There are mainly only two things about daily life in Tokyo that I miss, first of course is my beloved washlet, the second is the ability to do street photography from right out my front door. Living in any big city offers lots of street photography chances, add to it the allure of Japanese culture and an indifference to photographers and Tokyo just might be the best city in the world for street photography, or photography of any kind.
I was on a photo walk on my very last day in country (after six years living there) with three friends walking from Shinjuku to Yoyogi Park. We passed these guys in the middle somewhere. Even though I was shooting something entirely different the moment before (if you can believe it horseback riders jumping gates!), I was able to change gears in time (as any good photographer must be able to) to photograph these guys as they got their bearings.
They were wearing trench coats and carrying weapons and suitcases. I imagined them as some Rip Van Winkle type assassins from the Edo Period or something transported to modern day Tokyo and trying to continue their assassin profession with 500 year old technology. Perhaps I was fortunate they did not spot me photographing them or I may have been added to their hit list.
The weapons they are carrying . . . Japanese traditional archery bows and arrows.
The sixth entry in my ongoing Sunny Florida f/11 project is an HDR image of the harbor in downtown St. Petersburg in front of The Pier. Despite the harbor's small size dolphins and manatees regularly swim in it, and pelicans dive alone the seawall on a regular basis. There is something I really like about this harbor myself that is ineffable. The small cluster of trees on the left horizon is my favorite spot in the entire city which offers great views of Tampa Bay to the east and the downtown St. Petersburg skyline to the west. Then in the gap between there and the park on the other side pass dolphins (photographed here) and manatee in water that can be fairly clear at times. It is a position of power commanding viewership over the whole area.
When photographing a beach wedding in Florida, you really never know what kind of sunset, if any, mother nature will provide you with that particular evening. For Lynn and Stephen's wedding, we were treated to a very rare golden twilight sky. Stephen wearing white along with his bride Lynn helped them not overpower the golden light, but rather blend into it. Given such fantastic light conditions, I made sure to do my part to make the best possible wedding photographs for the newlyweds.
Another rarity this time was being able to see the sun make its way all the way down to the horizon itself, unobstructed by clouds. Once I found the settings that I liked best: f/8 ISO 400 1/80th manual mode I put a mark in the sand and just moved and had either the couple or just the bride stand on that mark for various shots. This allows me to maximize the variety of shots I can take while the sun continues its accelerating trip to the southern hemisphere.
Now I am not one for gimmick photographs like drawing hearts in sand, etc. However, the heart in the above photograph was already there in basically in their path so I asked them if they wanted to include it in the shot. They said yes and we were able to make this shot on the first take. How do you feel about including things like hearts drawn in the sand?
Thanks to mother nature and Stephen and Lynn for making this a unique and colorful wedding photography experience.
I was actually in the middle of photographing a wedding when I first noticed a raised mound of sand to my right with some words spelled out on it. The bride and groom later walked past it allowing me to pause quickly (hence not getting the framing perfect) to make this photograph and finally read what it said:
SAVE OUR GULF
The beaches of west-central Florida remain untainted by the BP oil spill due to I believe the direction of the currents in the Gulf. Yet as I often have contact with beach side businesses like hotels and rental agencies via my beach wedding photography jobs, I have heard that despite our oil-free beaches here, business is down, especially for the hotels. Thus, I can only imagine the hardships businesses that are actually on oil covered beaches must be experiencing right now. A large portion of my photography livelihood is made on Pinellas County's beautiful sandy beaches. If oil ever does make its way on shore here, myself, and all other beach photographers could take a hit. Although I would be more worried about my local bird friends (as I wrote about here) and sea creature friends, as I can just shift my business more inland.
My gut feeling is that BP does not want to permanently cap the well. That it has and is still holding out hope to be able to cap it and still pump all the oil out of it and sell it despite the PR and stock price nightmare of the past 82 days.
Are there any protests to the BP oil spill on your local beaches or in your neighborhoods? If so, please link to them in the comments.
The Martineau Family was visiting Florida from Pennsylvania . . . right in the middle of our stormiest stretch of weather. However, once again I was able to finish the portrait session just before the rain started falling. With three young children our time on Sunset Beach on Treasure Island was very fluid and fast moving. We roved the length of the beach as both my Nikon D300 with Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens and Nikon D80 with Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens dangled around my neck allowing me to photograph those near to me and still capture the action happening a bit further away.
Due to the storm's approach Sunset Beach was fairly empty allowing nice clean backgrounds free of beach combers and looky-loos. The Martineau children had free reign to run the shoreline. I wonder if a lack of front teeth allows one to run faster or does it create wind resistance?
While the children did the running the parents did some of the heavy lifting. I wonder, does a child notice the last time they were picked up by their father before they got too big to be picked up anymore? Does the father think, "that was the last time I ever picked up my child." Looks like there are plenty of years left of lifting though in this case.
No rest for the Martineau family that evening. I encouraged them to be as active as possible (especially with dark clouds on the horizon). I even asked them to run twice as the first time was not fast enough! The faster you run, the more natural it looks.
In the end I was very pleased with the variety of shots I was able to make and the fact we all stayed dry the entire time, not taking into account any perspiration after such and active shoot! Thanks again Martineau family for being so cooperative and not afraid to run!