My Favorite

I went to Eroguranmasse exhibition last summer in Yokohama. My friend was one of the photographers who arranged it, and also featured his own work in the exhibition. The exhibition, as the name suggests, was very cross-artistic and bohemian, with erotic theme.

My music Magical Forest was used as a background music for the exhibition, so I felt some strange , personal feeling. In fact, I was a bit startled.

Generally I liked all of the pictures and artworks, but one piece caught my eye especially. A photo framed in black.

Although the photo portrays a dead woman, and is rather believable, she seems so alive too, I remember thinking. “Intertesting..” I said to myself and went on to see other works, while my very own “Fish Hospital” played from the speakers, the piece music I had performed live in Monzennakacho year before.

After returning to see the photo (twice) I decided to buy it.

It was later revealed to me that the picture was taken by iPhone and that the woman in the photo was the artist herself. I had pleasure to meet her after the exhibition and it was very delightful to see her alive face. She proved to be witty and funny person.

I think it wouldn’t do justice of the photo if I show it here, instead I will show what is written behind the picture (after I bought it). This photo is still hanged in my office and will be unlikely replaced any time soon.

I will ask the Riesan if there is some way to see her work online. Will link.

Personal Matter

You know, long time ago, I used to date a woman who was a photographer. She was from Tokyo.

I think I really learned from her. She was real artist, you know, and her photos were astonishing. For me they were as great as photos shot by Araki or Cartier-Bresson. They were just that unique.

She was a cameraman. A photographer. You know.

Give her cheap give-away Coca Cola camera and she will take totally great photos with it, photos you can hang to a gallery. She always carried her Leica M6 and the camera was like her third eye. Taking pictures was so natural for her.

When she took a photo, she seemed to disappear. People (even my relatives) were relaxed and at ease with her and they didn’t mind her taking a photo. In fact, they didn’t even realize for the most part.

She hated gadgets like my brand new Canon DSLR. For her the convenience of digital age meant nothing. And I begun to understand that. Sometimes she asked me to borrow her my DSLR to get a hint for shutter speed, since the metering in her M6 was shot. But she always figured it out in her mind.

She left a tiny footprint (size of a squirrel’s foot) in my heart, which keeps inspiring me. Her spirit as an artist, photographer really made influence in me.

So I want to say I am very thankful for her. That should be all.

Autumn Lake

This photo was shot with Canon Powershot G9. There’s some noise but it isn’t so bad, considering that it is a compact camera. My G9 suffered crash landing when I was climbing on Takao, so she won’t be with me anymore.

However, this is one of the photos I shot with her in 2008.


This is an old photo of a lily I took back in 2008 and did some Cross Process magic in Aperture 3. This was shot with Eos 350D (EOS Kiss Digital N) and the trusty 50mm 1.8 “plastic fantastic” at F/2.2. That wasn’t a bad camera.

Habu: "夢に向かって" "Towards the Dream"

A friend gave me this photo book by Habu some years ago. I love it. The skies and landscapes are amazing and meditative. My favorite photo is on page 24 in Taddert Morocco, where a bird is captured in godrays..

The photos are like small windows into another world. They are oddly vacant but yet hypnotic.

I am really interested to know more about the photographer. Here is what appears to be Habu’s official homepage.


Photos of landscapes help us to see how beautiful our planet actually is. There are many great landscape photographers here in Japan. And you can’t mention landscape photography in Japan without mentioning Habu..

Photographer is like a painter who seeks to capture the beauty on this planet.

It makes me think of many things.. How to be more aware of my surroundings, and how to look at the scenery in some new way..

Sky is the limit..

Shooting Planes

I have never really done any serious plane spotting. But since I’ve always been interested in aviation, shooting planes fascinates me.

Some years back when I was still living in Finland, I went to the Helsinki Vantaa airport for plane spotting. What an adventure it was!

Since I only had EOS350D and cheap Canon zoom lens I didn’t have any serious gear. But I was surprised that even with such equipment I was able to get some usable shots. The lens was only 200mm but with crop sensor that was reasonable magnification.

I took a path which lead into the forest that surrounds the airport, and walked about an hour crossing small river and a bigger one, and all the time I could watch passenger jets landing, KLM, Finnair, Air France.. The forest was pretty thick and there was barbed wire and all kinds of things.. I decided to take my route so that I would end up somewhere in the end of the runway where the planes fly over.

