11 Mar 2017

Photoproject: 100 visits to Seri Huamark Market (days 71-80)

After 20 days shooting with the tiny PanaLeica 15mm I was ready for a change, so I resorted back to my workaround zoom lens, the compact and versatile Lumix 12-35, not only the lens that I have had the longest time (I bought it along my first micro 4/3 camera, close to 4 years ago) but also the one with which I have taken the highest number of pictures so far, which clearly speaks of my bond with this lens and how comfortable I feel shooting with it.

Day 71, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 71b, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 71c, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 71d, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 71e, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 71f, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 71g, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 71h, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 71i, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Another first-time happened, and I'm still unsure to this day about the meaning of it: someone took pictures of me with their phone while I was shooting them. There was no chance of conversation and the expression was quite indecipherable, it could as well have been curiosity as anger or threat. I just discreetly stopped taking pictures at that place and moved ahead to another spot, and that was the end of it.

Day 72, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 72b, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 72bc GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 72d, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 72e, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
One trend has been slowly developing in the last weeks and has become very apparent to me lately: I don't enjoy visiting the market when the light is not good anymore, overcast days keep me off the project and therefore I have ended up skipping more and more days as weeks passed when the light is not good as I see the end of the road approaching for the first time and I wanna make the best of every visit.

Day 73, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 73b, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 73c, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 73d, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 73e, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 73f, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Another first happened during these last 10 days, and one I would have liked not to suffer, but that I guess is kind of inevitable from time to time: I filled the SD card of my camera while shooting and thus I missed some shots while changing cards. Even after so many days, I realized how important it is to check everything daily and keep the routines to avoid missteps, as small as they might be.

Day 74, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 74b, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 74c, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 74d, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 74e, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 74f, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Some days I definitely felt less motivated and bored while walking around the market, with a feeling that I had seen it all already, and I'm afraid that shows in the images that I captured during those visits, a bit uninspired or repetitive, so I gladly welcomed the mid-term holidays, which meant I was going to travel abroad and be absent for 2 weeks, so I hoped this break would bring back the joy upon my return!

Day 75, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 75b, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 75c, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 75d, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
After the 2 weeks break I was definitely refreshed, but at the same time it took me a while to get back in track, and as I started seeing the end of the project ahead I became much more selective with the captures I took in every visit.

Day 76, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 76b, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
There is something I have been consciously training more and more, and that has been a slow approach to each scene, in hope of improving pre-visualization; I walked more slowly, I saw with my eyes without raising the camera, I imagined what I would like to get, and then I worked for it. This implied waiting and being patient, and it didn't always paid off, but it was a good training nonetheless (my longest wait was 30 minutes at a spot to create what I had in mind and in the end I only got 50% there).

Day 77, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 77b, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 77c, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 77d, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 77e, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 77f, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 77g, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
As my motivation started to dwindle and I felt a bit bored, excuses started to appear every now and then to avoid going, something that had not happened before, so I needed to force myself to go more than before and I needed more discipline and will power than ever to keep going.

Day 78, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 78b, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Probably as a consequence of the previous point, I left the market feeling dissatisfied for the first time, as if I hadn't found anything valuable or interesting, which made me realize that I need to find the way to bring back the motivation and the sense of surprise and discovery again somehow, for there are still twenty more days ahead and I really want to try my best in each and everyone of them until the end.

Day 79, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 79b, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 79c, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 79d, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day 79e, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The total  amount of images I took in these last 10 days was 994 (46-137), a new record, passing barely the previous 10 days and just a hair short of 1000 images. Not counting the holidays, I skipped a total of 9 days, also the biggest number since the beginning of the project, so this raises some questions to myself as to how I will keep the motivation for the upcoming 20 days. Time will tell, but I'm very comitted to finish the project and, no matter what, I will find the way to do just that!

Day80, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Day80b, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm

26 Feb 2017

Autumn in Japan II: people

Japan has fascinating landscapes and a wide variety of colors and scenery, and every time I visit the country I leave it in awe and inspired by the countless scenes and views that I have como to see, to experience, to walk and admire. Yet, for all the majesty and beauty of Japanese lands and forests, rivers and mountains, there is always something that grabs me even more strongly and that, invariably, makes up the majority of my best memories from the country: its people.

Karuizawa, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Nikko, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Kanmangafuchi Abyss, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Selfie, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Japanese are diligent and proudly so, hard-working, systematic and with a sense of pride and respect for what they are doing, and that is laudable; there is a bond between them and their jobs that probably we, Westerners, cannot really grasp, but there is always time for a break, a recess and days were work steps back and leisure time takes center stage. Whichever day they are in, they always seem to make the most out of each situation, however short that might be.

The gardeners, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Taxi stand, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Bush man, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
On one leg, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Japanese people love to enjoy nature (a "tamed" nature, we could call it, for it has been domesticated and arranged by generations to the point of being almost entirely controlled) and it is very easy to spot them walking in parks and nature trails, alone or in groups, admiring the smallest details (a ray of light through the canopy, a small flower) while strolling healthily.

Stroll under grey sky, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Stroll in the park I, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Stroll in the park II, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Approaching Japanese people is very different from South East Asian people, where I live, though; in a country so overpopulated, it's very important to respect each other's space and never cross the line that separates one from another, and that's why my people photography in Japan, as a foreigner, tends to be from a distance, discrete, almost invisible, and getting closer to them is something I have rarely done (unless approached directly by them, in a few, special circumstances, or when capturing animals).

The lady in pink, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Comfy bed, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Another way to be stealthy and unobtrusive while doing street photography is shooting through fences, gates, doors or windows; this technique implies a lot of patience to get the people in the zone you want them to be within your frame, and many times the wait is in vain, for no interesting arrangement comes to happen; but there are some lucky occasions when all necessary ingredients appear at the same time, and that is when you click the shutter with a sense of satisfaction and time well spent.

Through the gate I, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Through the gate II, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Through the gate III, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Looking out, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
One things that I really like from Japanese culture is how, despite the technological and social advances undergone lately, they still nurture and value their centenary traditions, and many customs and traditions seem completely unaltered since probably decades (if not centuries) ago. This coexistence of old and new, of tradition and modernity, is something that many other countries have failed to do in their race to modernization, and it's something I highly admire and respect.

Drying I, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Drying II, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Pipe and caps, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Family is the strongest bond between humans, and it always warms my heart when I see families, or couples sharing their time and doing activities together; after all, sharing is probably the strongest way to show appreciation, care, and affection.

Picnic time, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Over there, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The path ahead, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
It took my eight years to visit Japan since first I started dreaming about it, and now I have been there already for the second time one year later. If this is any indication of a new routine in my life, something like a yearly trip to the land of the rising sun at different times of the year and visiting different regions of the country, I'm all for it! Summer it was last time, autumn this one, so maybe next time I have the change to go there will be under the cherry blossoms or amidst the cold of winter. For now, however, let's conclude this post with a few monochrome brushstrokes. See you soon again, Japan!

The slope, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Misty picture, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The ticket, please, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Pupils, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm