Although the leaves are not necessarily as dramatic this year as usual due to the strange weather, there were still some nice fall scenes at Shinjuku Gyoen this year.
The weather was nice, so Yoko and I headed out to Mount Takao (near Tokyo). Although it was not quite the right time to see the hillsides covered in trees in fall foliage, it was still a nice hike.
Yoko had a day off so we decided to enjoy the end of the summer weather and wander in Asakusa. It was a nice day to just walk around.
This year, for the first time, I went to Hokkaido when it was not the dead of winter. Here are a few photos from the trip.
I have always liked the little details in the subway stations here in Tokyo. As a little challenge I took a few photos in the underground last weekend while wandering around Oedo Toshimaen Station. I tried to shoot into the mirrored panel on the platform in such a way that it would look like I was being shot by someone else through a pane of glass. What do you think?
It is that time of year again, Hanami! But actually, I have not been feeling like being around large crowds of people so I have refrained from most Hanami related activities. Just so those reading my blog will not be too sad I have posted a few photos I took while I was out and about.
Unfortunately, if you want fresh fish in Tokyo the most famous way to get it is a trip to the Tsukiji Fish Market before the sun rises. At least it does not smell too strong in the winter!
Knowing how threatened tuna likely are as a species it was very saddening to see so many featured and sold so prominently.
Today the weather was nice and it was a quiet weekday morning so I decided to go out and shoot some autumn photos at Shinjuku Gyoen. It was really nice and relaxing with so few people there. In the past it has always been a challenge shooting on the weekends as there are usually more shooters that trees in the park. If you have some time, please take a look at some of the photos I took.
Last night I decided to shoot a bit in the heavy rain, both to test out my Canon 5D Mark II in adverse conditions and to have an excuse to splash around in some puddles. I really enjoyed shooting in the crazy rain and having a camera that could handle the beating. The camera had no problem with the amount of rain, which, as you can see from the photos, would be enough to kill many a camera. I would not recommend shooting in the heavy rain without a pro lens or too often but I am very happy with the results.
After the shoot I brought my camera in, gave it a good towelling off and left it to dry overnight. It doesn’t seem to have any problems, and there was no water anywhere that I had worried it would get in. I carefully checked the lens mount, CF card slot and battery compartment but not even a hint of moisture. I can’t wait for the next big weather event!
As I have never had my camera cleaned for one reason or another, I decided that it was time to just go ahead and get it done. I went to the Canon Service Center in Shinjuku as I already knew where it was and I had heard good things about the service. The staff were very friendly and some spoke English as well as Japanese (as I speak Japanese fairly well this was not a big feature for me but it could be very useful to those who don’t speak Japanese). When I asked the staff about cleaning, they informed me that it was ¥1050 to have the low pass filter on the CMOS cleaned. That sounded pretty reasonable to me so I pushed my luck and asked them to take a look ate the mirror box, focus screen and focus overlay. They happily said they would do their best and noted it on the service request form. Barring any unforeseen difficulties, they informed me that it would take about an hour to get it cleaned. I wandered off to check out Shinjuku for an hour while my camera got the spa treatment.
As I had no phone call informing me of issues that needed more time, I headed back to the service center to get my camera on the hour. They informed me that the sensory cleaning went well, and that they had done some other cleaning for me as well. I looked through the viewfinder into the ceiling lights and white ceiling and wow! Not only had they cleaned my low pass filter, they had completely cleaned the viewfinder, focus screen and done a really good job on the focus overlay. In addition to that they had cleaned both the display and the settings screen on the exterior. I could not detect more than two tiny dust specs anywhere in the viewfinder compared to the large amount of visible dust that has been there for over 2 years, and even the two remaining dust specs are not in the focus area. I happily paid the fee and walked away with a camera that feels new. Clean at last!
Now the obvious question here is: Why did I wait for 2.5 years to clean my camera when it was around $10, made it like-new, and only took an hour? The truth is I have not really been in Japan much in the last two years, nor did I live in a large enough city in Canada to have an official Canon Service Center handy. If you are going to visit Japan, even as a tourist, and you do have a spare camera/body, I would really recommend getting your camera cleaned while you visit. It is well worth the hour.
The Canon Service Centers in Japan are listed here, albeit it only in Japanese. If you can’t read Japanese, please feel free to ask me to check for a centre near you in the comments.