Some recent snapshots; tinkered with HDR this time. Don’t ask me to explain HDR ‘cuz I have no idea! I also don’t believe HDR is particularly suited for macro work but it intrigued me. There does appear to be a difference – at least to these old bespectacled eyes.
Macro of a clematis flower right out of the camera (i.e., no editing):
The photo below taken from identical camera position but with “HDR” settings. It was subjected to some post-processing:
Other HDR shots:
The following were shot with normal settings:
If your camera is capable, perhaps you’ll give HDR a shot as well.
With all the researching, translating and documenting I’ve done on our family history during the past several years, I’ve come to the realization I was living in the past. And as time marched by, I wanted more time…but now, that time has gone.
I reflected on the near future; in the past month, things have changed. Things that cannot be undone. And I realized, too, that in addition to passing on what I’ve learned about our family history through these blogs, I need to pass the baton on as well for tomorrow. Small things.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve held a camera in my hand… from the time I was perhaps eight years old. I vividly recall looking down on the ground glass of my dad’s Rolleiflex TLR. And I know it was my grandmother or aunt who sent me a “Fujipet” 120 film camera from Japan as a gift. It had a plastic lens. There were two levers, one on either side of the lens; you pressed one down with your left finger to cock the shutter. Then with your right finger, you pressed the other lever “to take the shot”. I took a bazillion shots during our 1964 road trip to Chicago and burned through a lot of 120 film. I don’t think mom was too happy.
When I was twelve, I spent a summer in Tokyo; I was born there. My Aunt Eiko got me my first “real” camera: a Canon Demi-S. It shot 35mm film but in “half-frame”. In other words, if you had a 36-shot roll of film, you would get 72 shots – plus about four or five more at the end. I loved it. It even had a built in light meter, a soft case and a wrist strap. It went everywhere I went. I even bought yellow and red filters. I used it to take photos of the TV set when Armstrong landed walked on the moon…but none of the images came out because I wanted to use my new fancy-schmancy electric strobe with a DC cord. I got great pictures of our RCA color TV, though. LOTS of great pictures of our TV set. But on one – just one – you can BARELY make out Armstrong as he stepped of the Lunar Module.
While I did take one class in photography, everything else was self-taught through the years. Trial and error. That means lots of moolah down the drain…literally. I had a full darkroom in my parent’s house at one time. I must have developed and processed over a thousand rolls and printed thousands of pictures. While I did win a few contests in sports photography, I never learned the critical things that define a pro…like my bud Alan Miyatake (but I did best him in ONE contest. LOL).
Since becoming a young adult, I’ve always been the “photographer”… taking pictures at events, parties, of this and that… I don’t know if I was any good at it but people always seemed to ask me to take photos. Perhaps because I took them for free. But finally, I took snapshots at my own daughter’s wedding…and not someone else’s daughter for a change.
As I was taking my kids back to their mother’s two weeks ago, my twelve year old son surprised me by asking if he can have a “real” camera. Totally out of the blue but I was happy. He wanted to take pictures like his old man.
So yesterday, we headed towards the nearby beach; he wanted to take pictures of the sunset! I handed him my (getting old) Canon DSLR and monopod and while in the car, I gave him a crash course on shutter speed, f/stops, and ISO.
But he asked, “But don’t you just push the button, Papa?”
So with temps in the high 50’s (cold for us here) and a chilling wind, I gave him some basic instructions and I left him pretty much alone.
He took on his own challenge.
Here are a few of his photos; sure, I edited them a bit but he did darn well for his first time.
Must be in his genes.
As I watched Jack from a distance in that chilling wind, feelings of being alone and lament swirled. Sadness that time has surged by with tomorrows dwindling. It felt as if I was looking at myself… fifty years ago… with that Fujipet camera with a plastic lens dangling from my neck.
I hope he continues. The family needs a photographer.
My Aunt Eiko had these in a brown paper bag of all things.
Hundreds of old Japanese artwork kept by my Great-Grandfather Wakio Shibabayama. Born August 17, 1874 in Kaga City of the Ishikawa Prefecture.
Sumi-e. Watercolors. Sketches. On thinner-than-tissue rice paper. Dog-eared from what appears to be many years of handling by my Great-Grandfather.
My Aunt Eiko’s knowledge of Wakio (her grandfather on her mother’s side) is unfortunately sketchy. No pun intended.
Her knowledge of these paintings is even sketchier unfortunately.
But they survived the war and I don’t know how they did. They are so fragile to say the least.
Surprisingly, some artwork was painted on several sheets of rice paper glued together. I don’t know what kind of glue it was but it sure beats Krazy Glue. And it’s non-toxic to boot. I think.
Aunt Eiko knows Wakio was an accomplished artist and that he taught art in his senior years. In Japan (and unlike here), professors were elite. And quite a few of them were samurai towards the end of the 1800’s. Unbeknownst to many Westerners, the Japanese government began banning the samurai around 1870 to bring civility to society… but by then, the samurai had begun transitioning to a peaceful life philosophy. Many took up art.
And I’m not saying Wakio was samurai… but my mother drummed it into my head that “her” family heritage WAS samurai. lol
Aunt Eiko remembers Wakio passing away when he was about 80. (It does appear that long life is in one’s genes.)
She has little information about this collection. She recalls these sketches and watercolors were done by his students…perhaps as assignments. I can read some of their names.
But my Great-Grandfather’s “hanko 判子”, or seal, is stamped on all of them. In fact, there are several variations of his seal through the years. You can see them on the samples.
Aunt Eiko also remembers that “a couple of his students” became well-known artists but cannot recall their names.
Here are some samples. Currency can be seen for reference; in some photos, you can actually see how thin the rice paper is:
But as mentioned, Wakio was an accomplished artist. Not to say he was famous. Just accomplished. My family has several of his original silk paintings, one of which is shown below.
We don’t exactly know where Wakio sought refuge during World War II but these delicate art pieces from long ago survived. My aunt believes my grandmother inherited these from him upon his death.
And here is the one photo I have of my Great-Grandfather Wakio Shibayama. You can see it on the scroll above.
Too bad Sony hadn’t invented portable digital voice recorders. I would have liked to have heard the story behind these remnants Old Japan.
True stories about World War II – One war. Two Countries. One Family