The 2K Experiment

The 2K Experiment

I saw this cartoon last night and then was having an related conversation with a photographer and I was reminded of the dry spells that all photographers go through from time to time.

What the Duck #95

We need to see the world around us and find and create images.   When I first started in photography my idea was to go and create amazing images. I would often find myself over thinking about what and where to shoot.    I did this so much that I didn’t spend nearly as much time as I wanted actually shooting.  Photography was suppose to be my hobby and a release from daily work and life but turned out to be rather stressful for me as I just simply didn’t have the time it required.  It became another thing in my life that I didn’t have time for.

It would think of single shot opportunities like driving out to Mt Fuji or up north to shoot the snow monkeys (both of which I haven’t found time to do).   Think about it for a minute, a shot like that would be an experience and something I want to add to my portfolio one day but I, like many of you, I do not have a half or full day available to go and take a shot like this very often.  Balancing work, family and life just doesn’t allow it.

It was frustrating for me to go out with other photographers and come back with one or two shots and they just seem to keep seeing shots I never saw were there.   What were they seeing that I wasn’t?  Why wasn’t I see these things?  As photographers we learn to see the world differently than others.     You need to train your eyes and mind to look for photographs.  One of the biggest compliments to me is when I can get email from someone who says I photographed in their neighborhood, in areas they walk by each day and see things they have never seen.

As photographers we can all get into try spells from time to time.  This was never more apparent to me then when I started blogging daily.   Somedays I was paralyzed at the thought of needing to come up with something to photograph.   I would be staring at my coffee trying to justify to myself that this could count for today’s posting if I shot it well.  It was a surprisingly frustrating experience.  What I know now that I didn’t then is I really didn’t know how to ‘see’ as a photographer sees.   I would like to say that I can be just about anywhere and find interesting things to photograph.  Often it will require adjusting technique or style but this is where making sure you are a well rounded photographer comes in.

Many photographers have their own way to deal with these dry spells and mine was/is was I call ‘The 2K Experiment’.  The 2K Experiment is very simple.   I have committed to posting up photography daily so I need content daily.  When I don’t have the time to go on a half day trip to Mt. Fuji, which will be most days, I will go and explore what my neighborhood has to offer me.   No excuses about no having time.  Get out and explore the world around me within 2 kilometers.  Why 2 kilometers? Well it seems pretty close to home and who doesn’t have time for a 10 or 15 minute walk?   It’s good for your body and in this case for your photography.  I think life would be pretty sad if you couldn’t squeeze in a quick walk before dinner, after dinner, after everyone has gone to bed, or first thing in the morning.

It sounds simple but honestly I have spent far too little time exploring my own neighborhood.  Through this journey I have learn so much about my neighborhood(s) and found things I have never seen before.    It has helped me to develop the ‘vision’ I needed.  It has helped me grow dramatically as a photographer.  After some time I expended this to my daily commute, lunch time around my office and my hotel when traveling on business.  No excuses about being on a business trip so no time for photography.    Grab the camera and head in a direction for 10 or 15 minutes snapping your way out and back.  I am usually surprised with what I find.

People always ask me how I have the time to post daily.   I am always thinking how do you not have the time.   This has been a great tool to help me avoid the excuses that many of us use and help me to break dry spells when they arise.

Found so far:

Rainy Shibuya

Rainy Hachiko, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Staying Local

Lego Star Wars

Anti Nuclear Protest in Shibuya

Anti Nuclear protest in Tokyo, Japan on May 7, 2011..   5月7日2011年に渋谷で原発反対デモ。

Shinjuku:  Wide Angle

Saturday in Tokyo

Cherry Blossoms in the morning


Cherry Blossoms on Meguro River

Around Suntec City

35mm Thursday


35mm Tuesday 

Wide Angle Sunday

Tonight’s ‘Super Moon’ over Tokyo


Wednesday in Tokyo 

Tokyo begins to return to normal

The hunt for bread


Sunday Shopping



Audi S4

The M9 and I get acquainted

Around Nakameguro

Meguro Police Station: surrounded

Nakameguro Police Station Surrounded

Nakameguro and Yutenji

Nakameguro Crime Scene

A little bit of macro

Macro Flower

Meguro Ginza Kan-non

Inari Jinja

Meguro River

Meguro River


I have found this ‘get out and shoot’ approach to have really help develop me as a photographer.   To get better you simply need to practice.   Daily shooting has taught me so much as I described in 10 things I learnt from daily shooting but The 2K Experiment has helped me get my vision to shoot.

