God Answers Prayer
For a while I'd been dreaming of getting a cheep second hand medium format camera to use. Especially after I saw an exhibition of Mitsuhiko Imamori's work which was mostly shot using a Pentax 67. Then on pbase I've been equally impressed by the works of Ian Cameron ( http://www.pbase.com/hwatt
) and he mostly uses a Pentax 67 also.
Well actually I wasn't going to just jump in a buy a Pentax 67 first, but it is easy to pick up a reasonable medium format camera here in Japan for around 30,000yen (US $300) second hand. There had been a couple good ones (but 6x6) for sale at the local shopping centre and I had been showing Ritsuko. However, we don't have much disposable income at the moment so Ritsuko wouldn't allow me to buy one. Seeing God has provided so much to us to make this move possible, I wondered would He provide a Medium Format camera? I though this is a bit of selfish wish rather than a need, but I asked Him anyway (but I didn't tell anyone I was praying for a Medium Format Camera)...
Well about a week or so later our friend calls us and says her uncle has just come over to her house and wants give me a camera. Her uncle is a very good photographer and was impressed with some of my photos that she had shown him. So anyway I went over not sure want kind of camera he wanted to give me, but it turns out he had upgraded to a Pentax 67 and wanted to give me his Mamiya 67. So I got a Medium Format Camera and it was better than the ones which I saw in the shop because they were all 6x6 and this is a 6x7.
But wait there's more! I asked my friends uncle what kind of film does he recommend for the camera? He gave me a roll of 120 Fujicolor PRO400, which if you read my previous entry, you'll will know is my favourite film!
Time Out in Kawaramachi
It's been a while since I had at bit of a chance to just go out spend a few hours shooting by myself. Well, finally I got a bit of a chance and the weather was reasonable, so I decided to head for Hankyu Kawaramachi Station (near Gion, the famous Geisha district) and just spent some time shooting. To make it more of a challenge I took only my Nikon F80 (film camera), a 50mm lens and a single roll of Fujicolor PRO400 film (which has now become my favourite film). Eventually I'll get to posting more shots from this outing, one thing I'll say is I got more than 20 keepers out of 37 shoots.
This shot was taken on one of the many alleyways that comes off the main road in Kawaramachi and I think it captures the atmosphere of this part of Kyoto well.
What I like about Fujicolor PRO400 film, is it's small grain, vivid colours, fast speed, high dynamic range and great handling of multiple artificial light sources without giving strange colour casts.
Around the middle of march is graduation time for most educational institutes in Japan. It's quite common to see people dressed in Kimono which is the usual graduation outfit for universities and colleges. It's also a time when our English classes become busy with people coming for trial lessons to see if they want to study with us for the new school year. In Japan there is a lot of formality for graduations even for kindergarten and primary (elementary) school.
At the end of February and begging of March we had what is know as the “mini rainy season”, over a week of rain with each successive day getting a degree or so warmer. This rain brings about the Nanohana (called “Rape” in English). All around Nagaokakyo wherever there is a field or even by the rivers the Nanohana plants start to grow. Actually these plants continue to grow well into April. The local supermarket started putting up fake Nanohana as decorations and selling dishes with Nanohana in them. My favourite is Nanohana tempura.