The Hare in Harajuku

Japanese People

Aren’t Japanese people pretty awesome? I mean, this is sort of a sweeping thing to say, I know… but, really… whenever I talk to people from various countries, most everyone finds the Japanese to be wonderful and quirky. There’s never one single thing that people mention… but there is something about it all that is quite nice.

You probably think I’m crazy now.

Daily Photo – The Hare in Harajuku

Every time I go to Tokyo, I try to spend some time in Harajuku. It’s one of the wildest and most unique places in an already unique city. It’s the sort of place where you take a people-shooting lens because of all the various types of people you see walking through the streets. And even more unique than the people are some of the shots and the decor, as you can see here…

HDR Photo

Snowy the Snow Monkey

Travel Days

Tips for Managing Airports:

1) Bring snacks from home – You can’t ever find just what you want at the airport… and, when pressed, you may end up getting crappy food that makes you feel kind of junky on the plane.

2) Laugh at the TSA – It is indeed “security theater” as you watch them pat down grandmas and children. I’ve seen so many stupid things they do just to give the “impression” of security, that I try not to get mad any more… and I just try to remember that TSA stands for Tub Stacking Authority. And, also, whenever possible, travel outside of US Airports, where they treat you like a human and not a guy in line at Taco Bell. Try the Japanese airports and you will have a happy experience.

3) Watch people’s eyes – I like to analyze people by looking at the way they are taking in the world around them. It’s very interesting… maybe you can see it too… when people just have a look in their eye like they’ve given up on life. You know what I mean… and then you see the eye of some other people and they look amazingly full-of-life and ready to engage in the world.

Daily Photo – Snowy the Snow Monkey

This little guy and I had a little friendship after a few days.

I spent time all over the hills and rivers here outside of Nagano taking photos of these snow monkeys. And you get to know them after a while… there are a few that you see over and over again. I started giving them names… the same way my daughter gives names to everything… and all the names were quite childish… Like I called this guy, “Snowy.” It wasn’t very creative, but he didn’t seem to mind.

He followed me around morning and night. And he posed… oh how he loved to pose. Some other monkeys I got too close too and they gave me the wide-mouth attack move…. but I never got too close to Snowy. I didn’t want to ruin the little grizzly-man thing we had a-goin’ on.

HDR Photo

Japanese Girl with Mask

Chernobyl Story

I spent a day in Chernobyl and wrote a two part story about it. This is from a while ago, but I thought maybe it was timely… The situation in Japan is different of course.

Print for Red Cross Charity

We started the bidding at $49 and it ended up at over $1500! Fantastic! There was a happy anonymous winner somewhere in the Mountain View area. The print is being assembled and crated right now… on the way. It arrives in a huge Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark-crate! Thanks again for participating.

If you still want to be involved, even at a lesser level with one of our other charitable offerings, come join Team Stuck In Customs on Kiva

Daily Photo – Japanese Girl with Mask

The white mask is a popular meme in Japan. It’s pervasive and it affects all ages. I see school children wearing masks, old people in the subway, and everyone in between. I was waiting to see a new trend where the face masks have designs — quirky, cute Japanese designs. If no one has done it, then there’s a great idea for you.

I like them, I suppose. In a way, it makes everyone look a little bit mysterious, and that is sort of interesting.

High Dynamic Range Photo

The Lights of Japan

Japan Charity Week – Last Day

HDR ImageThe bidding ends today. Thank you all for participating; and thanks for being interested even if you did not jump in. If your budget is smaller, you can always donate to the Red Cross directly, or, if generally in the charitable mood, join Team Stuck In Customs on Kiva, where we’ve raised over $10,000.

That’s the print that is on auction there to the right. We only do limited edition prints here, so each one is unique. This particular one is numbered 9 out of a series of 50. It’ll look great in your home or business!

Daily Photo – The Lights of Japan

One evening I was walking around Roppongi, taking in all the sights. There doesn’t seem to be a bad direction to go. Everything was alive and full of life.

Getting into this particular position took a few Cirque de Soliel moves that no one was around to appreciate (or warn me against). There is a pedestrian set of stairs that blindly switchbacks its way up an outside drum-tower of sorts. I had a feeling that on top of this little tower would be a good vantage in this particular direction, which I had not seen, but I had mapped out in my brain. I did one of those moves like children do when they work their way up a doorframe — but I did it in a narrow stairwell. It got me to the top, which was extra-difficult with the tripod! I ended up with a clean view of everything. But then, only then, did I start to wonder how the heck I was going to get back down.

I waited for a nice-looking stair-walker to pass by underneath, and then I handed down my camera before performing an unceremonious jump/fall.

High Dynamic Range Photo

The Moments Between: Seeing the Edge

Best Photos from Japan

When I’m not fighting off mechs in Japanese dating simulations, I’m usually busy taking photos of the environs. If you want to see some of the my best HDR photos in this area, just click the Japan category, and you’l be off and running. You’ll also find photos of Japanese schoolgirls that just might be mechs.

New Video – Seeing the Edge

I put together some of my favorite bits from this technique into this new short video. Enjoy! If you want to see more about this technique, see the “Stuck In Motion” page here on the site.