If you like what you saw today, please share it by clicking one of the links below.   Thanks and see you tomorrow!


  • Marke

    Awesome post. You’re absolutely right. Who doesn’t have time to take a 10-15 minute walk? Better spent outdoors shooting than in front of the tube watching reality TV. ;-P Keep up the good shooting Dave.

  • marco barsotti

    I’ve re-read your “10 things” and I think the single most important advice is: bring your camera with you.

    And that – I fear – means “own a high quality compact camera”. There is no way of bringing a Reflex with us every day.
    I think I made a mistake in buying a SD14 (I wanted a Sigma Reflex, after the great pictures taken with the small SD1 for our trip to greece). NOW, after vacations.. I…leave it at home. Too bulky.

    mmmmhhh what to do now ? (maybe the answer is easy–take the SD1 our of the drawer)

  • taeko

    Hi Dave! I’ve been a daily visitor of your blog since March and one thing for sure, your photos have given me a little sunshine to start my everyday :-) Thank you! It is so true that time is not to “have” but to “make” time! I love how you take photos and how you take “warm” photos of Japanese people (if I only make any sense to you…) … I’ll be looking forward to seeing more of your photos!! all the best!!

  • Pradeep

    thanks for the WTD :)

  • Gervin

    Your photographs never fail to brighten up my day! Look forward to more interesting shots from you.

  • Patty

    That is a GREAT cartoon!
    And do keep up the good work.
    We’ll enjoy seeing the images you create on your trip.

  • Dave

    Thanks for the kind comment Taeko… it is all about making time. I got up at 5:30 to make sure I could post today’s posting.

  • Dave

    Macro – The answer is clear… go buy a x100….

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  • Dan Morris

    Not so expensive way to do the 2k Experiment with a Leica. Leica makes a camera called the LX4. Panasonic makes the electronics and Leica makes the lens. It’s a very compact camera in the “enthusiast” class. Basically, a large sensor point and shoot that has a Panasonic counterpart with the same lens, body etc that is only about $400. You can add an optical or electronic viewfinder to the hot shoe and head out on your 2k walk.

    The only difference between the Leica and the Panasonic is that you pay an extra $200. for the Leica, because it has an Adobe Lightroom application included.

    You can see what a very low light photo looks like taken at:
    shutter: 25s | f/8 | Manual | ISO 80

    This is just one sample. More are available on the LX5 forum. This is not an ad, just an idea for those that don’t have $12,000. to get into M9

    Obviously, this is not a Leica M9, but it’s a very small camera that you can take anywhere in your pocket and it has a Leica lens.

    Keep up the good work.

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  • Otonio

    Este post me ha levantado el ánimo.
    Me sugiere ideas para revertir “mi” sequía fotográfica.


    Un abrazo.

  • Scott S

    All nice & have their “unique themes,” but I especially like the soft, pastel-like nature & colors+ in your “Meguro River” pict! ~BTW: Do you know if the cute girl in your “No Nukes” pict is available??? Those eyes are mesmerizing!! ~LOL!! Seriously though, the expression on her face captures the drama and emotion of the agenda’s message as well…

  • Dave

    Thanks Scott. Sorry I didn’t stop to check…

  • http://none HA HUYNH

    I want to learning photographic,because I love all photographer…around of world.

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    Hi Dave, Have enjoyed your Shoot Tokyo site for a long time but have only recently joined so I am enjoying the whole very much. I will be in Tokyo for three weeks

    Hi Dave, Have been enjoying your Shoot Tokyo page for a long time but have only recently joined so now enjoying much more. I will be in Japan for three weeks from the beginning of April and hope to catch the cherry blossom. Have you any recommendation for the best places to see it in Tokyo, that’s if I am not too late of course. Love your photos, a man of my own heart, we enjoy the same subjects. Also enjoyed your photos of London, was that Brick Lane, I am hoping to make it there later this month. Thanks for Shoot Tokyo, although it always makes me feel homesick for my favourite city, Tokyo I would not miss visiting your page.

  • Dave

    Terry – Yoyogi Park and Meguro River in Nakameguro are two of the best places to see the Cherry Blossoms. Almost all of photos of Cherry Blossoms you find on ShootTokyo are from Meguro River. Here is my guide to shooting them.

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