Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

*The final day’s photo– paying homage to Day 1

Well, it’s good to be back posting on this blog. It’s been 8 months since the last posting, so lots of things in and around the blog needed to be updated.

For those unaware, and there were many of you, on 1 Aug 2009 I started what is called the 365 Project; simply one photo a day of anything for 365 days. The key here is supposed to do this all in 365 straight days; but with life, things do happen and most people skip a day or two, and some cave under the stress and pressure and abandon it partway.

It is seemingly rewarding from a confidence standpoint that I could finish something so long-term. Relying on other peoples’ similar 365 projects do help motivate you to continue; you feed off their support, you do so likewise–the cycle goes on. Now balancing that with full-time work compounds the situation in trying to come up with an idea, shoot, edit and upload. I don’t know how I’d feel if I actually missed one day of this project. What was hard was trying not to repeat themes or even shots (which I may have done a few times); it’s a bit difficult because you do lose track of what you’ve shot. I think the weirdest thing in all of this is that when 31st July hit (day 365), you’re free from that routine and realise you have more time on your hands. August 1st hits and all of a sudden: “Wait, wasn’t there something I needed to do?”. I taken a bit of a photo-vacation these last few weeks since then and I’ve concluded that I think I’m ready for another long-term project. Not another 365 (that’ll wait for a few more years), but something themed; not necessarily counted, but certainly something done on a daily basis.

I’ve drawn inspiration from photographer Aoyama Yuki from Japan who shot abstract portraits of high school students in a seemingly controversial photobook “Schoolgirl Complex”. Since my last project involved staring at the camera most of the time, trying not to look directly at the lens for photos is a different challenge.

I’ll try to keep this updated as humanly possible (as I’ve said numerous times on this blog)



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AF-S VRI Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8G IF-ED

I’ve been slacking off when it comes to updating. When I’ve said time and time again, I’d be updating my blogs on a regular basis; it’s really a tall order. I hope that in buying a $2000 lens is not an excuse for an update.

After acquiring a low-end Nikkor glass in the form of 70-210mm f/4-5.6, I knew I wouldn’t be using this lens for very long. I had got that lens (in exchange for my 28mm prime and 24-50/3.3-4.5 mid-zoom and cash) in early August, days after Nikon had announced the revamped pro 70-200/2.8 VR. It was a stop-gap while I saved up for said new lens.

Thing was, the new glass is going to cost nearing $3000CAD. and from mid-August even up to days before my eventual purchase, I constantly flip-flopped on which 2.8 version to get. Ultimately, I came to a conclusion, in opting for the significantly inexpensive VRI version, any possible funds which would’ve originally gone towards the VRII version, now goes to upgrading to a shiny new FX body sometime in the Q1 of 2010.

A full-time telephoto is still getting used to. For almost the entire year, I’ve been using focal lengths from the 20 to the 85mm range, so framing shots at 100-200mm is still a bit new. The first thing that’s clearly obvious is its size. 8cm longer than the 24-70/2.8 (recessed to 50mm focal length) and 1.25lbs heavier this is a beast! I had to change the way I wear my camera from neck to “messenger-bag style”. and that’s getting used to as well.

I have yet to put it through the ringer, but rest assured it’ll likely outlast me! I hope to check back later on in the coming weeks for a bit more detailed impression.

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Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G
Updating the Photography page was the one last thing to fully get my blog back up to date again. As you can see above is probably my last lens purchase for a while — the Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED. I was in a stalemate a few months ago whether to buy either this or the AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. I would be happy with either, but with careful persuasion by friends and reading reviews, it would not only be more practical to get the 24-70/2.8G, I’d certainly get far more usage from it as well as it covers a decent focal length. My initial impressions on it after using it for almost 2 weeks is that it’s incredibly sharp and just well built. I absolutely love this lens. Weighing a hair less than 2lbs it’s still a great walkaround lens…but considering the body itself and the MB-D10 vertical grip/battery pack attached underneath (bought the same day), it’s now close to 6lb. To combat that, I bought the Lowepro Voyager C neckstrap. It’s far more comfortable than the stock D300-branded neckstrap Nikon provides. Most definitely the next thing on my list is a hotshoe flash — the SB-600 (since the SB-800 is discontinued).

Somewhat related is a minor name change for my flickr page. The URL remains the same, but I’ve changed the screen name — from YGC Photo to Yume Photo. The reason for the change is the usage of the word Yume (夢), meaning “Dream” is used many times for me as a constant phrase (“itsumo yume”-always dream) as well as the sub-phrase for the blog itself. Only fitting that I’d input it somehow for my works on flickr. The YGC Photo watermark, however, will remain on any new photos uploaded to flickr until further notice (which means when I get around to changing it). Archived photos will be left unchanged.

The flagship YGC blog is now fully updated, I need to focus on YGCtunes again. ’till then.

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As I had mentioned, well somewhere here, that the page originally set for both Photography and Anime Figurines has been split in 2. The Figurine Central got some breathing room, getting its own page as my collection slowing continues to grow. The addition of Tsuruya-san was the clincher as it was time to make the move. Not to mention adding more Haruhi-ism with a Nagato Yuki figure (or two) on the way sometime next week. Much like the lens list on the photography side, I hope to compile a wishlist of future figures that I hope to purchase in my remaining weeks in Japan, or order online once I head back to Canada.

