The weather in Japan has been quite nice in the last couple of days, and I've been shooting a lot around the Nikko Cedar Avenue. It is by far my favorite place in the area. You might see a lot of pictures from Suginamiki in the future post of the blog... so that you know! :)
It's been several years since I try to motivate myself to write blog articles daily. But there is always something that cuts my momentum.
Today I want to do that simple. I will create a post per day that will include one or maybe only two images. I will share pictures which document my daily life here in Japan, nothing more.
Here is Regular Everyday Normal Guy in Japan 01
Recently I've been hunting for old film cameras, and for this purpose, I went to an area in Nikko called Imaichi. Imaichi is the most populated area of Nikko. There, I found some elderly people playing "ground golf," and I decided to stop to say HI!
No this is not Irohazaka. This is road number 277 who begins at Yumoto Onsen and get you to Okorogawa. Those you follow me on Youtube know that I've recently purchased a Honda Little Cub, which is a small 50cc motorcycle made by Honda. I bought the bike mostly to get out and shoot more photos and videos. I sometimes find that driving a car in Japan is a hustle, purchasing a small motorbike solved the problem. Today I decided to get back on road 277 for the second time. I didn't drive all the way to Okorogawa, but it's on my list for next week!
Instagram + Street + Japan
As someone who spends a lot of time on Instagram, I thought that I could introduce you to some of the excellent street photographers I am following here in Japan. Here's a list of Japanese street photographers you should be following on Instagram this year!
The city is getting ready
Next year, Tokyo will be hosting its second summer Olympics, just like in Katsuhiro Otomo's movie, Akira. A prediction/coincidence that makes the geekiest people feels like they love sports. Even if this is a pretty cool thing for the manga fans, let's make it clear... the city won't be taken over by a teenage motorcycle gang, and a godlike child with super nuclear power won't destroy it. Then what's going to happen? Well, pretty much the same thing that happened to any other city which hosted the Olympics Games in the past.
They will build (they've already started) a lot of new hôtels and accommodations, and they will upgrade some of their transportation systems to make it more efficient. They will also use the technology to accommodate the non-japanese speaking tourist and much more. Here's a look at some of the upgrade the city is undergoing.
I've been digging how to become a better photographer lately, and I would like to document some of the results I've come up with since the beginning of this journey. What follows are personal pieces of advice (from me to me). I haven't won a World Press Award yet, and I did not submit myself to become a Magnum photographer either, but I think that what's written below makes a lot of sense from my perspective. You are welcome to look at what I found and try it out by yourself if just like me, you want to learn more about dealing with a photography business and becoming a better photographer.
Watch less, listen more
We photographer, love gear, photo stories, reviews and all that stuff concerning photography that in fact, doesn't matter. Think about it, do you think Martin Parr or David Guttenfelder spend their free time watching reviews of the new Fujifilm X-T3 on Youtube? Well, I haven't asked them, but I am pretty sure the answer would be no. They are busy working on their photo projects and working on their photography business. Don't get me wrong; I think Youtube is an excellent learning platform for a photographer when used wisely. Learning how to let go of all the cool stuff that we want to watch is step number one.
I said watch less and listen more. I meant that we should also focus more on podcast or video with voice content, things we can listen without having to look at a screen. That makes a lot of sense because it allows us to do others stuff at the same time. It saves us time! We can listen to a podcast in our car, while we are working, while we are jogging, but we can't watch a video while doing these. Skip the screen! Of course, those podcasts or talks should also be about a subject that matters, that's obvious. Let's focus on conversations that are straightly related to growing photography business, a topic like how to find potential customers, how to brand yourself, how to get the best out of social media, how to create content, etc. The best photographers are the best businessman in the domain, they know how to sell their products and services, and that's what we should be studying. There is a lot of good stuff available for free, instead of watching why John Smith changed his Sony A7ii for the A7iii, we should listen to guys like Gary Vee who teaches people how to grow their brand. It makes sense to me.
