JTL Photography: Blog http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) JTL Photography mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) Sun, 18 Jun 2017 10:01:00 GMT Sun, 18 Jun 2017 10:01:00 GMT Out in the countryside http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/out-in-the-countryside I'm fundamentally a city person. I've lived most of my life in cities of various sizes, and the place I call home now is one of Japan's larger cities.

This shouldn't be taken to mean that I dislike the countryside, though; I spent a year in the countryside of Nagano prefecture when I first came to Japan, and it was an interesting experience.

This is just to introduce this week's post as a kind of postscript to the last two "opportunities" posts; it is a collection of shots from what can only be described as 田舎 in Japanese, their word for countryside (the neutral word, at least : I recently came across the word 僻地 which the dictionary defined as "the backcountry, the sticks". So I don't know if that's meant to be positive or not).

In any case, hope you like these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coincidentally, these were all shot with the Sony RX-10, mainly because it was extremely bright on the day and the in-camera HDR function came in very useful, as did the zoom range.

More to come, so keep an eye out and thanks for looking!

 

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/out-in-the-countryside Sun, 18 Jun 2017 10:01:11 GMT
Opportunities, part 2 http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/opportunities-part-2 Finishing off the two parter from last week, here are the rest of the photos from various parts of this neck of the woods. Enjoy.

 

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That covers this article, but still plenty more to come.

Thanks for looking!

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/opportunities-part-2 Sun, 11 Jun 2017 10:19:47 GMT
Opportunities, part 1 http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/opportunities-part-1 Thanks to the visit of a family member recently, we had plenty of chances to go to slightly different places in the local and local-ish areas. Needless to say my cameras all came along and got a good workout. This and the next post will consist largely of photos taken on these trips. Hope you enjoy them; here's part 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Should have part 2 up at the same time next week.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/opportunities-part-1 Sun, 04 Jun 2017 09:43:24 GMT
"No more than twenty" http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/-no-more-than-twenty I was trying to come up with a title for this post, and I remembered a video I have of Jay Maisel in Paris with Scott Kelby. During a break in the shooting, Scott asked Jay "how many shots should be in a portfolio?" The answer : "not more than twenty". 

Jay went on to explain that generally, the fewer photos you show, the better, and that you can have too much of a good thing, even if the photos are great.

When I started this blog a few years back, I was posting fewer than ten pictures per entry initially; that number has risen, but I still try and keep it to a reasonable number each time.

Anyway, that's just a prelude to this week's post, which also has fewer than twenty pictures. Interestingly, a slight majority of these were shot with the RX10. I say "interestingly" because I consider it a second camera to the Epson, albeit a very capable second camera. In any case, hope you enjoy these.

 

 

 

 

 

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A "pair" here; I found some excellent reflections in a river and decided to play around with them.

 

 

 

 

 

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That's it for this entry, still plenty more to come.

 

Thanks for looking!

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/-no-more-than-twenty Sun, 28 May 2017 09:40:39 GMT
Routines http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/routines After the three-post GW, it's back to the as-regular-as-I-can-make-it Sunday evening.

No theme here (other than the fact that they were all shot with the R-D1), just a collection of recent shots. 

Hope you enjoy them, anyway!

 

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I have a fairly significant backlog of photos, so there should be regular posts from here on for at least the next few weeks.

Thanks for looking!

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/routines Sun, 21 May 2017 09:29:08 GMT
The GW Challenge Part 3 - the rest http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/the-gw-challenge-part-3---the-rest OK, technically Golden Week is over, but I've had a guest and I've been busy. That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it! 

Anyway, the last of the three GW posts is here. No special theme, and featuring shots from a myriad of (well, three) photographic devices - the RX10, R-D1 and iPhone 6 Plus. Hope you like them.

 

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I didn't quite keep to the specifications I set, but three posts is three posts. We'll be back to the (ideally) once-a-week pattern from here on, and I took enough pictures over Golden Week to keep this blog going for quite some time even if I don't shoot another photo (which is unlikely).

Thanks for looking!

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/the-gw-challenge-part-3---the-rest Tue, 09 May 2017 11:44:15 GMT
The GW Challenge / Sakura part 2 http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/the-gw-challenge-/-sakura-part-2 Part 2 of this little Golden Week project and also the concluding part of the cherry blossom posts.

Enjoy!

 

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Short and sweet (one hopes), but as I mentioned, the weather was somewhat unpredictable during the peak period. 
 

One more post to come to complete this mini-challenge, and it will be either on a different theme entirely or have no theme as such.

 

Thanks for looking!

