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What gift did this give me?

What gift did this give me?

I decided to shoot M10 for a few weeks with the intention of converting the images to black and white to see if this is a suitable replacement for my Leica Monochrom.   I left my display in color which was probably a mistake I realized later.  When I was shooting my Monochrom I often found myself searching for shadows, textures, and contrast.  With the preview on the back of my camera in color I didn't find myself doing this.   I think I ended up taking suboptimal images because of that.  I can easily remedy this by setting my camera to shoot RAW + JPEG and set the JPEG to monochrome in the future.  The net result is I believe my M10 can easily do for me what my M Monochrom was.

I'm sure someone will have a technical reason for why the M10 can't fulfill what the Monochrom was offering.  Those who read my Leica M10 Visual Review will know how much detail I like to go into about the technical specifications of my cameras and debate it.  

Leica M10 Technical Summary:

Megapixels: a bunch

Frames per section: enough

Weight: a bit more than my M9

Dimensions: thinner than my M9

Battery life: seems long

ISO: more than my Monochrom

Today's Configuration: Leica M10 with a Summicron 28mm f/2.0

 Roppongi Hills

Roppongi Hills

 Ginza 4 Chrome

Ginza 4 Chrome

 Ginza

Ginza

 Alain

Alain

Alain, who I met in Ginza for lunch a few months ago, was back in Tokyo and we took the opportunity to catch up for a coffee at Alpha Beta Coffee Club

 ABC Coffee Club

ABC Coffee Club

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I collaborated with Alpha Beta Coffee Club, and I displayed my images in their cafe for a few weeks.  I held an opening reception the day we put the images up.  There was a terrific turnout.  Much more than I expected.  I got to speak to many people I haven't seen in a while. 

For the next few weeks following, it was nice to see people enjoying my photos when I stopped to pick up my coffee.  People didn't know I was the photographer so I could see their natural reactions as they looked at my photos. 

While the pictures have been taken down now, ABC is continuing to sell my book.  If you are in Tokyo and looking to pick up a copy, please stop by ABC.

 Ginza Starbucks

Ginza Starbucks

 Yutenji

Yutenji

 John Hall

John Hall

My friend John Hall was passing through Tokyo and we did our usual catch up over coffee.  I had purchased a copy of John's book "4am | Japan" a few months ago and he hand delivered it to me.

I always admire anyone who undertakes a project as big as creating a book.  There is so much involved in creating a book like this.  If you want to get a really unique well-made book while supporting a great photographer, check it out. 

John also has an amazing Instagram feed that is worth following.

 Haneda Airport Sushi

Haneda Airport Sushi

I had a trip to Melbourne and Sydney for a few days about two weeks back.  I love flying out of Haneda.  It's close to Tokyo, quick to get to, affordable to park at and fairly hassle-free.  Unfortunately this time it was anything but.

I planned to arrive at the airport about 3 hours before my flight as I wanted to eat dinner and get a little work done before take off.  I typically pull into the parking garage, find a space and head to departures.   This time as I pulled up towards the airport's garage this time I noticed there were cars everywhere.  Not a few but lots, everywhere.  It was very unusual for Haneda Airport.

There was a massive queue waiting to get into the parking garage.   There were 100s of cars in front of me and it appeared I wasn't going to be parking anytime soon.  After not moving for 20 minutes, I decided not to wait anymore and pulled out of line.   As I passed the front of the line there was a sign that said something to the effect of 'Parking lot is full.  Please wait'.  I've never seen an airport parking lot completely fill up before.  I can't believe someone wasn't walking back and telling everyone so they could make alternative plans.  I imagine many people missed their flights on this day. 

I figured I could just head over to the Domestic Terminal of the airport about 1 kilometer away and park there.  Then I could either take a shuttle or cab back to the International Terminal.  I arrived at a similar scene but this time the sign said '3-hour wait'.   Who arrives at the airport with 3 hours slotted for parking? I start to panic.  Where can I leave my car?  How did my arriving 3 hours early turn into a situation where I could potentially miss my flight?  I quickly jump on Apple Maps on my phone and type in 'hotel' looking for the nearest hotel not attached to the airport.  The Shinagawa Prince Hotel was about a 20-minute drive away.  That's 20 minutes there, 5 or 10 minutes to park and grab a cab, and then 20 minutes back to the airport.  At least I can arrive 1.5 hours before my flight.

