started to take advantage of my company’s “afternoon flexi” system, extending my lunch to 3.5 hours (12:30-4:00, and working until 9:00) so I can get some quality time in the great outdoors. After spending all winter locked up in a sealed-off, sweaty programming lab, I just can’t seem to get enough fresh air.
And aside from some “issues” (work) which I can’t yet discuss, things have been pretty good. I spent the last few weeks photographing Cherry Blossoms, watching Geisha dances, traveling in Hiroshima, hanging out with my dad, and riding a bike through the Japanese Alps towards Takayama.
And now that I’m back in Kyoto and things have calmed down a bit, more interesting posts shall follow.**