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/5/the-gw-challenge-/-sakura-part-2 Wed, 03 May 2017 09:22:13 GMT
The GW Challenge / Sakura 2017 part 1 http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/the-gw-challenge-/-sakura-2017-part-1 While I rarely have trouble coming up with material for this blog, it's good now and then to break out of the once-a-week (ish) pattern. So the goal here is three posts between now and somewhere around the end of the first week of May, to coincide with Golden Week (a sequence of holidays in Japan which, if you work in the right sector and get lucky with the timing, add up to a week off or even slightly more).

The first such post is the first of two of the pretty much obligatory cherry blossom (sakura) posts I have planned. Shot in equal measure between the R-D1 and the RX100. Hope you enjoy both parts - here is the first. There are relatively few pictures overall, as the weather wasn't totally co-operative while the flowers were at or near their peak. But there are enough for two posts.

 

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Part 2 of this (and of the challenge) should be up within the next couple of days.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/the-gw-challenge-/-sakura-2017-part-1 Sat, 29 Apr 2017 10:03:04 GMT
All-in-one http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/all-in-one I've slowly been getting more and more used to the Sony RX10, after initially being somewhat lukewarm about it. It has made me start looking at things like aspect ratios, which I had never really considered before, and I've even (hangs head in shame) started shooting JPEG with it, to make use of the extended zoom. Sony claim that it is less destructive than regular digital zoom and, as I mentioned in a previous post, I've seen some pictures which seem to suggest that there may be something to that claim.

Anyway, everything in this post is from the 28-200mm equivalent, f2.8 constant, all-rounder. Hope you like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I met this man and his dog in the local park. It's hard to say who was the more entertaining; they were both real characters. The dog's name is "Django", apparently named after the legendary jazz guitarist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And lastly, this one, which came out sort of like an old Chinese painting. Not how I envisioned it, but these lucky accidents happen.

 

 

 

 

Plenty more to come including the fairly-much-obligatory-if-you-live-in-Japan cherry blossom pictures.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/all-in-one Sun, 16 Apr 2017 09:46:26 GMT
Drones? Who needs 'em? http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/drones-who-needs-em The title is deliberately misleading; I actually find the concept of drone photography interesting, and it's something I'm thinking about looking into as the quality continues to improve.

For now though (and to explain the title) a post which is all about flying. All but the first two shots and the final one were shot from the window of a plane on a trip from Hokkaido to Nagoya. The manual focus nature of the Epson R-D1 was very useful here : just set it to infinity (or as close as makes no difference), frame and shoot.

Enjoy!

I liked this shot I got at the station (Asahikawa, in central Hokkaido), so I want to put it in here.

 

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Then we had to take a bus to the airport itself; this was shot from the window of the bus

 

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On to the aerial shots...

 

 

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Approaching Nagoya 

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And finally, after the plane touched down, I got a lucky break with both framing and light

 

 

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More to come in due course

Thanks for looking!

 

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/drones-who-needs-em Sun, 09 Apr 2017 09:59:08 GMT
Yesterday's news today. http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/yesterdays-news-today I sometimes think it's good to be a little different. Most people shoot mirrorless cameras or DSLRs; my main go-to camera is a rangefinder (although I do have a mirrorless for certain situations). Most people work 9-5, I work afternoon-to-evening.

The point of that comment is that this post features photos of an event which happened about three weeks ago. In the Facebook age,  where you can literally show something as it happens, three weeks is forever.  But one of the things I've learned from studying the great photographers is never to edit your work too quickly. The more time you give it before sorting out the good from the bad, the more objective you can be. That's the theory, anyway.

However. On to the photos. These are of the Nagoya Women's Marathon which took place on 12th March. I was looking at the supporting cast just as much as the athletes. I'm presenting these in the order they were taken in. Hope you enjoy them.

 

 

 

 

 

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The weather was probably good for the runners, but the light was extremely harsh. Still, you shoot with what's there!

Plenty more to come, so keep an eye out.

Thanks for looking!

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/4/yesterdays-news-today Sun, 02 Apr 2017 10:18:13 GMT
Slipping through the cracks and cameras which grow on you, part 3 http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/slipping-through-the-cracks-and-cameras-which-grow-on-you-part-3 It turns out that there were enough pictures left after parts one and two to justify a final part of this catchup set. So here it is.

 

The wonders of spot metering

 

 

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The RX10 has a sort of digital zoom mode (JPEG only) which apparently does less damage to the image than regular digital zoom. I've seen some pictures where that seems to be partly true and others where it doesn't, but for web display purposes, shooting at the highest quality of JPEG is more than enough. And sometimes you just want to compress the living daylights out of a scene:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was one of those times where you have to listen to the masters of the past, in this case Doisneau (at least it is attributed to him) : "If you stay right where you are, people will come to you". The dark/light pattern on the ground was just begging for someone to come along, and they did. I should have shot it with the cyclist lower down in the frame, but you shoot what you can when you can, and the R-D1 is hardly a 12FPS monster.

