Friday, July 22, 2011

The Morning Glow

There were tons of moments during the climb that I said to myself I can't continue anymore. But somehow, someway, I kept on walking and following the flow of the climbers. I regularly stopped whenever I heard my heart beating too fast and sometimes even closed my eyes if the trail was flat. I was so tired and all I could think of was my bed. Everything changed when I saw the sunrise. 

The Morning Glow

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Kurobe Dam

Spent so much time down at the base that I had a few minutes left for the observatory deck.The tour group was about to move to the next location so had I run about 300 steps up to the deck. Upon reaching the top, I literally had no time to catch my breath so I began shooting my usual series of brackets without using a tripod. After about a minute, some of my friends were already calling us because the tour group is about to proceed to the next location. I'm happy I was able to get this shot in time. Although I feel I could have composed it better

The Kurobe Dam

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blue Mountains Red Sky

Dawn was about to break and we had to decide to continue to climb or stop and setup for the sunrise. We were already at the 9th station and seems like the final station is stone's throw away. However, I was so afraid that we might get caught in the middle and not get a good vantage point. I can't risk it so we decided to stop.

This was actually my first time to shoot at dawn because I never had the strength to wake up so early in the morning.  A sunrise for me seems more peaceful and zen like while a sunset is more fierce and aggressive. Now it makes me wonder which I like more...

Blue Mountains Red Sky

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Climb

Whew! I'm back from a rigorous overnight climb of Mt. Fuji last weekend. My limbs were so sore it took a great effort for me to move this morning. Slowly I'm starting to regain the functions of my limbs so hopefully I can go to work tom :D

I was hoping to do more long exposures during this hike but it was so tiresome to stop and setup a shot like this every time there is an awesome view. Although I did try to shoot whenever we rest, it just came to a point that I couldn't because I was so tired.

The Climb.CR2

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Japanese Alps and Creating Order with Circles

Musings: Creating Order with Circles
I've been using Google+ for a while now and so far I'm enjoying it. I really don't mind if all of my friends wouldn't join this service because I'm more interested in interacting with other fellow photographers who share the same passions as I do. Recently however, as the invitations are now accessible 24/7, I've been having a hard time managing all the Photographer contacts that I follow and those who have added me. So I've been developing system that is still in its evolutionary stage. It is no way final and I'm still thinking of ways to improve it.

So here is the system
0. Setup
I've segregated all the photographers and enthusiasts into 4 circles.

The Best - obviously contains all the best photographers out there like Trey Ratcliff and Thomas Hawk. I don't visit this circle much often because I'm already an avid fan of their blogs and most of the stuff they post here I have already scene from other social media sites.

Awesome - These guys are of great skill, maybe equal, and sometimes even more than the guys and gals at The Best circle. However, these Photographers here are not as famous as the circle above them. This is my main inspirational corner whenever I go online on G+.

Notable - These people are regular Joes of photography. They post nice pictures but not as great as the other two circles above. I put people here if they post regular pictures and have commented or +1'ed any of my photos.

Friendly - These people are not photographers but they are friendly enough to +1 or comment on any of my photos.

1. Post an Image
My system starts whenever I share an image to the public.

2. Circle Active Users
I add all the people who +1'ed or commented on my posts to my Friendly circle. For now, this is my way of tracking active users in Google+.

3. Reciprocate with the Friendly People
I then proceed to my Friendly circle stream and start the reciprocating process. If I find a fellow photographer who just blows my mind away with his photography, I promote him/her to my Awesome circle. If I find someone who is a photographer but I don't find his/her work as compelling as those in the Awesome circle, I just promote them to the Notable circle. The rest, I just comment and +1 if I find their post interesting enough.

4. Engage with the Notables
I check the Notable circle stream and again start commenting and +1'ing images and posts that I like. I sometimes promote people to the Awesome circle if I suddenly find their images are amazing. Conversely, if they post more bitch slapping GIFs than their actual work then I demote them back to the Friendly circle.

5. Find Inspiration from the Awesome
Finally, I visit the Awesome circle where again I comment and +1 on the images and posts I like. I also promote or demote some of the photographers depending on the quality of their posts. This is the stream where I engage the most because the quality of images here are pretty high and remarkable.

I repeat this process whenever I'm online. For now, the task is a little tedious and it needs some refinement so I could reciprocate faster and easier. 

Bonus step:
6. Search for Talent in the Vault
The Vault is the my collection of people I've added from Trey's list and the people who added me. After I finish steps 1-5, and I'm still hooked with G+, I try to search some talent from The Vault and promote them to their appropriate circles. This way, when I go back G+ and start my system again, I could see their stuff and show my appreciation for their work.

So, how do you manage your Photographer contacts in G+?  Do share and we might find a better way to organize!

Photos: The Japanese Alps
Whew! That was a long post. I usually don't write that long. I just hope your eyes made it to this section before it was swept away by boredom.

Kurobe Alpine Route is a good place for landscape photographers. The view of the mountains are breathtaking. I wish I had more time to stay and to keep on shooting but I was in a tour group so my time was limited. The weather was also pretty bad. A minute after taking the shots below the mountains suddenly disappeared behind the thick clouds and would not reappear for quite some time. By the time it clears, the tour group had to move to a different location so I already lucky enough to catch it.

The Japanese Alps

Vanishing Mountains

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Toyama Castle and Google+ Feature Wishlist

Musings: Google+ Feature Wishlist
So Google+ has been making waves in the Internet. With all the awesome features of this new Google project, there are still some features I'd love to see implemented.
  1. Allow passive users in Hangout - I understand that due to bandwidth concerns and the difficulty to converse with an enormous number of people, 10 is a reasonable limit of users that can join and actively participate in a Hangout. However, for those who were slow in clicking the join button (like me), I'd love to be able to passively participate by just listening and or viewing the conversations as they take place. Sort of like an online streaming of the conversation. Of the Hangouts I've been, there were only about 2-4 persons leading the conversations and the others just listening or chatting away in the chat room. If Google+ can't implement a passive viewer/listener system, maybe they could at least allow more people to join the chat room so people could chime in to the conversation.
  2. Allow stream filter for pictures - I think the Photographers circle is one of the largest community in Google+. They post so many pictures and comment on each other's shots that my friends' pictures get buried immediately. I wish they would have the same filter in the stream of the Photo section as well so I could just click and find my friends' pictures.
  3. Add share and +1 buttons in lightbox - Whenever I'm browsing for amazing pictures via the lightbox and don't feel like commenting, I wish there was a little +1 button I could just click to show my appreciation for the beautiful image. And there are times when I am just blown away by a picture that I can't help but share it. Unfortunately, while I'm writing this, there is no share button available in the lightbox.
As we all know, Google+ is still in Beta. I'm sure in time they will roll out more awesome features.

Is there any feature you want Google to implement?

Photos: Toyama Castle Reflections
I've began my obsession with castles and reflections. Toyama city is well known as the base station where people rest before or after enjoying the sights of Shirakawa-go and the Kurobe Alpine Route. It was strange that failed to mention there is a pretty castle in the center of the city. So when I was walking around the area, I was really surprised when I saw this castle with a perfect reflection on its moat.

Toyama Castle

Castle Reflections


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