From my phone to an exhibition at the London Leica Café in UK
In August 2017, I won my first photo contest ever. Nothing very glamour, a simple monthly contest from the excellent street photography blog StreetHunters.com. If you're not familiar with them, they put out a new friendly competition every month. The winners get some sort of visibility on their platform (Instagram, blog, etc.), fair enough!
That month, the theme was quite simple: the color yellow. I wanted to give the contest a try, so I started looking in my archives to find a photograph where the color was dominant enough. After going through most of my pictures, I found one from my wedding trip in Japan (2011), a photo that I had never published before. Not even once! I sent it.
The photo was the result of a quick snap from my iPhone 4, and for that reason, I had never considered it as an excellent picture. At that time, I thought those excellent photographers only used cameras, not smartphones. A few weeks later, I received an email from one of the StreetHunters' authors announcing that my picture made it to the top 3. Another week then, a second email came with another good news: I had won the contest!
Gosh! Why the hell did I hide that picture for 6 years!!! I said to myself! From that moment, I started caring more about the content of my images and less about the tool used. I had the proof I was wrong.
Last year, I decided to send the same picture to another contest, the 2018 SPi Award (Street Photography International Award). Again the image was chosen, I made it to the Top 20 finalists, and later it was part of an exhibition at the London Leica Café in the UK. Second proof I was wrong.
As I am writing this blog post, the picture is still published on one the London Leica Café's websites, next to the winning image.
I know that you've heard it before, but I am going to repeat it one more time... Chase Jarvis once said: "the best camera is the one that's with you," and that's fucking true.
Thank you for reading!
Last year I started offering photography excursion to travelers who want to get the best out of their trip in Nikko. During the one-day "photo tour" I bring my customers to different areas where they can shoot beautiful images that suit their interest, plus they get to see a lot more places than any regular travelers who visit Nikko on a one day trip. Win/Win!!!
Two weeks ago, I had a client from Australia who was lucky enough to book his excursion during the Setsubun Festival, a very friendly Japanese event, where the Demon gets hunted, and "o-kashi" gets thrown at the participants.
We had a blast shooting the small Festival, and he felt fortunate to be in Nikko on that day. When you travel, do you plan your trip according to a special event and festival?
4 good reasons to climb up the Tokyo Skytree to take pictures
If you have subscribed to my YT channel, you know that I have been trying a lot of different photography spots in Tokyo lately.
I found that one of the best places to shoot Tokyo was the Tokyo Skytree. Here's four reason why you should consider this spot the next time you'll visit the Japanese Capital.
1. It is impressive!
The Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan.
The Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world.
The Tokyo Skytree is the second tallest structure in the world after Dubai's Burj Khalifa. Okay, I get it is quite tall!
2. Fuji San baby!
You can see Mount Fuji. If you are lucky enough (good weather) you can photograph Mount Fuji behind a fantastic panoramic view of Tokyo.
I am a "go with the flow" person when it comes to travel for photography purposes, but I know that a lot of you guys like to plan and schedule their itinerary, especially when you're visiting a country for the first time. I wrote this blog, so you can discover an exciting place in Tokyo, a very street photo friendly place.
I have recently posted a video on my Youtube channel concerning Tokyo's best spots (Top 10) to take photographs, and since I really had a blast creating this video, I thought it would be interesting to push a little further and present other places in the Japanese Capital, this time with a focus on street photography. If you consider New York as one of the best street photography destinations in the world, Tokyo is probably the second. Let me prove it to you. (follow me on Instagram).
For this first "Killing the Street in Tokyo" post, I have chosen Ueno as the first location to be featured. Ueno is a fun place to shoot in Tokyo, because of the diversity of its areas. While there is, of course, regular crowded and busy Japanese street, you also find a huge park and a bunch of super busy market streets, the Ameyoko Market. The busy and noisy streets of the market are for me one of the most challenging places in Tokyo to capture street images, but it's okay because I am always looking for a challenge. How about you? :)