 

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This three parter has certainly gone some way to purging the archives. Next post will be on a different theme, one I haven't entirely decided on yet.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/slipping-through-the-cracks-and-cameras-which-grow-on-you-part-3 Sun, 26 Mar 2017 08:11:25 GMT
Slipping through the cracks and cameras which that grow on you, part 2 http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/slipping-through-the-cracks-and-cameras-which-that-grow-on-you-part-2 Second part of this ambiguously worded set...

 

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That's the conclusion of part 2; in keeping with the "ambiguity" theme, there may or may not be a part 3. If there is not, there will certainly be something else in its place.

Thanks for looking!

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/slipping-through-the-cracks-and-cameras-which-that-grow-on-you-part-2 Sun, 19 Mar 2017 09:09:38 GMT
Slipping through the cracks and cameras that grow on you, part 1 http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/slipping-through-the-cracks-and-cameras-that-grow-on-you-part-1 I'm not totally sure if that title qualifies as a garden path sentence or is merely ambiguous. But it represents the theme well so it stays.

 

Before going to Tokyo and Shizuoka, I did quite a lot of shooting with the Sony RX10, which I bought to complement the R-D1. For quite a while I didn't really like using it. It's a very competent camera. It handles ISO 2500 and even 3200 fine for viewing on a screen, which is impressive given its sensor size and pixel density. It even has a form of digital zoom which, Sony claims, results in far less image degradation than normal digital zoom. Despite all this, plus decent stabilization, I didn't enjoy using it. Nevertheless, I'm starting to get more familiar with it and I'm also starting to appreciate its versatility.

The R-D1, it goes without saying, has no problems in this regard. I picked up some spare batteries for it, calibrated the needles, and I've started really experimenting with hyperfocal shooting, of which there should be evidence in future posts. 

In the meantime, the next few articles will be a kind of purging of the archives, featuring both cameras (and quite possibly some from the iPhone). Hope you enjoy them, and here we go with the first part.

 

 

 

 

Cat photo. Flamebait for other photographers!

 

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The crows in Japan are big, but they tend not to let you get too close unless you look like you have food for them. This one let me get unusually close (this was the R-D1)

 

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Yes, that's snow. We get it now and then in this part of Japan, as opposed to where my wife's family lives, where it is a constant presence until around March.

 

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One advantage of the RX10 over the Epson is, of course, the framing. This shot needed extremely precise framing, and it took me quite a while to line it up properly. With the Epson I would have been taking an educated guess, but the Sony's EVF makes precise framing easy.

 

 

 

 

 

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To quote Jay Maisel, "sometimes colour is the subject" (although, being American, he'd pronounce it as "color").

 

 

 

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Quite a bit more where that came from, so I hope to have part 2 up next week.

 

Thanks for looking!

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/3/slipping-through-the-cracks-and-cameras-that-grow-on-you-part-1 Sun, 05 Mar 2017 09:29:09 GMT
Mission : Mujin http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/mission-mujin "Mujin", 無人 in Japanese script, literally means "no person" or "no people". It's used in expressions like "無人島", meaning "uninhabited island", and 無人駅, meaning "unstaffed station".

The reason for this mini Japanese lesson is that the concluding part of the Shizuoka / Tokyo trip is designed to have no people in it, not necessarily an easy thing to do when there are so many people around. However, I had enough such pictures for an article, and this is it. Hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

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And finally, my personal pick of the bunch, which I feel has a sort of painterly quality to it. It's from a side path which you can take at Meiji Jingu.

 

 

 

That's it for the Shizuoka / Tokyo trip, but there are a good number of photos still to come from various other places.

 

Thanks for looking!

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/mission-mujin Sun, 26 Feb 2017 09:19:50 GMT
People in the city (2) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/people-in-the-city-2 The concluding part of the "people" set from Tokyo. Here we go.

 

 

 

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There will be one more Tokyo-themed post, hopefully next week.

 

Thanks for looking!

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/people-in-the-city-2 Sun, 19 Feb 2017 08:52:18 GMT
People in the city (1) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/people-in-the-city-1 Another chance to use a song title as a blog entry. (It's by Air, on the album "10000 hz legend" if you were wondering).

As the title suggests, this is a selection of mainly street shots of the teeming mass of humanity in Tokyo. As a great photographer once said about New York, "you miss one person, another is going to turn up in no time at all". Tokyo's the same.

I noticed while working through these images that a fair few of them show people in an "unrecognizable" form (silhouetted, etc). This is an idea which I've read about on the blog of Ming Thein. He has a similar idea which he calls "the idea of man" (and which he does better than I do).

Anyway, there are enough pictures for two posts of Tokyo street shots, so here's the first. Hope you like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The second part of this should be up next week.

 

Thanks for looking!

