The ones of people that regularly read this blog likely are aware that I have a film camera to take most photos these days. That isn’t saying a lot really, I don’t actually take that many photos nor is my heart quite in it the same way it was back in university days. That said, I wanted to post a few random photos from the past few years as I just recently FINALLY was able to go through and scan my film photos from our time living in the UK.
The photos from Japan I actually have had on Flickr for about a year now – there was a photo store in the mall in Koryo ( エコール マミ ) called Kitamura and I was able to cheaply get all of my film developed there. When I moved to York, I had a few last rolls of film from Japan to develop and there was York Camera Mart that was great. Unfortunately because of covid, I wasn’t able to developed most of the film I shot in the York so ended up developing the rest of it in San Jose when I moved out to California (where we live now – Oakland!).
Anyway, here are some photos.
JapanThis photo is super high resolution. The full image is something like 150 “megapixels”, and is made of 6 or 7 scans put together. The photos is perhaps not that great, and it’s not some sort of great technical achievement or anything, but it is pretty cool printed out in a very large format. Similar to above, this photo is actually even bigger.. the full image is something like 205 “megapixels” – again, not a particularly great photo, but at that resolution it’s cool to view it on a large format because there is quite a bit of detail. Again this is a very large photo. It’s from Yoshino mountain during one of the top cherry blossom / sakura viewing times. This was pretty close to our house, maybe an hour or so on our motorcycle. Here is a photo of Lindsay and some of the other Nara teachers / friends. This is taken from the same day as the above photo, during a high point in the sakura viewing. This pano is certainly not exciting, but it’s special to use because it’s from the rice field next to where we live. In the summer it’s a lot more beautiful, this is perhaps obviously from the spring when the new crop was planted. I have a bag of rice from our town that we still eat on special occasions 🙂 These photos were taken along the road pictured next to the rice field above. There are a bunch of animals that live in the little river / stream / canal next to the road, carp and turtles mainly (though I have seen a snake and frogs and plenty of bugs). I’m posting these not because they are great photos, but because these carp and turtles, and in particular the turtles, I called my friends while living in Japan. Most days in the early afternoon I would get up from my desk / computer and walk to the Family Mart nearby to buy an iced coffee, an onigiri or two, and sometimes on special occasions “famichiki”, Family Mart’s fried chicken. When I approached the stream, the turtles would always jump into the water for protection, but I’d normally stop and try to watch them / count them / generally enjoy their presence if I could. Many days these would be the only “social” interaction I had (other than Lindsay of course!). I like this photo not because it’s a particular great photo (which it’s not), or even that interesting, but it sort of reminds me of this photo of trees in Oakland that people put out after Xmas. These photos are from a trip we took to Lake Biwa in the spring. We almost didn’t end up going because it was a 3 hour ride on the motorcycle and it was pouring when we were getting ready to leave, and we had all of our camping gear. In the end, we took the train, and it was actually super convenient. I remember being again amazed at how great Japan’s train / rail system is by this experience. It rained most of the time we were here, but we had a really nice time with our friends and it’s a great memory from the trip. Night swimming was magical. We end up sleeping in a tent under the awning you see in the second photo. It could just be my current feelings tinting my memory, but the semi-dreary spring weather and the fact that everybody on the trip was leaving Japan in the following months made the trip feel a bit melancholic, but in the best way. I actually dislike this photo quite a bit, BUT it was an attempted recreation (on a rainy day, with wet money and an ugly plastic cover on the bench) of a similar photo I took in 2014 or 2015 when we were on our last year long backpacking trip. The coin purse is of particular importance, it was one of the first things we bought in 2014 when we got to Japan because of the ¥500 coin (~$5). When we first arrived in Tokyo to actually live in Japan, while Lindsay was in orientation / training one of the first things I did was go to Tokyu Hands and buy myself a new coin purse, which was a symbolic thing for me. I spared no expense, I think I paid almost 30 bucks for it (¥3200 or something). The coin purse is now sitting on shelf waiting for our return to Japan.
(note: a lot of these photos I took with a 30mm Sigma lens that is “cropped” for digital SLRs. I wanted to see what happened when I used this lens on a full frame / film camera, and some of the photos I post below have some SERIOUS “vignetting” (if you can even call it that at this point). If I could do it all again, I likely would have only take a few photos with the lens, but oh well!)We’ll start off York photos with a non-particularly-great-at-all photo of the thing that made us fall in love with the house we rented in York. This view of the garden, which is the first thing you see when you walk into the apartment, was for us pretty magical. The photo really doesn’t do it justice (the white balance doesn’t help), but the lush green garden and the birds and the coal bin in the back, especially on an early morning while drinking coffee, really was special. Edit: apparently I took SEVERAL photos of this exiciting view… there are actually even more… Here is the first example of the “vignetting” I referred to above. This desk is where I spent most of my time, looking out onto the back garden. Watching out for this cat which occasionally would come lay on the roof in front of this window to sun itself. RIGHT before covid really hit in the UK Lindsay and I took a trip to Port Isaac, where a lot of the iconic scenes fro Doc Martin are filmed. We stayed in this very old house from AirBnB that was heated with (primarily) a log burning stove. This was a pretty magical evening, bundled up in the tiny living area with all the old and musty furniture, cold outside but with a warm fire. I felt very lucky and grateful to be there. Unfortunately I have zero photos from the Port Isaac trip that are really worth posting, this one included. But it really was a special little town, when we were there you could feel some of the same feeling you feel while watching the Doc Martin. When we came to York, we made an intentional choice to try to settle into York as a home, as opposed to traveling / leaving York every weekend. We had planned on spending time traveling near the end of our time in York, always with the thought that we might choose to stay longer than a year. Covid of course made it difficult to travel, and so in the end we only had a relatively small number of local trips we could fit in. These photos are from some of that local travel, to Knaresborough, Robin Hood’s Bay, Scarborough, etc. Photos from around York. The last photo of the Minster is pretty sad looking, but I had to include it. It’s a panorama, but just didn’t include enough of the scene I think. The photo of Lindsay drinking the beer is from one of the last weeks in York, sitting along the Ouse. One of the local restaurants opened to serve beer and coffee and it felt magical at this point to be able to sit outside and drink a beer and enjoy the fact that people were around us talking and having a “normal” nice time. Soap photo is strange perhaps, but this Imperial Leather become something of a symbol for me. It was the cheapest soap (or close to) we could buy when we arrived in the UK, and the smell sort of grew on me. Our wonderful neighbors and landlords Hugh and Isobel really made our experience in York. We had quite a few lovely evenings watching British comedy classics, eating social distanced dinners in their garden by the fire, etc, and chatting with Hugh in the mornings when he filled his bird feeders. We got a few trips into Munich, Stockholm, Helsinki, Scotland, and of course London. Unfortunately I apparently took very very few photos.