I raced back to central Tokyo to drop my car in Shinagawa.  I pulled up to the Prince Hotel and realize it's not a hotel owned parking garage that would typically have a fixed fee of 3,000 yen a day or something like that.   It was a Times Parking lot which, which is run by one of the large commercial operators of parking lots across Japan.  They offered 3,000 yen for hotel guests but for everyone else, it was 100 yen for 10 minutes.  I was going away for a week!  This would be a $1,100 parking bill.  Ugh.

I quickly pull out of the parking lot and now I'm really starting to panic.  I called Mayumi and see if she can help me to find somewhere I can go.  She called back about 5 minutes later with a place about 10 minutes from where I was where I could park.  At the same time, I found a place I could park for $15 a day and I dropped my car and jumped in a cab.   

I got to the airport about 1 hour and 20 minutes before my flight about scheduled to take off.  I was able to get through security fairly quickly and had time to grab some sushi before takeoff.   I really like the sushi at Haneda and it's a good way to start a long trip.

I prefer much smoother arrivals at the airport. 

 Dave Powell

Dave Powell

I booked this trip a bit late and I couldn't get the flights I wanted on a direct flight so I decided to fly Tokyo to Singapore and Singapore to Sydney.  I settled into my seat after the chaos of figuring out where to park.  I love flying on Singapore Airlines.  It makes me not care how long the flight is.

I've got my iPad loaded up with books to keep me busy on my travels.  I'm currently reading Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.  I have watched his shows for years so I was very sad to hear of his passing.  I have a queue of books on my iPad waiting to be read.   I have a few from Haruki Murakami as well as both of Richard Brandson's books finding my Virginity and Losing my Virginity in my queue.   I'm always willing to take book recommendations as well so please share if you have any.

I was listening to my favorite podcast The Tim Ferris Show the other day.  He had Brandon Stanton from the Humans of New York on.  He talked about photography of course but there were two things he mentioned that stuck with me. 

He talked about mastering the 24 hour period.  This was about not getting caught up in planning big huge projects but rather seeing what you can get done in the next 24 hours.  He wasn't saying don't work on big projects but when you do so make sure it's with a bias for action.  What can you get done to move this project forward in some incremental way in the next 24 hours?   I know personally, I can get caught up in planning projects out and I know when I approach projects with a bias for action I can get so much more accomplished.  ShootTokyo is a good example of this.  It is a culmination of a lot of efforts over 24 hour periods.   If I sat back and tried to plan all this has become, it would have seemed overwhelming but putting a little effort in each day I have been able to achieve a lot.

Brandon also talked about self-education and how he was reading 100 pages a day of non-fiction for a period of 7 or 8 years.  I've self-taught myself a lot of my skills so I can really relate to this.  While I doubt I can read 100 pages a day it's a good reminder that I should be trying to read more.   I would love to get to the pace of reading 2 to 3 books a month.   I think with a few behavior modifications it's very doable. 

If you haven't listened to Tim's podcast I couldn't recommend it more.  It's amazing.  He interviews some of the most amazing people and just such good insights from them.  I always learn something from him. 

One of the things I recently picked up from Tim is how he deals with life's little setbacks.   For example, if you have a flight get delayed it is so easy to get mad, annoyed, frustrated and let it completely change your mood.  In times like this Tim asks himself "What gift did this give me?". 

He is asking himself because of what happened what options do I have now that I didn't have before.  If your flight is delayed 2 hours you aren't going to change that.  Getting angry, annoyed or frustrated will accomplish nothing.  Does he now have time to finish the conversation he started with the guy sitting next to him at the coffee shop?  Does he have a few hours of uninterrupted work time at the airport?  Time to read an additional 100 pages of the book he is deep into before boarding the flight?    What gift was he just given?  

I think it is a great way to think about and work through problems like that.

 Changi Airport

Changi Airport

If you are going to get stuck in an airport for a few hours Changhi Airport is always a good choice.  They have good restaurants and bars such as Wolf Gang Puck to grab a quick bite to eat and grab a drink before you flight.  