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/people-in-the-city-1 Sun, 05 Feb 2017 09:43:06 GMT
The beach and the city http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/the-beach-and-the-city While the previous shots of Mt Fuji were taken from the beach at Miho-no-Matsubara, I didn't show much of the beach itself. Time to rectify this.

You approach the beach on a path which goes by the modest name of "神の道" - literally, "the path of the Gods".

 

 

 

This leads to the entrance to the beach with the attendant pine trees ("matsubara" means something like "field of pines" or "plain of pines")

 

 

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Some more of the sea, but this time showing it in relation to humans.

 

 

 

 

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While this next one may not be the best photo I've shot in terms of technique or composition, I don't think I've ever had better light. Jay Maisel says that if you're not scared of losing a shot, it's not a good enough shot. When I turned round and saw the light here, I was, to use a colloquially British term, bricking it.

 

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Seems to be a good note on which to leave the beach and head to the capital. We made our way to the station to catch the Shinkansen, and I took the opportunity to get a shot that I normally don't have the opportunity to shoot. This is because I live in Nagoya, which is a major Shinkansen station and at which all trains stop, without exception. This time, however, we were going to Tokyo from a station through which some trains pass, and to see them blast through the station is quite a sight : the speed is awe-inspiring. Cue a low shutter speed, stabilization function on, a fairly wide angle and some decent timing :

 

 

 

The next morning, the Tokyo shooting got going in earnest.

 

 

 

 

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Our first "trip" within Tokyo was to a market. It was some way out, necessitating a fairly long bus ride. The place had a kind of Tsukiji-ish feel to it, minus the sheer chaos of that place.

 

 

 

 

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To wrap this one up, a couple of slightly abstract shots taken outside the main market area

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plenty more to come from Tokyo in the next entry, which should be next week.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/the-beach-and-the-city Sun, 29 Jan 2017 08:17:07 GMT
Two iconic Japanese sights http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/two-iconic-japanese-sights I'm going to do something slightly different today : a post featuring only two real subjects.

The trip through Shizuoka and to Tokyo allowed me to get very good viewpoints of two sights, one natural and one man-made, both of which are about as Japanese as you can get : Mount Fuji, and the Tokyo Sky Tree.

I saw Fuji at the amazing Miho-no-Matsubara, a beach area in Shizuoka which has jumped right to near the top of my favourite places in Japan, if not in the entire world (and which will certainly be featured more in future posts). As for the Sky Tree, well you can see that from pretty much anywhere. As it happened, out hotel had a viewing area on the top floor with a pretty decent view of it, so I took shots of it at different times of day, plus a few from the local area.

So as a little experiment, I'm going to alternate shots of these two super-famous landmarks. Hope you like it!

 

 

 

 

 

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The next post should hopefully be up in a week and will probably be back to the regular format.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/two-iconic-japanese-sights Sun, 22 Jan 2017 08:46:10 GMT
Shizuoka and Tokyo 2016 part 1 : Shizuoka and Nihondaira http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/shizuoka-and-tokyo-2016-part-1-shizuoka-and-nihondaira From 23rd to 26th December we took a short, but photographically pretty intense, trip through Shizuoka and on to Tokyo. I ended up with a lot of pictures, even after editing them down.

The first post in this series covers (briefly) Shizuoka itself and then the Nihondaira area, a pleasantly scenic walk through a wood-like area which then leads down to a small town and what was on that particular day an impressively rough sea.

I have a rather bad camera-related habit : whenever we end up going on a trip, I end up buying another camera. This time was no different. To complement the R-D1, I got hold of a Sony RX10 (the first iteration, and therefore not particularly expensive), which has almost the same control setup and layout as the RX100 (which my better half now uses), so it didn't take too long to get used to it. I got it as a versatile, do-everything-reasonably-well camera, and so far it has proven reliable. It will never be as satisfying to shoot as the Epson, and (to my slight surprise) the 12 year old Epson with the 55-year old Summicron on a 6 megapixel lens also buries the Sony in terms of image quality, but in terms of shooting envelope it is vastly more flexible. It can also sync with flashes at high speed.

Anyway. Here are the images, hope you like them.

To start with, a couple from the Shizuoka station area.

 

 

 

 

 

The Nidhondaira area :

 

 

 

 

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The iPhone got a look in too:

 

 

 

The beginning of the descent to the sea

 

 

 

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We happened to arrive in the small town at the bottom of the path just as they were carrying out a drum performance

 

 

 

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Finally, to round up this set, a set of shots of the sea doing its thing. I lived near the sea for some 17 years non-stop, so I have an affinity for it, and this includes photographing it.

 

 

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The next entry will be up, hopefully, next week. I'm still deciding on how to present it, but it should be there in any case.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

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mark24173@yahoo.co.uk (JTL Photography) http://jtlphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/shizuoka-and-tokyo-2016-part-1-shizuoka-and-nihondaira Sun, 15 Jan 2017 09:04:57 GMT