Merry Christmas

I just cannot win and today marks the second year in a row that I am living far away from my wife during Christmas! At least this time we will only be apart for a couple of months. Last years 10-month separation was way, way too long! Last December she went out on her own one night into Tokyo with her D40 in hand as well as her trusty little Gorillapod to capture the jaw dropping Christmas lights strung up around the city during this time of the year. Please do not ask me why I did not ever make it out to see these lights the year before, they are quite a display and I still have no clue how I missed out on that opportunity completely. Here are some of my favorite shots she took from that night.. Not too shabby if I must say myself!! I love you wife! Merry Christmas everyone!







Back to Japan

Been very busy with school packing to go back to Japan in about a week, and trying to get my Internet back up and running. Will stay in Japan until May then we sadly have to move back to the States for a little while. Hopefully not too long though! The first place we are heading when we get back…

Waxing Puffy

Jigokudani Yaenkoen to see my buddies of course!

Balanced Munch


Here is another shot from Amber taken at the rice terraces of Ping’an. When her back is turned or she is distracted, I have been secretly putting ISO into her meals that I prepare for her, and this plan is starting to work out better than I had planned. I might cut back on her ISO soon since she has requested I order her a Gorilla Pod for her D40. I actually had to wipe a tear from my eye to hear she would like one, although, I may have talked her into it a bit. Nevertheless, my plan is still working and I couldn’t be happier! Topography

The Legend

What can you say about the Great Wall that has not already been said? I can really only give you some facts about this section and let you know that some things in life are so talked up into this mythical stature that there is just no way they can live up to the hype. The Great Wall, however, this exceeded the hype and was everything and more that I thought it would be. Constructed in 1570, this section of Jinshanling is 10.5 km long and ended at the Simatai section of the wall. As we were passing all 69 towers and 5 passes during the hike, I realized that I could not slow time down enough to make this last long enough to finally come to grips with the magnitude of such an undertaking, during a time when a pulley was about the only invention that could help lighten the load from the tallest order ever undertaken in human history.

I always thought that making the 6,400 km journey to traverse the majority of the wall would be fun, and now I know it would be necessary to truly appreciate everything that it is. Needless to say, I really enjoyed our day at the wall, but it was much, much to short and only left me with one of those feelings in the back of my mind that tells me that 15 days in China is just not going to cut it. Eventually, I will need to find an excuse to get back there.

I have to give my wife Amber some credit here. This was her shot. I processed the RAW file for her, but she was all over this wall with her D40 in tow. Excelllllllent!

The Legend

Fostering Wifey’s Addiction

When I upgraded my camera body I ended up having an extra D40 laying around. I kept trying to get Amber into photography because I figured you could force addictions on people as if this was heroin and you knew that if they had just a slight taste, they would be helplessly overtaken by it. I told her to give the D40 a try during our monkey outing before I sold it.

I set the D40 to shoot jpeg and affixed a lens between her and the monkeys. Well, the snow monkeys proved to be the figurative narcotic I was looking for. She forced me to buy a wide angle lens (against my will) and book a longer trip to Jigokudani Yeankoen for another photo session. She even learned how to use Lightroom! Overall she captured a ton of great shots, especially considering I hogged the telephoto lens most of the time. I promised to share on our next trip…

Here are some of her shots:

Amber's Snow Monkeys

Amber's Snow Monkeys-94

Amber's Snow Monkeys-33


Cameras are not manufactured with a soul. No, they are added with every shutter click throughout its’ journey. Luckily there is a way to capture and transfer that soul into another camera. It happens during a DSLRs most vulnerable moment.. When the sensor is exposed and another camera without a soul takes a picture of it.

Here you can see the perspective of my brand new D80 as it was sneaking the soul out of my trusty D40. It may sound and look very barbaric, but really, the soul will be happier with a D80 in the long run.

Soul Stealing

No one tell the wifey what went down today, for I am hoping she gives the D40 a try and falls in love with photography like I did.


Materialism is supposed to be this evil thing right? Well I guess I have mixed feelings on that because I have so much excitement at the thought of a little piece of material arriving in my mail box, that I have actually lost a little bit of sleep over the past few days. I expected my material to be here by Monday, yet it still eludes me. I feel like my mind is over-cooked with anticipation that mounts with each subsequent day that it does not arrive. Is this rational behavior? My expectant material I eagerly await is after all a D80. Is that not a good exception to the evils of materialism?



I am not really sure what kind of story I can write about with this photo. We were up at Itsukashi a little over a month ago and found this amazing leaf and it was swirling around in the sky in a harmonious dance with the wind. We both watched it until we started to cry because there is just too much beauty in the world; we just had to take a picture of it.. Well that story doesn’t quite work now does it?


My Buddy aka DSLR

Well 2008 is all but over. Looking back, this was the first year I had a DSLR to play with and I was RicRolled on every other Internet page I came across. What a magical year…

As far as my photos go, I think the following one is my favorite from 2008. I have posted it once already on this blog. It was taken with my 50mm f1.8 and it was a spur of the moment shot as I was walking with Amber and some friends down a street in Tachikawa.

Tachikawa Bicycle Park

Since I can’t just do a re-post and call it a day, here is another photo I really like from this year, especially against a black background, unlike this blogs white background; and no, I don’t like it just cause of the boobies.. Again it was taken at the spur of the moment without much forethought. Maybe my subconscious is a better photographer than I am..

Hachioji Train Station

And lastly, if you have seen my little lost Hixiepoo, you need to tell him to start posting pictures.

Happy New Years everyone!


We are scheming to go see the Imperial Palace gardens on the 2nd of January. From what I have heard there are only 2 days a year when the gardens are open to foreigners to explore on their own. What does this picture have to do with the Imperial Palace or gardens? Well I suppose water is useful in gardens, but I kind of like the shot and it is taken across the street from the Imperial Palace. Good enough?

In other news.. I ordered a Nikon D80 which shipped out this Monday stateside time. This wait is going to be worse than Christmas when I was a little kid!

Shell Sculpture

This Guy

I can only speculate why he is so happy… We were in China Town of Yokohama when I took this. I like to think he is happy because he knows that I will be headed to China for a couple of weeks in about 4 months from now. At least that is why I smile a lot!


Deceiving Simplicity

Growing up in Utah I was not exactly exposed to a highway system of massive interchanges and tunnels covering burgeoning metropolises like the complex vascular system of a human body. So I am kind of in awe when driving through some of the interchanges here in Japan. Yet for some reason, this extremely simplistic picture seems to better invoke that awe rather than a picture of the many arteries of road twisting about each other.


Landmark Tower

Since the pictures in my last post were taken from the top of the Landmark Tower– The 69th floor– I figured I would post a picture taken from the base of the tower. The ferocity of the wind and the darkening sky pretty well required me to use my 50mm 1.8 prime lens to be able to stop up enough to increase the shutter speed adequately to eliminate blur. So the shot is a lot tighter than I would have otherwise framed, but it is kind of growing on me.

Landmark Tower

Merry Christmas!

For some reason we have put off buying a fake tree over the couple of years we have been married. Since we move every couple of years I guess we figured we would try and stay as light as possible. I think we will fix this by next Christmas though. It is getting too difficult getting through the holidays without the bokeh opportunity of a tree, ornaments, and Christmas lights.

Landmark Tower

Instead I have to post some Christmas bokeh taken from a display at the top of the Landmark Tower in Yokohama which we visited the other day. It happens to be the tallest building in Japan at 295.8 meters. I need to go back with a tripod to catch some neat HDR images of the Yokohama city scape.