Japan: A Preview

  • Posted on: August 1, 2013
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Some friends (and my family) have already asked me for photographs from my recent trip to Japan, so here is a preview!

The rest will be my musings about photography while traveling:

There are a number of reasons why we take photographs when we go to different places. But what stands out for me are these: to remember yourself being in that foreign location and to show-off to people that you have been somewhere. It is like a trophy–and with the advent of social media, it’s just easier to brag it to people you know in real time.

The thing with travel photography though is that the places you go to are pretty much immobile (we’re taking about landmarks and such), so for me, this is a challenge. How can I make my photos stand apart from what the millions of other travelers have already taken? Of course, other than physically placing myself within the frame (which, for the most part, didn’t happen as much because I went to Japan alone).

But then we have to realize whether we use the “traveler’s eye” to see these places, or to take photos based on our perception. For me, I ended up doing both, and I didn’t see anything wrong with that; in fact I may have ended up creating a unique experience for myself.

I have also noticed that I have paid more attention to the weight of my gear. I ended up carrying three cameras — all compact (one digital and two film bodies) so that I can still walk around without carrying a lot with me. I thought dSLRs, while may provide better quality photos (technical wise), are heavy!

Some of my film advocate friends (the hardcore ones) might be disappointed upon learning that I only shot four rolls of film in Japan (after bringing two cameras I ended up using one). Yes, being in a land where a lot of photographers still shoot film (solely, or in conjunction with digital), it is to be expected that I shot a lot of film, but I didn’t!

I may have missed an opportunity there, but I am more than happy with the photos and the convenience that my Fuji X10 has provided to me. I looked around and saw fellow tourists and majority have brought dSLRs with them. I wonder how much pain it caused to their back and neck, especially there’s a lot of walking around Tokyo and Kyoto (if you’re going to the tourists and cultural heritage locations).

I am slowly in the process of going over my photographs by date and hopefully be able to start sharing more. Although I will limit my posts as I plan to create a travel essay book instead of making an album for sharing with friends and family.