Two Views

Two views from up top and one from down below. One gives you something to aspire to, The others show your reach.

Self-Possession in a Garden of Delight

From the orchards in Dejima, Nagasaki.

Early this year I walked into my bedroom showered, tired, and ready for bed. Flipped the light. Baby spider was on my pillow. We both looked at each other for a beat. I charged, it JUMPED behind the bed, and I slept in the other room. I am not an arachnophob. Not really. Unnerved. Unsettled. Proof that they live amongst us both fascinates me and puts me on edge and, yes, terrifies me. Walking through Dejima’s orchards and gardens in the rain — umbrella in one hand, camera in the other — I… Read More

The samurai and the merchant

A trip to Dejima to visit samurai and old western merchants.

Nagasaki and my first Photoshop

The guardians of the temple: Teachers.

Nagasaki is is one of the two southernmost places in the four islands which make up Japan. It’s blisteringly hot in the summer with unrelenting humidity, unless you went last month. Some of the perks to traveling in the rain are the mild temperature, no sunburn, and perspiration-free. I’ve been to Nagasaki in the summer and I was grateful for the overcast. Nagasaki was rebut after the war. The city is a mix of the remainders of the rushed post-war architecture, historical buildings which survived the bomb, and The New, all laid… Read More

I need an intervention! Nagasaki and Photoshop

boy in heart shaped glasses

I bought instant coffee. I remember that first hit off my Nikon bong. I thought I could handle it — I really did, but before long I was in for a major headtrip in Lightroom. Before these addictions started eating away my life I was just a normal man engaged in average things: Molecular gastronomy, Marvel Comics and the New 52, Japanese pop music, yoga and free weights. And dinner parties. I loved throwing weekend dinner parties. This year I got into blogging and got into the routine each morning of making… Read More

How to make a rainy day okay

I didn’t want it to rain during my vacation. I didn’t plan for it. I didn’t expect it, but it rained every single day. That first day, in my white linen shorts and black underpants (never again), I knew whether I enjoyed myself was entirely up to me. So when things don’t go the way you plan, the sky seems — or is — gray, do as I did with this series of photos: Lighten the mood; find the beauty; be grateful for what is, not unhappy about what isn’t. There’s nothing… Read More

Naoshima, light on a rainy day

How to talk about something which is an individual impression and which is forbidden to photograph or draw? Naoshima Chichibu Art Museum. The rains were heaviest when I arrived on the island peaking with several squalls sending rain down the long winding roads as a rivers into the sea. No traffic moved until the intensity lessened to a hard rain. With a dozen others, I waited in the ferry terminal (link to pictures) till about ten a.m. after which we piled into a tiny shuttle bus and were motored twenty minutes up and through… Read More

See through me

My last evening in Okayama ended with a huge fireworks display. The next morning I woke at 5:00 a.m. to catch the earliest train to the pier for a ferry ride over to Naoshima. What you’ll need to remember for length of the series is that I had three pairs of short pants for a one-month trip: One bright white linen pair (from last years trip to Spain), black workout shorts, and plaid Abercrombie; I packed three tank tops and matching overs shirts; and I only had the crocs on my feet…. Read More

Colors, costumes, calibrators

Over the weekend I purchased a color calibrator, the X-Rite i1. Color calibrators put all the color variables (hue, saturation, luminance) back into proper alignment. I’m not sure how monitor colors get knocked out of alignment, but after running the program it is clear to me they do: It’s like I have a new computer: The colors are fresh, the edges crisp and clean. Putting your monitors colors back into alignment means that blue is blue, and not shown as one of the (seemingly) infinite variations, which is important when editing photos…. Read More

Lost time and the dancer

I sat down at my computer around three this afternoon intending to leave at 3:30. I looked up and it was 10:30 — Damn you Lightroom! The short version (I will flesh out later) is I went to a school function yesterday and today and went nuts with my camera. I prefer to bracket my shots, sift through and find the ones which communicate my intention. It’s a lot of work. Nothing difficult, but looking, rating, comparing, reviewing the selections and doing it again take time. Next I start editing. To teach… Read More

And A River Runs Through It

  Okayama city is bisected by the small river you see, a footpath on either side and small bridges every block. Along the paths in either direction are statues. Some are of Greek gods, other abstracts, still others and then more on top of that. Around the city are memorials to artist, athletes, (respected) politicians, businessmen and notable people from the city. The dance done, people went out for supper and this very large metropolis was still for about an hour. The rain had turned to occasional drizzle. The clouds broke —… Read More

The country under the mask

okayama momotaro matsuri

And so there was a festival in Okayama where groups of friends, community groups, alumni and students — any assemblage of any kind is welcome — form a kind of dance troupe between 30 – 100 members and perform to given theme to one of a dozen specific tunes. They follow behind a small truck blasting their tune down kilometer long shopping arcades, or city streets closed off. For hours and hours they dance before moving to the next venue. To keep relevant cities take whatever celebrity happens their way and find… Read More