I finally was able to find the famous plane spotting location Lemminkäisen kallio, on which I climbed. There were couple of people with DSLRs and binoculars, observing the air traffic.

I had enough courage to try my luck and went through the human-sized hole in the surrounding fence to get a better shot of the Finnair passenger jet on final. It didn’t take long until a suspicious looking vehicle started to approach by the runway, so I soon retreated to the allowed location.. But I was able to catch this shot though (which was purchased by Ilmailumuseo, thanks Cartina Finland!)

I would love to do plane spotting here in Japan. Anyone know some good locations?

Peeling the Onion

by Jaakko

A dear friend of mine once said that meeting other people is like peeling our onion, giving away layers of ours. The surrounding people help us to see inside, into the inner chambers of ourselves. We keep on peeling, mirroring ourselves on the others, and every time it hurts.

What if there was nothing inside? Just emptiness. Empty, spherical hollow filled with nothing.

Imagine a man who goes through a great trouble, perhaps the greatest trouble of all, in order to see his inside. He takes the peeling seriously. He suffers unimaginable spiritual and physical pain in order to reach the core. At some point, he finally finishes his task. He is in his core. And what does he find? Empty space.

I and my friend had numerous conversations about this, sometimes the onion becoming a cabbage, but ok, more or less the same thing. We came into the conclusion that it is necessary to hold some cover to be able to live in this world. We can’t go running around naked (not in this society anyway) and it is natural to hide some aspects of your personality. And vice versa: we don’t want to be covered in a thick layer of clammy cabbage.

If we sauté an onion, it becomes transparent. So maybe we could, somehow, gently fry ourselves slightly so that others could see through us. But in order to live happy lives, we must not overdo it.

My conclusion at this point is that perhaps human psyche is the layers of the onion. The whole structure. It’s not what is inside but it’s the various levels and layers. And even if that something inside could be brought to daylight, our perception could not detect it.

Take sorrow, for example. We can’t measure it. Science can only deal with the layers, and that’s what cognitive psychology is all about; our thoughts are the layers. The thoughts that are brought to us by our parents, teachers, friends and great novelists of the world.

After all, the point about peeling the onion is that we can choose which layers to keep and which to discard. Tears might come, but it’s natural.

When to bring DSLR?

There’s no question that the mirror-less cameras are getting better and better. Since these digital cameras of the modern age are much easier to carry around and make such high quality photos, is there still place for DSLRs?

Definably yes. Here are five reasons why I think so:

  1. There is wide variety of lenses available for DSLRs. Although micro-four-thirds cameras are getting more high quality optics nowadays, the selection of lenses is just different range in DSLR cameras.
  2. Micro four thirds cameras simply don’t have as big sensor as DSLRs, and this usually result in lesser low-light performance. (Fujifilm X100 is a different animal in this sense because it has full APS-C size sensor) and..
  3. ..crop factor. Due to smaller sensor, mirror-less cameras have higher crop factor which means less control over depth of field.
  4. Optical viewfinder. Optical viewfinder. Optical viewfinder. Looking at that LCD screen on the back of the mirror-less camera just isn’t the same as peering through high quality optical viewfinder of DSLR and seeing the real optical image in front of you. Some cameras have a small thing you can put on the hot shoe, but then you get the parallax error.
  5. Continuous shooting speed. DSLRs usually have more robust processing system which allows images to be processed and written to memory cards much faster. (Usually. Some mirror less cameras are now shooting faster, however usually not continuously in RAW)

If I’m to shoot fast moving objects or people, or things in distance, I am probably bringing my 5D Mark II or 50D.  Moreover, if I’m shooting some “serious” work in predetermined location or in a low light, I’m likely choosing DSLR because of above reasons. Full frame sensor is essentially same as it once was when shooting 35mm film. Can’t beat that.

However, I have seen people using mirror-less cameras even in studio environment (still life and still models!) and I can’t guess a good reason why it wouldn’t work just as well, especially if you shoot in RAW. Also many of the mirror less cameras have also hot shoe nowadays for flash units so..

Ultimately as Chase Jarvis would say, the best camera is the one you have with you.