Sunday, March 30, 2008

300,000 years old

The island that this heron (called a blue heron in Japanese, but looks like a grey heron) is said to be about 300,000 years old. Formed of lava, it is often underwater. According to an old guy I spoke to, it is believed to "have been the basis of the Tamagawa."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Daiya River at sunset

Saturday, 22 March. Nikko, Japan.

I could spend hours here near sunset. This one was not spectacular, but it was enjoyable, nonetheless.

Friday, March 21, 2008

D300 problems

As noted below, I had one instance of the D300 temporarily refusing to autofocus. At the time I was using the Tamron 200-500mm. I have not had a recurrence of the problem as of yet. SInce that time, I have taken well over 120 photos.

I did clean the areas contacts on all lenses as well as the camera. We shall see...

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Spring is near

And the plumage on egrets is nearing its most attractive for mating season. This one is hunting fish on the Tamagawa in Tokyo. They especially like to kick around the rocks in order to stir up something to eat.

This is directly from jpeg and is much grainier than it would have been from NEF. Tokina 200-500mm Nikon D300.

Monday, March 10, 2008

D300 problems start to appear?

Sunday evening after an afternoon of waterfowl photography on the Tama River. As you may notice in the upper photo, the birds were leaving at this time and so was I.

Unfortunately, I experienced an auto-focus failure with the D300. It stopped focusing with my Tamron 200-500mm while I was taking photos of an egret. First I noticed that the AE/L button suddenly started focusing my camera when I pushed it to lock exposure. I had turned off the auto-focus lock feature for this button in the menu. (It is possible that I accidentally hit the AF lock button)

Then the lens would try to focus---I could hear the motor---but nothing happened. I put in a fresh battery. Nothing. I removed and reattached the lens. Nothing. I put a Nikkor 18-70mm on and after failing for a few minutes it began to focus again. I tried with my Tokina 12-24 and it worked. I put the Tamron back on and it was working again.

There have been occasional reports on the internet of this problem. It doesn't seem to be widespread but it exists. I am hoping mine was just a one time fluke, but since I have been having a few other problems with it too, I wonder.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Early Saturday Morning

Kosagi in Japanese, Saturday morning on the Tamagawa bordering Tokyo. I see plenty of Little Egrets, Cormorants, Herons, and assorted ducks there, but I would like to see a wider variety of waterfowl---and wildlife---without traveling 5 hours to do so.

It is very tough to get close enough to any of these birds fo a decent photograph because I have to stalk close and set up and get photos before some noisy person or people and their dogs come by and scare everything away.

I especially enjoy it when some person sees me taking photos and throws a ball or something between my camera and the birds for his/her dogs to fetch. Afterward, the dog comes out of the river and shakes all over me. It has happened several times. Someday I may get an apology, but I won't hold my breathe. Nor will I hold my tongue much more.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Michael Reichmann in Tokyo

On February 27, Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape gave a seminar in Tokyo. This kind of thing is a rare opportunity in Japan---one can go to photography classes or seminars in Japanese which, unless you are a native speaker or very, very fluent, tends to be tough to follow for long periods of time---so I was very glad to attend even though it was in the middle of a workday.

At then end of the seminar, he asked the Japanese audience a question: "What's wrong with Japanese photography? " He went on to explain that he never saw or heard much about it. (The seminar was being translated into Japanese.) As one could expect, there was no reply.

I have wondered about that myself. Of course people see photographs by Japanese photographers all the time and most likely don't notice it, but it seems that there are few well-known Japanese photographers outside of Japan. I couldn't guess why this is, except that they don't get a lot of exposure outside the country because publishers and others don't really try to promote them overseas. There is also the idea that Japan is exotic and photographs should reflect that mythical exoticness. (The idea that Japan is just another country and is not all neon and weirdness disappoints many.)

I also notice that there are NOT many Japanese nature/wildlife photographers who do most of their photography in Japan as opposed to in Africa, Alaska, or other areas outside of Japan. There are fewer who publish those types of photos of Japan for some reason.