The photography side of things is that I’m now hinting at the idea of taking the budget route for now and getting a close-up filter to attach to my 85mm and 50mm lenses (as briefly mentioned in the previous post). This past Wednesday, on a rare day off, had me essentially shooting all day. And while I do wished I had gotten that 50mm that day (acquired it a day after) I made do with the lone 85mm. All updates of that day and later days, which include a small pictoral of the Tsuruya-san figure can be found on my Flickr page (click the Flickr Photos widget to the right).

A small update hopefully sometime next week. Stay classy.

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With just about 10 days to payday, the Nikon 105mm f2.8D Macro lens has been sold. Deeply disappointed as I’ve heard nothing but good things about it; I was really excited I’d be able to pick it up on the 25th, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. With it being a used lens, time will tell when another will spring up. Aquick and somewhat affordable remedy is to attach a close-up lens to my current Nikon 85mm f1.8.

In addition, I tested out fisheye lenses for the first time. It’s a whole new level of weirdness — in a cool way. I’ve tested some shots in-store and I like what I see. It’s not a priority, however, but it’s added to the wishlist. I’ll sort it all out when I get back to Canada. Also, a couple of prime lenses have appeared on the used block, the Nikon 50mm 1.4D and 20mm 2.8D — both of which are on my wishlist. I intend to buy one lens next month, but which one is the question; now I’m in a pickle.

Before any of that happens, I need to survive the next 10 days, 6 of which are work days. Groceries have already been bought for the better part of the week so now I have 2000円 left to last me 2 days of travel; the other 4 I need to figure out somehow. And with a shortened paycheque upcoming, I need to be as frugal as humanly possible — a far contrast to the yammering just above. Completely unrelated, but my official final day at work is May 23rd (Sat.), still undecided on an actual flight date. An update will follow sometime next week. Stay classy.

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Cree's D300
*Photo by owen4green

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been dipping into photography once again, this time I acquired the Nikon D300 with a huge help from my friend and co-worker, Owen. I always wanted a DSLR ever since my first excursion to Japan in 2007, but I figured it was too rich for my blood (yes, even the entry level DSLRs). I knew back then that I wanted a Nikon (over say a Canon), because of it’s ease of use, UI, ergonomics and build quality and oh yeah, it can take damn good photos. The irony of it all is that it is still too expensive for me; you see, my friend paid for the D300 body in full, and so far, I’ve already paid half. Even the lens (18-70mm f3.5-4.5) is on loan from him. I wanted to pursue a greater interest in photography because it really took my mind off the recent girl problems earlier in the trip. As suggested by another co-worker who said that putting your mind towards other things (ie, hobbies, etc.) takes away from anything else troubling. That, and for some unknown reason you’ll find someone when you’re not actually looking for someone. But I digress…

Anyway, I misbudgeted — bad. How bad was it? I didn’t have money for commting for 3 weeks (let alone food; glad I had stocked up prior). First, I seeked help from my employer for a loan which gets taken off the next month’s pay to no avail. Out of options (and no, retuning the camera was out of the question), my supervisor had sent me the tickets for the remaining 3 weeks. Now, this kinda goes back to the last post where I talked about budgeting my pay for the duration of my trip (which has about 3 months remaining if you’re interested). And by the way, do I regret the D300 purchase? No. (although Yes, had I not been able to go to work or worse)

After the D300, I’ve budgeted everything that will be necessary: Commuting to and from work (it’s about 1/4th of my monthly pay), random bills (mobile, internet, gas/water, electric), and loans back home. In addition I’ve factored in food (which is prioritized after those), and then entertainment/leisure randomness. Knowing me, I can break my budget in a heartbeat, but after the mini scare I’ve experienced I’ll think twice before going on impulse 3000円/CD sprees.

Not out to be pimping my flickr page again, but since it’s photography related, might as well, eh? February draws a close which means a busy March: end of the school term, advance notice resignation letter, Visa renewal; just the tip of the iceberg, really. Stay classy.

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I feel a lot more positive about the remaining months left living in Japan as opposed to the first few weeks. There are still lingering thoughts of pessimism, and cynicism but they’ve significantly repressed since then. I’m settling in nicely. Things are looking up. I’ve re-structured my entire budget for the rest of the months (something I desperately needed), so I don’t wildly splurge on stuff (I’ve maintained that list as well in the timeline). I’ve also occupied my time by taking a serious interest in photography. My co-worker, an avid photographer, has really assisted me in this regard. I have much, much to learn. I may take a photography course upon return to Canada. And while I consider this as a hobby right now, I am seriously contemplating that this is something I’d like to do professionally; but again, it’s in the back of my mind. For anyone interested, my flickr page shows what I’ve taken so far. Again, it’s a learning process and I hope to delve into more aspects of photography. A link to my flickr page is to the right; showing my 5 current uploads.

It’s meeting time again in the coming weeks. I feel a bit more optimistic about it.

I’ll try to update this blog a bit for frequent as I’d like it to be (same applies for YGCtunes). I guess I need to find more interesting things to talk about. Stay classy.

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