I thought these guys were pretty cute. Zoboomafoo! As cute as I thought they were, Japanese people thought they were even cuter. They would watch them for hours and hours and just giggle. Hearing them giggle and watching them point were just as entertaining as the actual mammal itself!
I feel lucky to have gone to Okinawa twice in one year! Lucky me! Regular readers know I love Japan, and Okinawa is a special little island that has its own little cultural ecosystem. Things are a little bit different here and it’s fun to notice the delta between the two. This is a photo of the Ritz-Carlton where we stayed on both occasions. What a cool spot, eh? It’s also just a short walk down to the beach where you can relax… Most Japanese people don’t go to the beach to relax, but it’s more common down here on this island.
Here’s kind of a cool trick! If you click on this photo, you’ll get all the interesting info including a satellite photo of where it was taken from. This is a super cool feature of the DJI drones in that it records the GPS data of every photo. After you get over to Smugmug, click the three lines on the left and it will open up all the EXIF including a cool map down at the bottom.
In today’s photo, you’ll see I used the technique I mention in last week’s exclusive Passport Sunday how-to video. I love how it turned out on this one, which I feel is sort of a combination of landscape and architecture.
The Processing of the Onsen
I think you’ll really enjoy today’s how-to video which is a combination of HDR and the new filtering technique!
This area of Japan was one of my latest discoveries right before Covid Corona 19 kicked in. I had decided to spend some extra time exploring the snowy recesses from the north. This is actually the place that inspired Spirited Away, if you’re a Japanese Anime geek like me… it’s called Ginzen Onsen and I stayed right over there on top of that cool old Japanese cottage. Down underground was a little network of beautiful, natural onsens all fed by hot natural mineral water. It was incredible. I was the only non-Japanese person in there, and no one else I saw spoke any English, so there was just a lot of nodding and smiling, which I interpreted as, “Yeah, this is really awesome, fellow human!”
That clever team has come up with something I’ll probably use even more than all their cool camera and bag gear – this slick case and mounting system for your phone and a bunch of accessories to go with it! I’m actually pretty good when it comes to using my phone… I’m not on it all the time, but I’m still on it quite a bit. I’ve tried a few mounting systems, but they all seem a bit janky as if they were designed by someone that might possibly be a bit insane. Well, when you watch this video, you’ll see how they have thought about this system in the same kind of 360, detailed manner as they did their bags, camera straps, and everything else they make. I know you’re wondering if it will work on YOUR phone and the case will if you have the iPhone 11 or 12 or a Samsung S20. For everyone else, or at least most of you, there is a Universal Mount… that’s one of the cool things about joining the Kickstarter community there because you can get into all the design discussions to see what models will be officially supported. The community there is incredible because you can ask any question (and they will answer), and you can provide any sort of feedback or ideas they have. This is probably one of the reasons that Peak Design makes such incredible products… they really listen! Go see now at Kickstarter.
Check out the Kickstarter here.
Daily Photo – After the Photo Walk in Kyoto
Just after we finished the big photo walk, I decided to take a few photos of this cool temple at dusk before sunset. It’s always a bit awkward after photo walks because a few people end up hanging around as long as they can. I don’t mind it, really, because I’m a super-nice guy! But I don’t always know what to say after the official thing is over… I am just kind of taking photos by myself, and I kind of feel the need to explain to them what I am doing… so it is kind of hard to turn off that mode, you know?
Oh man, seeing this photo once again reminds me of how much I miss Japan! I really want to get over to Osaka more to explore this area. I usually get stuck in Tokyo or far afield and I end up ignoring Osaka like it is a red-headed stepchild. I hope this doesn’t actually turn out to be true, if I end up with a red-headed stepchild. But if they live in Osaka, then I guess it’s a reason to visit.
This was my 7th trip to Kyoto, but my first one with the Hasselblad. Something about having a new toy changes the texture of a photo adventure, I think! Also, because that thing was so slow and had a slightly different aspect ratio, it made me re-envision shots in a new way.
We came back a second day to do some more shooting at one of my favorite areas of Kyoto. I had never been there in the rain before, so it made the whole place extra romantic. Also, I love seeing Japanese people walking around with umbrellas… that always makes me smile for some reason!
What an incredible city this is to shoot at night! I love taking photos at night and it could not be any safer. You might see a few drunken salarymen out wandering the streets, but they are all happy and good fun! The other thing I like about the whole scene is how it slides a bit into the cooler, blue colors, which gives it more of a Blade Runner feel.