 Changi Airport

Changi Airport

 Darling Harbor, Sydney, Australia

Darling Harbor, Sydney, Australia

I finally arrived in Sydney mid-morning the following day.  My hotel room had this beautiful view of Darling Harbor.  It was a beautiful winter afternoon so the sky was clear.  It was Sunday but I had a lot of things I wanted to get done before starting my week.  I ironed my shirts, shined my shoes, emptied my inbox and a few other things that ate up my afternoon. 

I decided to hit the gym for a few hours before meeting an old boss for dinner.   I don't love to exercise but I also don't like being out of shape which is easy to do when you travel heavily.   A good workout is a great way to start a business trip and burn off extra some calories that I know I am going to consume.  I bring my iPad and if you get into reading something it is easy for an hour or more to pass without you noticing it while walking briskly on a treadmill.  Plus I had an amazing view of the sunset on Darling Harbor from my treadmill.

 Darling Harbor, Sydney, Australia

Darling Harbor, Sydney, Australia

 Darling Harbor, Sydney, Australia

Darling Harbor, Sydney, Australia

 Qantas Airlines

Qantas Airlines

After a few days in Sydney I headed off to Melbourne for a day before heading home.

 Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia

 7 Eleven

7 Eleven

I enjoy traveling but Tokyo always feels like home when I return.

 Tokyo Midtown

Tokyo Midtown

 Tokyo Midtown

Tokyo Midtown

 Ginza

Ginza

 Ginza

Ginza

 Ginza

Ginza

 Bally in Ginza

Bally in Ginza

I recently bought a new briefcase for work.  I need to be able to work on trains, planes, taxis, hotels, and offices other than my own.   Because of this, I spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect bag.  I want it to be big enough to hold everything I need but not too big. I don't want a lot of pockets I am never going to use, or worse, try to find things to put in them.   I want the things I need to be easily accessible when I am on the go. 

I need a bag that can hold my laptop but I don't need a ton of extra padding. I'm not throwing my bag around.  Basic protection is OK.  I need to be able to fit my iPad, reading glasses, sunglasses, and chargers in the main compartment.   I need it to be able to fit my M10 in the main compartment as well when it's not around my neck.   I also need to be able to fit my Japanese study books when I am traveling.

Inside I need pockets that can hold my business card holder, office bag, and a little card holder I use at work to hold my building badge and point card for stores in my building.   Japan has point cards for everything and my office building is no different. 

On the outside, I want a zippered pouch so I can easily access my wallet, keys, passport, coin purse, and mints.   I want to make sure my bag has room to hold exactly what I need and not much else.   I actually empty my bag once a week and make sure I don't have any stowaways in my bag.  It's easy to keep adding things to your bag unintentionally. 

After checking out every bag I could find at Hugo Boss, Tumi and a few other stores, I thought I had found the perfect bag at Dunhill.  It's was beautiful, well made, and holds exactly what I want.  I used it for a few weeks in Tokyo and then took it on it's inaugural business trip to Australia.  On the first day, the metal hook that clips to the side of the bag snapped in half and when it did it ripped the u-ring right off the side of the bag. 

A bag in this price point should never break.   I was really surprised and disappointed.  This was day 1 of a 7-day business trip.  I needed to hand carry the bag the rest of the trip.  While it doesn't sound like a bit deal imagine walking through the airport, bag in one hand, coffee in the other, trying to drag along your suitcase and answering your mobile phone.  You quickly miss the shoulder strap and the extra free hand.

I was very frustrated but then I asked: "What gift did this give me?".   What can I buy now that I couldn't do before as I already bought a bag. 

I took the bag back to Dunhill and they offer to replace it immediately but I decided to look around a bit more and asked them to issue me a refund.   I ended up finding a new bag at Bally.  Somewhere I hadn't looked before and didn't expect to find the perfect bag.  It was simpler, a bit smaller, and best of all on sale for about 60% less than of the cost of the Dunhill bag.  After using it for a few weeks I think it's a much better bag than what I had found at Dunhill.  I like it so much I'm actually considering picking up a second one and hanging on to it for a few years so I have a replacement when my current one wears out. 

 ABC Coffee Club

ABC Coffee Club

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope you enjoyed this post.

Be well.

Dave

 

 

Noticing the Details

Noticing the Details

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