Archive for the 'Photography' Category

My Best shot of 2012

The years just keep rolling along,  and this will be my eighth year of churning out serious photography. By serious, I mean I put a great deal effort into finding the location, composing the shot and post-processing. This is how I differentiate serious photography from my snapshots. Oh, there are times when I can get snapshots that look as good as my serious work, but those times are quite rare. In fact, these days, most of my snapshots are taken on my iPhone, and you’ll probably never see them. They just don’t hold up to my work on flickr. Unless I’m out looking for something specifically using my iPhone. I still use DSLRs for most of the heavy lifting. It would be hard to capture many of my photos on anything but DSLR camera, or one of those new(and expensive) mirrorless cameras. They allow me to select the lens and choose how far to step up or down in light. Camera phones are getting closer to this, but I don’t think they’ll ever do what my other equipment can do.

Anyway, before I announce my Best shot of 2012, here is a list of the previous winners from back when I started keeping track of the best of the year.



See you on the other side


一本桜 (The One Cherry Tree)


Edge of Heaven


The Place I met you in my dreams


And finally, this year’s Best shot. I fell in love with this the minute I took and couldn’t believe what I had. I went out there looking for a cherry blossom tree photo. I never expected the clouds to be like that. It was a pleasant surprise. And there it is,

One Tree vs The World

One of my Photos on Boing Boing

I had a significant bump of traffic the other day, and it appear Boing Boing used one of my photos for an article pertaining to wikileaks. They provided all the proper CC attribution and I was quite honored to have my photo used. They did a little photoshop work to it to make it fit the article. Here is the orginal:

Film Noir - Take Two

And you can see the version they used in the article here:

I wonder if I should be shooting more of these little models and figures in B&W settings.

Strange Clouds Seen near Mt.Iwate

It was near five o’clock yesterday when I looked out my window and noticed the waves in the sky. The sun had not set, but I knew there was something up with the clouds.  So I grabbed my camera gear and took off to find a better perch in which to shoot them. Here is what I got:

Sky Ribbon
It appear as if a large ribbon had formed over the sky.

At the End of the World (by jasohill)
This amazing lenticular cloud appeared out of nowhere.

At the Vortex (by jasohill)
More of the lenticular cloud with Mr.Iwate.

The Sky Opened up. (by jasohill)
The lenticular cloud and the ribbon wave seen together.

The Mysteries of Japan (by jasohill)
Mt.Iwate seen with the ribbon wave and a bridge.

Sapporo Snow Festival 2010

I was in Sapporo this year for an unrelated reason(a friend’s wedding.) However, I happened to have a free evening on my hands so took in the sights of the Sapporo Snow Festival.  This festival is the biggest of its kind in the world, and I didn’t have much time to capture it all. Here is what I got while I was there.  Enjoy!

Yosakoi Dancers performing behind a massive Ice sculpture

Massive Ice Palace

Cold Yosakoi Dancing in Sapporo

The Chibi Maruko Monument

Yosakoi Dancing at the Sapporo Snow Festival

In the festival light tunnel

Korean Temple made of ice and snow

Hurray for everything

Performing a dancing at the snow festival

Snow Sculpture in Sapporo

Godzilla/Matsui Sculpture

Spring in Japan

Spring in Japan, originally uploaded by jasohill.

There are many signs that spring has arrived in Japan. At first, the daffodils come out, followed by crocuses and tulips. Green grasses start to slowly cover brown fields. Finally, in a burst of white and pink, cherry blossoms awaken across the country from the end of March until the end of April.

You can see many signs that spring has come in people here as well. First comes the graduation ceremonies followed by the farewell parties(sobetestukai.) Then, new job assignments and High School placements are announced. After this, comes the first day and the welcome parties(kangeikai) and finally, to experience the explosion of cherry blossoms all over the country, there is a mass of flower viewing parties(called Hanami) all over the country. People in Japan take their cues from nature. It’s so timely, you could set your watch by it. This is spring in Japan.

Photo: Cherry Blossoms at Takamatsu pond in Morioka City, Iwate Japan. HDR with three exposures around sunset. Canon 350D 50mm f/1.8 ISO 100.

Six Million People

I am currently participating in a flickr group called “six million people.” I added this photo of myself to the group.

During World War II, Nazi Germany was responsible for the murder of over six million Jews. A horrific number, but a number that isn’t easily understood by the human brain. It is so large that people cannot fathom it. The idea behind this group is to gather six million portraits of unique people in one place, so that we can start to understand just how much of a toll the Nazi’s took on the population in general. The group is open to anyone. All they ask is that you submit one portrait of one unique person. So you can submit as many people as you like, as long as there is only one photo of each of them.

I am hoping to place as many people in the group as possible. I hope you do as well. I feel it is important to never forget this tragedy. Here is a link so you can easily find it:

Six Million People (flickr group)

The Six Million People Blog

Also featured is Spotlight Seven: another group that talks about some of the talented photographers that are taking photos for the Six Million People project.

Ringing in the New Year

Windy Iwate Mountain, originally uploaded by jasohill.

You’ll probably notice some changes around here. I’ve upgraded the website to WordPress 2.32 and have decided to go with a new theme based around the K2 interface. I’ve also chosen a new theme for the blog. I will still be focusing on Japan of course, but I will be working more of my photography into the stories as well. I’m going to move this blog more towards a photoblog of Japan.

To start this off I present you the first picture of Iwate Mountain I took this year. As you can see, it’s fairly windy up near the top, where the snow is being blasted off the side of the mountain. I went on a twenty minute drive to find the best shot for this. The entire time, I was worried the winds were going to die down. Lucky for me, they actually got stronger. This is why they don’t recommend you climb this sucker in the winter.

Exploring Iwate – Part 1-

Takizawa Morning, originally uploaded by jasohill.

If you were to live in my area of Japan, you might just see this on a particularly clear morning. In this picture, Mt. Iwate stands guard over the small town of Takizawa, south of where I live, and north of Morioka. You usually can’t see the mountain as it’s covered in clouds.

La Lune

La Lune, originally uploaded by jasohill.

Did you catch the total lunar eclipse on August 28, 2007? It wasn’t hard to see from Matsuo, Hachimantai City. All I had to do was look up. There were clear skies all evening. Still, it wasn’t an easy subject to capture. Even though my lens is a 200mm zoom lens, I still had to do a lot of cropping to get this image.

Many of my students has no idea how a lunar eclipse happens, so I spend the first fifteen minutes of my classes today giving them a quick astronomy lesson. Most seemed bored, but there were a fair number of students that wanted to know more. I’m glad I was able to reach out to them.

Update: English meaning section. I almost forgot to post what the Japanese word for Lunar Eclipse is. In Japanese you say gesshoku(月食) for a lunar eclipse and nisshoku(日食)for a solar eclipse. They mean “Moon Eat” and “Sun Eat.”  If it’s a total eclipse of sun sun, you say kaikishoku(皆既食)、and of the moon, kaikigesshoku(皆既月食.)The more you know…

Hachimantai Photo of the Week -Issue 7-

Seasonal, originally uploaded by jasohill.

The hot season has finally arrived in Japan. Temperature soar to 30+C and I’m left sweating the days away.

It’s not all that bad, however. One of the nice things about this time of year are the flowers. You can see many different kinds, and if you are lucky, you can grab a good picture of them as well.