I don’t have a single karaoke photo that’s in focus. In-focus would mean that it wasn’t a very good time at karaoke so this is as it should be. Pentax MX?
This is an old friend from Japan showing me that she’d be the best model a photographer could have. I never thought to ask her to do so for many reasons. Not having the gear and assistants needed to make it worth everyone’s time being one of the main ones. Even simple glamour shots need a fair bit of work which is why I’m a documenter instead of an image constructor.
Not that I would have a model leaning on a car in a short skirt or something. I’d probably just have them hanging out in front of something like a shop or fishing boat in order to get a human aspect to the subject. It may seem like a waste of a model to some, but everyone tries to copy fashion magazines. Boring. But pointing into a crowd and hoping you capture strangers doing something interesting is more miss than hit. At least for me.
I like to think that having a willing model could help you get a nice balance between both approaches. Maybe one day.
I think this was at an event featuring some Tarento in Kagoshima. Shot with a Pentax MX.
You who care to click all the way through to the original image may notice that it’s slightly smaller than my usual 1400 pixel wide images. This is because I grabbed this photo from a folder called “Done Shots”. That’s where I dump images that have been uploaded to various blogs and sites like Flickr. It’s also where a lot of my images that were lost in The Great Crash of 2013 can be found. Just in reduced size.
While this one is big enough that I could probably get a decent print out of it, most of the others aren’t. And while those are big enough for blogging purposes, the small size means it’s impossible for me to work on them anymore. They are at the end of their use as images. I cannot crop them down or do some ‘shopping with them without rendering them an illegible mess. That is tragic to me. Like a friend that’s no longer alive.
Fellow tourists at Doutonbori in Osaka. Shot with an Olympus Pen E-P3.
Yesterday I sent my first film of this jaunt to Korea off to be developed. The local shop in the LotteMart only does digital prints like I was expecting and they had to mail it off to Seoul. My guess is that they send it to Photopia since they seem to be the only place that does it now… Though there may be something I’m missing on that page that says “No film!” I did find a shop up the street with a big yellow Kodak sign on the wall. However there are no posted hours. Just a phone number which suggests to me a business that’s open when the owner feels like coming in.
I’ll have to try and catch them some day to see if they can save me from being a fool with an antique.
I’ve yet to come across anything like this in Gunsan. I mean, sure, I’ve been in Korea again for a total of a week. I can’t expect to find much in such a short time. Poking around what little information is available online about the place suggests that I’m living well south of the heart of the city so once I’m more mobile (Say, after buying a bike) I’ll put in more effort to get up there and see what’s up.
I hiked about six kilometers around the area today and so far I’ve discovered the following: To the south of me are farms. To the east are seas of skyscraper apartment complexes. To the west is a section of town that looks like it boomed in the 90s before falling into a slow decay. I ran across a couple of very aggressive beggars there who wouldn’t take “No” for an answer. They did accept “Fuck off”, however. They didn’t push it past that which goes to show that being generally larger than the locals has its advantages. Regardless I have no plans to go back into that neighborhood.
Summer festival crowds in Miyakonojo. Shot with a Canon 550D or whatever it was marketed as in your area.
I’m probably weeks away from being able to post up interesting photos of Gunsan so it’s more of my Japanese images for you for the next while. It might even be closer a month or two since I’m on a pretty tight budget and I haven’t been able to find a place that does developing aside from a kiosk in the local Lottemart. Teach me to fly with the film camera instead of the digital because I felt my big chrome brick would be too expensive to have shipped later on.
I don’t look forward to having the “It’s a C-41 film, so it’s okay to feed into your machine even if you haven’t seen the brand before. Just develop it.”, conversation in Korean.
IIRC, this is looking towards Mt. Tara from across Omura Bay in Kyushu. Shot with a Canon 550D.
While I’m happily equipped with internet here in my new Korean apartment I’ve been too busy with the new job, as well as dealing with the jet lag, to post much up. There’s also the fact that I haven’t been in Gunsan long enough to get the lay of the land as far as interesting (to me) photography goes. There does seem to be the same problem I had in Miyakonojo: All cars and no feet. That is, everyone is driving and no one is walking about who isn’t a minor. The area I’m in is a new area and I’m a bit of a distance from the traditional gathering areas of the city so that may account for it. I’ll try and find out this weekend.
Assuming the job doesn’t wipe me out in the first week.
Another study of my little light in Japan. Shot with a Pentax MX.
I thought it appropriate to use this again since I’m now in Korea counting my pennies until my first pay day. There are benefits to the once a month payment method such as it being easier to make a budget and having it coincide with the bills coming in. But those first couple of months at a job can be tight and you inevitably have to get an advance on your next paycheck in order to make it through. This puts you at a disadvantage for another month.
Thankfully, the apartment comes with free internet so I’m starting off on a good foot and not getting sick from the grubby keyboards at the PC Bang.
Mamiya C220f. Two ladies exploring an international festival in Kagoshima’s Tenmonkandori area.
