Five years ago today I sat down at write my first post here on ShootTokyo. This is my 735th post. I had very little knowledge about my camera and what I was about to start when I sat down to write the first post. This is a journey I'm glad I took and I'm also glad my photography has progressed since that initial post. If you don't remember what ShootTokyo looked like back then or were a reader back then have a look here. I'm glad my site design has improved significantly since then and then you stuck with me while I sorted everything out. This has been a pretty amazing experience for me. It helped me to move from being clumsy with my camera to to being comfortable with it and becoming fairly proficient and prolific photographer. I have learned to find what I love about photography and what really isn't for me. I have enjoyed experimenting with film and medium format cameras.
For me this has always been about finding some balance in my life. I work extremely hard professionally and this gave me a creative outlet I never had before. I know a lot of people still think I work too hard but you should have seen me before I had a hobby. I have enjoyed carrying my Leicas all around the world and finding reasons to explore the cities I was traveling to. This is something I never did before I got into photography. My trips were basically taxi, plane, hotel, conference room, restaurant, hotel, conference room, taxi, plane, and taxi. I'm glad I give myself an excuse to explore the cities I am going to.
Most of all I have valued the friendships I made through ShootTokyo. Some of my closest friends I met through here or through photography and build strong friendship that will last for years. It is amazing how hobbies bring people together who might have otherwise never known each other and funnily enough have a lot in common and lots of mutual acquaintances. I have met so many great people all over the world but a few immediately jump out at me;
John - a great mentor and confident. Great to see him when he is in Tokyo or when I am in San Francisco.
Steve (and his wife Laura) - Likely the nicest couple in the world and a good example of happiness. One day I look forward to shooting Taiwan with Steve.
Charles- A great friend in Singapore. We met through business but photography kept us together.
David - My film photography sensei. Surprised we never met through business.
Pieter - Likely the smartest person I know. We can talk for hours. He also encourages me to spend too much money on cameras. I don't recommend him as a friend for purely financial reasons.
Denis and Marisol - They live life as if it is one big adventure. It's something to be admired.
Matthew - Someone who helped me immensely as I edited my book and who has always been there.
There are so many other great people I have met along the way. Too many to mention here. I have worked hard to keep this place a 'Friendly Photography Blog' free of the aggressions that fill most photography forums and sites and I'm glad for the most part I succeeded.
I also want to thank Mayumi who has given me so much time to dedicate to ShootTokyo. She knows the joy that ShootTokyo brings me so puts up with all my nonsense associated with it. She is very selfless in her desire to make sure I am happy.
I have so many great memories from ShootTokyo. This is still my favorite. My dream was always to create a book based on the images in ShootTokyo. I was overwhelmed when the community built around ShootTokyo came together and helped me raise the funds to make this a reality. I still have a few books left and they are on sale for $50 (free shipping world wide) as a way of saying Thanks for reading ShootTokyo. You can buy them here. Prints are also on sale for $50 with the coupon '5YEARS'. You can buy them here.
I started the year with some pretty aggressive ambitions for posting on ShootTokyo but my work schedule prevented me from getting out and shooting as much as I like in the first half of the year. More recently family health issues have kept me close to home and likely will for the foreseeable future. Life sometimes takes these turns.
I have been looking for ways to channel my creative energy without the ability to spend much time outside of the house except for work so I have recently picked up guitar. It is something I have always wanted to learn but have never had the time. I picked up a Yamaha Silent Guitar as a quiet way to practice. It is a great way to practice with repetition without driving everyone in the house crazy.
I tried a few times in the past to pick up guitar but it never stuck. I am surprised, but shouldn't be, how many resources are available to teach you how to play guitar. Currently I'm spending a lot of time on Andy Guitar going through his lessons. He is very easy to follow and very relatable. He has you playing songs in the first few lessons which is great. If you know of any other resources please feel free to share.
I have also started window shopping, as you do, for a nice guitar to pick up once I have the skills to be able to deserve one. I have been looking online at Gibon Les Paul, Fender Stratocaster, and Martin Acoustic Guitars. This one currently has my eye but I don't really know what I am looking or how to decide. This one just happens to feel good when I pick it up and strum it and feels right in my hand. I would love some input from any guitar players. Also any recommends on a practice AMP would be great.
Music and Japanese study will be consuming what little personal time I have. I will continue to post on ShootTokyo but not sure of my ability and frequency right now. Don't worry I'll be back one day with more regularity. You can still find me on Twitter and Instagram in the mean time.