Ervine, my brother, and I climbed Mt. Fuji towards the end of my study abroad program. Hiking up Mt. Fuji wasn’t that difficult, maybe part of the reason is that we took a lot of break since I wanted to stop every now and then to take pictures. By the time we got here we have already hiked two hours in. I turned around and saw the most beautiful sunset in my life. It’s kind of like watching a sunset when you are in an airplane, except you get to feel every bit of the warmth from the sun and the breeze from high altitude.
Coming here wasn’t easy. My friends and I climbed from the bottom on beat up bicycles. The climbing was an intense workout! I can’t remember how many times we stopped to catch our breath, but the effort was well paid off once we got to the very top. This is the view at the top of the Zamami Island. When I saw this lonely tree, I thought it would add interestingness to this breathtaking scene!
Odaiba has an awesome view of Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo! Travis and I explored Odaiba in a day and eventually ended up here for an amazing night view. We couldn’t help but set up for a shot here! It was a fulfilling experience because I was able to help Travis take a couple long exposure shot with his camera too!
This is a night view of Kyoto at Fushimi Inari Taisha; it is one of my favorite shrines in Japan! At night, the lanterns at the shrine are the only light source to the top of the shrine, so hiking up here was a very surreal experience! On top of that, there was barely any visitor there at night, so the whole experience became very holy and personal.
I am going to Australia for two weeks; I won’t be posting any new HDR’s for a while, only for a little over two weeks though!
My friend, my brother and I stayed at a Ryokan after we hiked Mt. Fuji. It was the best hotel experience ever! This HDR has a funny story behind it. After I took the three exposures with my tripod attached, I left my camera on the side while my friends and I bathe in the Onsen. Then, a random guy came in and saw the camera pointing towards the Onsen. I suppose he felt uncomfortable… so I got up and turn the camera around. After, he kept his distance while bathing in the Onsen with us.
When you are inside the Iwatayama cage, you get to buy either fresh fruit or peanuts to feed the monkeys. I think majority of the visitors choose to feed peanuts because it’s more dry and clean. Since they get fed peanuts a lot, they get especially hyper when you feed them fruit! This one is especially spoiled! He’s eyeing the fruit on my hand while I was trying to feed him peanuts. I didn’t bother to get the peanuts back cause I’m scared he might slap me or something. Afterall, my friend was threatened by the monkeys there because he irritated them by staring into their eyes.
My friends and I visited the Itsukushima shrine on a field trip from school. Before the trip, I was hoping for high tide, it would have been awesome to shoot HDR of Miyajima during sunset. I suppose I got to see the other side of it. Hundreds of people would be digging the seabed for clams during low tide. If you view this large, you can actually see people digging! Just after the visit to Itsukushima shrine, our group hiked up to the top of Mt. Misen with our Sensei, where you get a panoramic view of Miyajima and nearby islands. Anyway, it’s always fun to find interesting perspective on days that come unexpected.
Ervine, Joe, and I stayed in this Ryokan! Pretty isn’t it? Staying at a Ryokan was the best experience in Japan. Just before staying here, we hiked Mt. Fuji overnight to catch the sunrise. Oh man, what an experience! I’m not doing it again! Like the Japanese say, “one who never climbs Mount Fuji is a fool, and one who climbs twice is twice the fool.” It was relieving to soak in a onsen after hiking the tallest mountain in Japan. We had a delicious washoku dinner that night. After, we had the best beer I’ve ever tasted, Fujiyama Biru! Kanpai!
This was my balcony view of Totsuka in Japan. MISH stands for Meiji Gakuin International Student Housing. it’s an apartment complex that all the UC students shared during our study abroad program. My friends from Japan have been visiting, and their coming got me to reminisce all the good times we had there, from the first day we met all the buddies in building 10, to the final farewell beach party, like Ken and Andy once said, “Japan was a dream I don’t want to wake up to”. Just thinking back, like the Hanami party, the Kamakura trip, the Hiroshima field trip, the cherry picking event, the tea party, the Independence day party, the Okinawa trip, the farewell party at Yokohama, and the final farewell party at the beach, I will never forget my time in Japan! Thanks everyone! みんな、どうもありがとうございました!
