28 February 2008

More Yakushima

Some more pictures from Yakushima that didn't fit in the earlier set.

23 February 2008


Recently we had a light snowstorm here in Osaka. Frankly speaking, by Canadian standards it was just a "light snowfall" but judging by all the fuss that everybody made of it --and because it almost never snows in Osaka anymore-- it might as well be called a snowstorm.

It was a Saturday morning and I took a peek out the window to find a thin layer of the white stuff blanketing the neighbourhood. I was struck by the oddly nostalgic sight of large, fluffy snowflakes falling down everywhere. When had I last seen that? Years.

It took a while for me to go about my typical Saturday chores, and by the time I decided to head outside with the purpose of getting some pictures of this unsual event for Osaka, the falling snow had turned into falling slush. I took about twenty paces outside when I decided to call it quits. I wasn't going to risk getting myself and the camera wet just for some urban winter shots.

Fortunately, a mate of mine had different ideas, and he agreed to have them posted here.

Pictures by Mike Morrison:

12 February 2008

Yakushima Wonder & Regret

Covered in primeval rainforest, Yakushima is Japan's luscious island. I went there in mid January, the off season, which allowed me to have hiking trails to myself. But I was also blessed by unseasonably nice weather. Of the three days I was there, it only rained on one of them. Fortunately that was on my last day, and I had already taken lots of pictures on the first two days.

I thought I was being prudent by bringing my tripod. I knew that taking pictures under canopy trees would limit light even at midday. I was right, but I wasn't careful enough. While the tripod allowed me to shoot at a slower ISO and thus avoid graininess, I should have also been more careful with the aperture. Most of my pictures have short depths of field. In addition, one of the lenses I was using (35mm) I later found to be slightly off-focus (i.e., in need of repair). As a result, many of the shots are a tad fuzzy. I had thought it was preferable to use the 35mm over the VR 18-200, but this was also a lapse in judgement. When I finally starting using the VR lens towards the end of day two, I realised it was far better, not only because it was in working order, but also because the VR made a real difference when shooting in dim conditions -- a difference I couldn't fully understand until I was comparing images on my computer screen. I wish I had used the VR the whole time.

So my trip to Yakushima was one of wonder and regret. Wonder at the beauty of the island with so much to offer for the outdoor enthusiast, and regret over the disappointing pictures -- I could blame the lens issue but I'll want to do a better job regardless. Both feelings make me want to return as soon as I can.

More Yaksuhima pictures are on my gallery page at an-fi.com.

More Yaksuhima pictures are on my gallery page at an-fi.com.