Young Schoolgirl Returning Home in Tokyo

Trey Ratcliff and the Beyond 6th Crew

Justin Arthur invited me downtown to be on the Beyond 6th podcast

Beyond 6th Podcast

The crew at a local podcast here in Austin called “Beyond 6th” invited me down a few weeks ago to sit in. It was a laid back discussion… cool people — happy to know them! It was strange because they had me read the “intro” — it was unexpected but I did my best! hehe… Click on the link there to have a listen.

Young Schoolgirl Returning Home in Tokyo

One thing I recommend to travelers as they go from point A to point B in an unpredictable manner. Whenever I want to hit an exact location, I tell the taxi to drop me off a few kilometers from the destination. Either that, or I exit the subway early. I then meander my way from street to street and feel my way to the final location. Usually, by taking these unpredictable paths, I end up seeing a lot of things that would have been left unseen.

That is how I found this little schoolgirl in Tokyo. I ended up on a busy street in the late afternoon, just as kids were running back to their homes.

High Dynamic Range Photo

New Video – The Moments Between: Tokyo Dream

Are you missing out on my interesting newsletter?  It’s free and a very pretty thing to do to your inbox!

Also, for you techno-people like me out there, you gotta see the way this new Newsletter Signup widget works.  It’s so cool… I’m not even sure how it works!  But it shows you a custom video with how to confirm the newsletter.  In testing, I notice it shows a different video if you are using gmail or another client!  Amazing.

Besides that little techno-feat, you get all kinds of other goodies in the newsletter:

  • Any upcoming news, events, or plans about Stuck In Customs, so you can be the FIRST to know!
  • A collection of fun links that I find/post on Twitter, neat finds, and other things to inspire you.
  • Advanced secret links to upcoming reviews so you can be the first to see and provide feedback! !! This is a cool one, eh?
  • A review of the latest, most interesting photos.
  • A nice, compact, beautiful email that you can share with your family and friends. These are just the sort of pretty emails that can make you popular in your email circle o’ friends.


New Video – The Moments Between – Tokyo Dream

I really enjoy making these short movies, and here is my latest release. My goal is to release two more movies in the next two months… I hope you enjoy them!

Wondering how they are made? I used a very affordable Casio Camera, and there is a lot more info on the “Stuck In Motion” page. The music bits here are from the great Patrick O’Hearn – go buy his stuff! The track in this video is “Northwest Passage”.

Japanese Surprise and This Week in Travel

This Week in Travel Goodie Guide

Later today, I’m a guest on “This Week in Travel”, a popular podcast that’s all about exactly what you think it’s about. Among other things, they asked me to prepare a few photography-related travel-goodies for the holiday season.

Here is the episode!

I have a more full list on my “Favorite Things” page!

New Video Soon!

I’ve spent this weekend working on a new video to release that is the next chapter in the “Moments Between” video from below.  My current plan is to release it on Friday… so get ready!

Daily Photo – Lines of Tokyo

To go with the video theme of the day, here is a new photo in Tokyo.  This was taken near the Akihabara area, not too far from the subway station.

There is a kind of “sterile” feel to a lot of the modern, well-architected areas of Tokyo.  I don’t mind this non-organic sense sometimes, but it is not always comforting.  All of the lines, shapes, and angles make for some fun photography, though!

High Dynamic Range Photography

Information in Tokyo

HDR From a Single RAW?

Yes! This is one of the most common questions I get. I usually shoot multiple photos (all RAW) at different exposures. However, often times I just use one of the RAWs to do the processing. It’s best in cases with a lot of movement, like today’s shot.

For specifics, it’s on page three of the HDR Tutorial here on the site.

Daily Photo – Information in Tokyo

I was navigating a complex series of catwalks through a beautiful building in downtown Tokyo. I got so busy looking around at all the amazing structures that I almost forgot to look down. Upon doing so, I saw this, or close to this… after a few minutes of walking around, I found a angle that seemed to make special poetic bits of my brain happy.

High Dynamic Range Photo

Man Crossing Street

From the best-selling ebook ever!

Can I share a secret with you?  Our eBooks have made more money than my major-market Peachpit book.  Yes, that’s right!  Even though the real book sold out on Amazon in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, these ebooks have just been amazing.

The best-selling one is “Composing the Photo“, which is one of our 3 ebook offerings.  Today’s photo below is shown towards the beginning of the book.

Thank you all for participating!  I know that many people are on a budget and want to improve their photography.  That’s why we offer a variety of things at many prices…  So I hope for the price of a few cappuccinos that we can make your photography world even more wonderful.  Even if you are just a beginner, there should be many great nuggets in there for you!

Daily Photo – Man Crossing Street

I spent a lot of time in this dynamic area of Tokyo.  It’s sort of the techno-nerd electronic center of the Japanese world.  So I felt right at home there with my fellow nerds.

But this guy certainly stood out.  He was crossing the street and looking extremely Japo-cool.  I pulled up my 50mm and waited for the time to feel right before I snapped the photo.  Afterward, of course, it is kind of fun to look at little bits of the photo and find out, compositionally, why the photo did indeed feel “right” to take at that moment.

HDR Photo

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