The Yebisu Garden Place HDR! When Travis and I went to the Yebisu Beer Museum for beer sampling, the experience is amazing. The museum has a lounge next to the bar where you can enjoy the tasting experience. The lounge is really roomy and cozy. If you like beer, I am sure you will enjoy coming here as a getaway from the city life! Be sure to try their Creamy Top Stout, my favorite out of the collection!
This is a single RAW HDR. I had to crank up the ISO to 800 because the room was really dimmed! Since I had to take out much noise in this HDR, I had to sacrifice quite a bit of details to the photo. It’s embarassing! I hope to get a Canon 5D Mark II later this year, one that has a much better noise control than my Canon T1i.
This Mori Spider is at Roppongi Hills. Roppongi Hills is an area with upscale shops and restaurants. As for the Mori Tower (the building in this picture), it is mostly used for office space. You can get a pretty view of Tokyo if you go up to the 52nd and 54th floor, where it is used as an observation deck! I did my homework before visiting Roppongi, mainly on certain angles that I think would come out pretty awesome. But while I was there, there was a dinosaur event going on, so that totally changed my plan. I was sort of bitter, but its okay! I like spiders better anyway!
This is a lookout booth from Zamami-jima, Okinawa! Zamami jima (Zamami Island) is beautiful! I can’t wait to go back there. You see, this rural village’s economy depend almost entirely on tourism. My friends and I rented bicycles to get around the island. The whole riding experience was very enjoyable, except for the climb (which is what we needed to do in order to get to this vantage point). At one point during the climb, I kept blaming myself for not getting an international license before coming to Japan. It would have been a lot easier with a motorcycle! But it’s okay I guess, how would I have known I would be in Zamami-jima before my trip right? Plus, at the end of the day, this picture is worth the climb!
This is a Shibuya view of Tokyo at night! Isn’t it cool that they have a full size soccer field at the top of the building? I’d love to play soccer there, even though I am not good at it. Actually, it would be trouble for me to play on the field, who knows if I would accidentally kick the ball out of the fence and hit someone crossing the street? Okay, bad idea! Anyway, you can see a better quality of the HDR by clicking it, it will direct you to my Flickr page. There are a lot of other goodies there too! Back to the shot, I am not too sure whether I could have taken this shot without my friend, Travis. Here’s the story, when Travis and I got to this vantage point, it had massive reflections on my lens! We literally took out everything we had (jackets, towels, backpacks) to cover up the reflection. What made it worst is that we had to hold our position for close to 30 seconds since I had to keep my ISO at 100, to minimize any potential noise to the image.
This has got to be one of the most unusual temple in Japan! This is Fushimi Inari Tai-sha. It is one of many temple that house thousands of Tori Gates, each of which are donated by a Japanese business. The Kanji characters on the right tells you when they are built, and the Kanji on the left tells you whom they are from. Walking through this temple at night is scary yet exciting! Luckily, I came here with my friend. At one point, I thought I’d lost him so I turned around to make sure he is still there; that’s when I set up and took this shot!
Ahh.. The ever-changing sky in Venus Fort! Venus Fort has a sunset every half an hour. It’s pretty cool to see the sun setting process because it’s so real! Anyway, this was shot just before the “sunset”, which I am glad cause the “night sky” gave it a less contrast feel. I had a friend with me at that time, I wouldn’t know what he would do to me if I asked to stay another 10-20 minutes waiting for the next “sunrise”.
The gates to the Iwatayama Monkey Park! You know, to visit the Monkey park, you’d have to be very careful! The monkeys there are so aggressive that, if you look them into the eyes, they will feel threatened and they will attack you! My friend can attest to that (it’s kind of funny actually). As you ascend up the mountain, you will start to see more and more monkeys, that’s when you know you are almost at the top. The panoramic view of Kyoto at the top of the mountain is gorgeous, not to mention you can also buy fruits and peanuts to feed the monkeys in a fenced house (more on that story when I post a picture of the monkey).
The Ricoh headquarter in Ginza! I think this is the only quality HDR that I processed during my study abroad experience in Japan. I don’t remember how I found the time to process this, but it might have been one of those casual nights where you just feel like staying in, drinking a couple of beer, and enjoying personal time in your room. Now that I think about it, I should have gone out to Tokyo to take night pictures every night. But then again, I would have probably missed the last train home, and had to stay at a capsule hotel or a manga cafe!