Thursday, January 29, 2009

R.T.D.P!

One of the memories that stick out for me from college was a poetry teacher who was very blunt . She used to use this acronym whenever we were about to read our poem. You know, because reading a poem that you wrote the night before can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, or just downright awkward! Before we would start to read our poems, us fearful and nevous students would give excuses: "it's just a draft", "it's not that great", "I've written better", etc. The teacher would always interrupt us and say: R.T.D.P. which meant "Read the Damn Poem!" It wasn't meant to be mean or rude, just a blunt way of saying that we all have to do it and we realize we're not perfect, so just show your stuff...

Thus, I present my own photos...which were taken by the talented and super-cool Beth. We did a day of chatting, exchanging tips, talking about lenses and our favorite photo blogs (we had a lot of the same ones on our blog rolls!) and practiced taking photos on each other. I'm hoping to use some of these photos for my new site that I am working on. Beth is more experienced than I am with the camera, and I loved what she did. It's just so funny to see pictures of myself!

*All photos taken by Beth and edited by me*


She was workin on sun flare this day...

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Don't know which one I prefer:


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My new headshot...

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We worked on this idea to give a shout out to Nikon...and Chucks!

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Even though the clarity of this shot isn't the greatest, there is something about it that I like:

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Now that I have "Shown the Damn Pictures" :) it's funny to see myself on my blog. The first time I saw them, I thought "Look how round my face looks!" and "I definitely should have worn more make up!" but it was such a fun experience for Beth and I that I really can't care. This was a warm-up for us both. If you get the chance, you should definitely check out Beth's site. She has some gorgeous photos of different parts of Japan.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My favorite DJ...

...is one of the voices of Utsunomiya (the city I live in)...as in a radio DJ. She is also one of my students, and a darn good one at that! We met about a year ago and our lessons are pretty much just conversations about the differences of Japanese culture and US culture. She also goes to a ton of weddings a year since she also emcees at weddings.

A few days ago, I had the magnificent opportunity to take a few photos for her. She was excited for me to put her post her pictures on my blog (she even baked me some cake...awwww!) and I'm even more excited to present her to y'all...

Meet Eimy:

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I had fun experiementing with different angles...

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...and different editing as well...


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It was really cold and the once-vibrant golden leaves had slowly turned into rusty foliage...

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I really like the colors and softness in this one...

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Hope you had fun Eimy! I'll be listening to you while driving to work this week ;)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Head Shots!

I think if I had the choice of getting in front of the lens, or staying behind it, I'd have to go with the latter choice. I feel much too awkward standing in front of someone else with a big grin on my face or placing my hand on my hip. It just feels funny to me. What I do like is capturing other people smiling, laughing or just hanging out. It feels much more natural and is so much fun.

Enter: Beth. I explained a little bit about her before. She and her husband are living in Tokyo and we were lucky enough to find each other and exchange head shots (I still have to post mine but would rather post pictures of other people first!) Beth was so much fun to photograph and it was so cool to observe each others' mannerisms, photo styles, and just talk about taking pictures.



We started the day driving around the backstreets of a small town where we found overgrown weeds (a photographer's dream I am guessing) and some abandoned barrels:


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Then we went to a shrine that had the most beautiful lighting. Unfortunately it was freezing and we had to cut our shoot a little short. But I love the blurriness in the background of this shot. Soooo pretty:

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Then we stumbled across this huge grassy hill that we couldn't pass up. It was incredibly windy but there was something serene about the spot...we had click away for a little bit longer:


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And I had to take at least one "action shot!" :)

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These are just a few of my favorites. I experimented with lots of different lighting situations and editing with an awesome new program that I'm still getting used to. But I like the results it has given me so far.

Thank you so much for the fun opportunity, Beth. Can't wait shoot again together sometime, when the weather is more permitting. Arigato!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tomodachi!

Tomodachi means "friend" in Japanese. Today I received a letter from two sweet girls (ages 5 and 7) saying they really enjoyed that I talk with them and play games with them at the home basketball games and that they consider me their friend. To be honest, it's one of the things I look forward to about going to the games. I enjoy photography, but I love teaching children. So hanging out with them is always a fun experience, plus they help me with my Japanese.