International festivals were always great ways to discover how isolated expats tend to be from each other unless they’re living in foreigner ghettos like Haebongchong in Seoul or Roppongi in Tokyo. You get there and, “Where did all these people come from? I mean aside from different countries.” crosses your mind. “Man, I really am out there in the boonies!” quickly scurries after it while giving your mind a sheepish grin.
Isolation is something that you will have to deal with as an expat unless you have particularly lax standards for the people you spend your time with. Even if you don’t you do have to make allowances for personalities and traits that may set your teeth on edge in normal circumstances. This is very true if you’re someone who is uncomfortable with their own company. I view “Comfortable with your own company” to be one of the most important traits to have when you embark on The Path Of The Expat simply due to the bad company you inevitably find yourself with when the idea of doing anything by yourself is frightening.
A sign warning kids away from the outskirts of Miyakonojo Station. Shot with a Mamiya C220f.
Miyakonojo Station shows every sign of once being a much busier station than it is today. The train yard still has three platforms, but there’s far more space than that on the grounds. I don’t know if it was used to store trains at night or if there were more frequent trains heading towards the other small towns of Miyazaki-Ken and Kagoshima-Ken. Today the traffic pretty much just runs east-west between Miyazaki city and Kagoshima. One line does head north around the Kirishima volcanic mountain range towards the “cities” of Kobayashi, Ebino, and Yoshimatsu. I often wanted to take an exploratory trip to the end of that line but the every-three-hours-ends-at-dinner-time schedule turned me off of the idea.
There was another train line heading south from Miyakonojo that was discontinued in the 80s. I assume it went to Shibushi* because there isn’t much else down there. I did bike down this route one spring. A good ten kilometers of the line had been converted to a public trail for use by joggers and cyclists alike. Something similar happened here in Nova Scotia with our abandoned lines, except this one was paved for its entire length and no one would have thought it funny to use an ATV to destroy the path by spinning doughnuts.
This is why we can’t have nice things in the Maritimes.
*You know how to use Google Maps. Look these places up.
The typical small village you find littering all of Japan’s mountains and valleys in the furious glare of the Kyushu sun. Olympus Pen EE2.
Like in the west, it’s not all farmers and the unfortunately trapped who live in these small places. A lot of times yee olde country house was bought or built by some rich urban retiree who felt they needed to get away from the neighbours and into something more rustic. Maybe they have a little hobby farm. Maybe they just spend heaps of money of gas getting back to the city regularly for work. But at least they’re still doing all of that getting in touching with whatever they’re trying to get in touch with.
A (might be a) couple waiting for the bus in Miyazaki. Shot with an Olympus Pen EE2.
The folder says April, 2011. Given that it holds photos from earlier in the year (You get about 72 shots on a roll with a half frame camera) I think this image was taken around the same time as Shinmoedake was erupting all over me. A fairly minor inconvenience compared to what happened a few months later with the Tohoku Earthquake. It’s hard to believe that was three years ago.
This is a small part of Naksan Temple (낙산사) on Korea’s east coast. Shot with a Cannon 30D… In color if you can believe it!
The east coast of Korea, save the Busan area, is relatively underpopulated due to being essentially a thin strip of land between mountain and sea. It does boast a lot of Korea’s prettier landscapes, and the mountains do help a slight bit with the filthy air blowing in from China at around this time of the year. Ulsan is about as close as that side of the country gets to having a big city, and it’s not too far from the more exciting Busan so that’s not much of a draw for me. Might be a good place for someone I know to putz around in.
I went there as part of my farewell to Korea before I was to head to Taiwan to try my luck. (Alas, I am a man without luck, so I can’t say it was my last tour of Korea.) A friend decided that she was going to take me to see the sun rise one last time in Korea and we drove down there overnight to be the first people in the country to see it. (The sunrise-blocking mountains of Korea are mostly on the east coast, facing Japan. Plate tectonics means the rest of the nation is in shadow when the sun rises.) The weather wasn’t cooperating so all we got to see was the fog turn a lighter shade of grey. She’s a huge coffee drinker and I hadn’t become a filthy bean junkie yet so while she was energetically dragging me up the side of a mountain to go get enlightened, I was ready to curl up on Buddha’s lap and sleep.
The ride back was exciting because even she was losing it as we were approaching Seoul. I had to yelp twice about us swerving into the wrong lane to keep her awake… When I wasn’t sleeping myself. Dunno what might have happened if we both nodded off at the same time.
Some film, money, and a passport in a small Taichung apartment. (Edited for a better crop)
If I ever have the money to retire (Which I won’t because the Plutocrats ate all of society’s wealth and I’ll die on the job… if I’m lucky.) my plan is to grab my camera and live out of a suitcase. Seeing everything the world has to offer and documenting it for future generations who won’t be able to see it themselves as they’re going to become the technological equivalent of serfs thanks to the successful efforts of the above mentioned Plutocrats.