Happy New Year!  あけましておめでとうございます!

Exit the Dragon…enter Year of the Snake…

I hope everyone had a nice new years with family and friends.   I like that Japan shuts down for the week around New Years as it gives you a chance to reflect on the past year and think about the year ahead.

My goals from last year will not change and I will continue them for this year.  Some I think I did really well and others I need to make more progress:

Be a student of photography

I know the fundamentals of photography.  I know what f stop, ISO or shutter speed to use to get the image I desire.   These things are second nature to me at this point.   I want to continue to become a better photographer through continuing to build my skills.

To take great photographs you need to know what makes a good photograph.  One of the best ways to study photography is to spend time looking at images from great photographers.   I have been slowing building a collection of photography books, mostly through gifts from my loving wife.

I gave her a list a few years ago of photographers I wanted to study so she always buys me a book from the list whenever there is an occasion where we would exchange gifts.   I am impossible to buy for as I typically buy something if I want it and I am not a big collector of things outside of photography equipment.   This approach reduces gift buying stress for my wife and ensures I always get something I love.   It works really well for us.  I highly recommend this approach…

I have also built a new Photo Bookshelf page where I will list out the books I am reading.

Photography Books

I want to continue to try to attend a photography workshop at least once a year.  I find it a great way to expand my skills, network and most of all spend a few days completely dedicated to photography.   In 2011 I took Jay Maisel’s workshop in NYC and last year I took Bruce Gilden’s workshop in Tokyo.    I want to do another workshop this year.  Perhaps the Jay Maisel Alumni workshop or Thorsten Overgaard’s workshop.

I want to improve my technical skills as a photographer

The biggest area I want to improve here is ensuring minimalist digital workflow is as efficient and effective as possible.   I signed up last year at Kelby Training and found it a great way to expand my skills.  They have great videos with some of the best in the business covering just about every topic on photography.  You can watch a video in just a short amount of time and pick up some new skills.

I want to explore Japan more

I have found it difficult to travel around Japan much as my work and travel schedule just haven’t allowed it.  This year I am committed to get to Kyoto.   It is a shame I have never been to Kyoto in all of the years I have lived in Tokyo.  I even own www.shootkyoto.com! I think I need to plan a few day trips to new parts of Japan as well.  I have also began expanding my education by ensuring to read the Japan Times more often to educate myself on politics and general Japan happenings.


I want to more consistently study Japanese

I studied a lot last year but not in nearly as structured of a format as I would have liked.  I made a lot of progress but I started taking a new approach that will allow me to sit for the Japanese Language Proficiency Exam.   I am posting my daily progress on my sidebar under 日本語1000日.   Feel free to follow along.

More activity on ShootTokyo

I want to post a little more often here on ShootTokyo.   My Japanese study will keep me posting daily but I want to make sure I am making photography related posts 3 times a week.  You might see some shorter posts so I can achieve that.  I sometimes get really carried away with posts and they can take a really long time to create.

…and I dropped one goal from last year

I dropped my goal to publish a book.  I did all of the research on how to do it and gather most of the images I wanted to put it in but then I decided I can do better.  I think my images need a lot more work and consistency before I make the significant investment of self publishing a book.  I think perhaps I might do one of my film photography in the future.

I know many photographers commit to 365 or 52 projects for the New Year.    If you are and need some inspiration check out 10 things I learned from Daily Shooting and The 2K Experiment.

What are your resolutions this year?  Please leave a comment and share…

OK.   Glad to get all of that out of the way before my year begins to take off.  I already have upcoming trips to Palm Springs, San Francisco, Sydney, and Singapore planning.  It is going to be a busy year so onto today’s post.

 Today’s configuration:  Leica M9-P, Summicron 90mm f/2.0, Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 and Summilux 21mm f/1.4.

On a clear day I can get a nice view of Mt Fuji from my balcony.    It was a nice surprise to see a great view his morning.

Mt Fuji view

Welcome Year of the Snake…but Japan is closed until the 4th so please come back then.

Year of the snake

I stopped by the local shrine during my morning walk…

Jiyugaoka Temple

Jiyugaoka Temple

Year of the Snake

If you head to the shrines to wish in the New Year be careful…Stone LionDogs are everywhere!

Stone Lion

Thankfully Starbucks doesn’t close on New Year’s Day… I was able to pick up a Grande Americano at the end of my morning walk.

Starbucks Coffee in Jiyugoaka

In a holiday miracle the post man delivered 40 rolls of the impossible to get/discontinued FujiChrome Asita 100.   My wife won it for me in a vicious bidding war on eBay!   She is very strong at online auctions…

Now I know that many of you photographers are holding on to the myth that film is better digital.  Come on it is 2013!  Do you really think film is better?   #filmisdead.   ShootTokyo is the world’s only recognized film disposal company and by law you must surrender all rare and expired film to me for proper disposal.

You do not want to tangle with the Japanese and German photography powerhouses so suggest you comply immediately!


Thanks for stopping by today…  Happy New Year!