So I only found it fitting to feature my two new friends in my latest "Fashion Friday". They are all about fashion and love to put together their own outfits...who said kids can't participate? Their mom dresses with some awesome fashion herself, but these two...are awesome. I can't wait to hang out with these fashionistas again!

Here's some of their fashion...

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Another check!

I'm totally stoked about something that has happened recently involving my photography. I recently met up with Beth who is also a photgrapher in the making and we were able to have a little meet and shoot with each other. It was so much fun and she was able to get me some cool headshots (another check on my New Year's list crossed off!). I'll post them sometime next week.

For now, I'm still editing a ton of photos from my little shoot with this fun Minnesota girl, but I wanted to post one for now:

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What a perfect smile, eh?

Woohoo for finding another photographer in training in japan!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The problem with shooting people you know...

...they want to smile and look right into the camera!

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Ya see, ever since I got my new lens, I've been wanting to try it out at a sports event. So I got media access to shoot the Brex during their warm-up before the game (by the way, that means I checked off one of my New Year's goals!). I was hoping for candid shots...you know, players concentrating on their free throws:

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or players getting stretched by the trainer:

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or just the atmosphere in general:

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The thing is, everyone on the team knows me because I travel with Abe and the team. So when they saw me with my camera in the press area, they wanted to smile and pose. Even though I told them not to look at me and keep doing whatever they do. So I got a lot of these kinds of photos:


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This entry was going to be filled with the pictures that I thought came out really cool, but I decided to use the outtakes instead and have them show a more fun side of Japanese bball. I must admit, however, that I am glad that when they see me they don't roll their eyes in annoyance, and thinking more about it actually, smiling for me could be kind of a compliment...as in they want to be a part of my photo portfolio ;)

In any case, it was fun hanging with all of the real photographers getting tips and having them welcome me as one of them, even for just the warm-up portion of the game. I can't wait to take some action shots later!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Can I get a little HELP?

EDIT: THE CONTEST HAS FINISHED, AND UNFORTUNATELY, I DID NOT GET THE MOST VOTES. HOWEVER, THE PHOTOGRAPHER OFFERED ME A DISCOUNT ON HER SERVICES IF I DO DECIDE TO BOOK HER FOR MY WEDDING, SO I'M DOWN WITH THAT! ;) Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me! It was fun getting updates from friends, family, and readers who took the time to vote!



From an email I received today:

"hi julie,

thank you so much for your entry into the smitten love story contest! i wanted to let you know that the judges have made their decisions and your story has been chosen as one of the three finalists!!! congratulations!! everyone was very touched by the words you wrote describing your and abe's great love for each other & the ways you have fought to stay together and make it to this point where you cannot wait to be married!

i wanted to give you time today to let any friends, family, coworkers or anyone else you know that has access to a computer that i will be posting the three chosen stories on my blog for readers to vote a winning couple. the voting will be open for 24 hours and then i will announce who wins free wedding photography!

here is the link to give to anyone you'd like to have vote for you:
http://www.smittenphotographyblog.com/index.cfm?postID=23




If you need more of an explanation...

Yes, I need all the help I can get! Being that this is supposed to be a photography blog, I try to base my entries on, well, photos. But there are times when I love to talk about what's going on in Japan, on Abe's basketball team, or random happenings going on in my life. I try not to make them too personal. However, there is something special that may be happening this summer, if things go as planned. And that involves people, a celebration, and lots of beautiful photos...

Basically, I entered writing competition about how Abe and I met and fell in love and what led us to where we are today...and my "love story" was chosen, along with two other people to be voted on. If I am voted the winner, I will receive a photographer for our wedding FOR FREE. Let me tell you, this photographer is amazing!!! I would love it if anyone reading my blog could help me out. Starting right about...now (10am Eastern Time, THURSDAY...TODAY) you can vote for me.

Thank you SO much!!!


Oh, and because I can't go without posting a picture, here's a little preview of something fun I did today:

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EDIT: THE CONTEST HAS FINISHED, AND UNFORTUNATELY, I DID NOT GET THE MOST VOTES. HOWEVER, THE PHOTOGRAPHER OFFERED ME A DISCOUNT ON HER SERVICES IF I DO DECIDE TO BOOK HER FOR MY WEDDING, SO I'M DOWN WITH THAT! ;) Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me! It was fun getting updates from friends, family, and readers who took the time to vote!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coincidence

In my previous post, I talked about fishies. How much Abe and I love them, and even gave a little shout-out to our baby, Petey, the Piranha. Well, today one of my students presented me with a newspaper article that had been in the local paper, and to my surprise, I saw a picture of Abe in it. And even BETTER...a picture of our piranha...that I took! I remember taking the photo a few months ago and I guess a writer from the paper asked Abe about an item that had a special meaning to him and the author wanted a picture of the it. Abe picked Petey. I didn't realize it was going to be in the paper, but it's a nice surprise! So, albeit not related to people, I'm excited to have a picture in print ;) haha...

(The quality isn't the best as it's been scanned, but you get the idea...)

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Getting a picture of this sucker is not easy! We celebrated his photo being in the paper by feeding him some delicious sashimi. mmmmm.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Mystery Trip

Here are a few shots I took from an impromptu Sunday excursion. Abe told me he was going to take me to a "mystery" trip and all he told me was to bring my camera (duh...like if I would leave it at home anyway!).

We drove down twisty narrow roads, passed through empty rice fields and listened to random music on the iPod, all the while, I had no idea where we were going. The only hint he gave me was that there would probably be lots of kids there.

Even standing in the parking lot of the small town building, I had no idea where we were...

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Then we walked in and I saw this:

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I love aquariums and fish...Most people don't know that I was given a piranha as a present when I taught in Yokota a few years ago. That sparked a whole new appreciation towards marine life causing us to purchase and care for a lot of different fish.


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These are called "Doctor Fish"...they are found around Japan. They actually like people and they eat away at your dead skin (they'll eat at your feet too, if you let them) and act as a kind of exfoliant. It felt a little strange at first....kinda prickly, but it wasn't bad at all. They liked Abe's hand.

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Before we left I dragged Abe into the arts and crafts area...I forced him to make a coaster. It was actually kinda cool because these sweet little old ladies came and taught us how to outline the tissue paper with a paintbrush and rip the pieces off to form shapes, and eventually a coaster.

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Here's my fishy...not bad for not being able to use scissors and having to rip the paper!

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Yay for Mystery Days :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Basketball Baby

Whaaaat?! Two posts in one day? I was only going to post my "Fashion Friday" but how can I not post pictures of a cute baby? I had the camera with me at a game and I couldn't miss an opportunity to take her picture. Here are a couple more of Hannah...I tell you, everytime I pulled out the camera, she did this little cutesy pose. Such a girly girl :)


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Happy Weekend!

Brrrrrr

This is the second posting of the amazing fashion that I have noticed in Tokyo. While I was bundled in a long-sleeved shirt, a sweater a thick winter coat and a scarf and beanie (can you tell I'm from L.A. and can't adjust to any weather less than 70 degrees?!) this fashionista was wearing something quite the opposite and funky at that, and more power to her!


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Monday, January 5, 2009

...and 2009 has begun!

This weekend was very busy as it was filled with some new adventures and some unexpected turns. Abe and I went to Tokyo for a big tournament that we have been looking forward to for quite some time. Unfortunately, he was hit with food poisoning and had to leave the game before it was even finished...ugh. However, we kicked that virus out of his body as quickly as it hit him and 24 hours later, he was sweating out the remnants of it and played in the next game. More power to athletes who can do that...I would have been in bed for days!

I also have to take a moment to give props to the internet...I don't think my Japan experience could be the same without it. Among its countless other benefits, I probably wouldn't have started digging into photography the way I have if I didn't have wireless access at my small apartment. And I couldn't have contacted the new friends I got to meet. Fun! I've already started working on accomplishing my first 3 goals for the year...thank you internet!

I have pictures to blog and randomness to share later, but I couldn't go to sleep without posting a picture of another bundle of cuteness I had the pleasure of sitting next to at a basketball game...her eyes and that smile could melt anyone's heart! :) I'll post more later...

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