Springtime in Naka-ku, Yokohama

Remembering back to our time living in Japan in the late 1970s. We lived in a small area of southern Yokohama near Sankei-en (gardens). The Naka Ward was home to a large US Navy family housing area and the ever popular Navy Exchange and Commissary. Avenue D, pictured below, was the main highway from Yokohama to the Navy base at Yokosuka. In our part of the housing area, these Sakura (below) had been planted as a joint project with the military families and the local community. After the long and dreary winter we looked forward to the blossoms and warmth that signaled Spring.

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Sakura along Avenue D in the Naka Ward. Base housing to the left.

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Sankei-en in Spring. A short bicycle ride from our home so we visited often.

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Carol spending her 100 yen wisely on a visit to Sankei-en.

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More views in Sankei-en.

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Photography blossoms in the Spring.

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We were lucky to live in such a nice area of Yokohama – everything was a short bike ride away. Spring was way too short and the Summers on the Kanto Plain were way too long!

Thanks for your visit! Enjoy your Spring!

Camera: Canon F-1

Film: Kodak Kodachrome 25

Chris

Sankei-en… Yokohama’s Beautiful Gem

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Escape the hustle of the big city – Sankei-en is Yokohama’s beautiful gem.

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Soon the sakura and azalea will bloom. Photographers will come. School children and couples. Families love Sankei-en.

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It was a pleasant ride to Sankei-en from our house so we went often.

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Admission – 100 yen. All smiles.

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Sakura from long ago. Avenue D in Naka-ku, Honmoku. 1979

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Spring returns to Sankei-en soon. The blossoms will be everywhere. Come to this spot and enjoy!

Images from 1978 and 1979. Canon F-1 and Canon AE-1. Kodak Kodachrome film.

Thank you for your visit.

Chris & Carol ^.^

My friend Jim… Hong Kong 1979

I’ve wanted to share these images for quite some time now here on this blog. They’ve been posted to my flickr page in an album titled ‘Liberty Call Hong Kong’- so time to move some of them over and provide a bit of a backstory.

I don’t consider myself a portrait photographer, in fact I’m highly critical of most of my attempts at portraiture over the years. It’s not that I don’t like it, I’m not good at it. I enjoy big vistas and wide open spaces way too much to be trapped in a studio taking pictures of people. Taking pictures of things (cameras, lenses, stuff) in the studio I do enjoy.

Other than portraits of my family, the image below not only means a lot to me but I think it’s one of my better people pics. It’s an image of my friend Jim while we were travelling north out of Hong Kong to the Chinese border by train in January 1979. It was a difficult shot – low light (and I was using Kodachrome 64), hand holding a Canon FD 80-200mm zoom lens and all while the train was moving. The sky was overcast so the light was at least uniformly dim.

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North out of Hong Kong… 1979

My friend Jim was not only a US Navy Sailor like myself, he was also a very accomplished professional photographer and the most outgoing person I had ever met. Jim was a Nikon guy when shooting 35mm – Bronica and Mamiya medium format in the studio. I’m a Canon guy and that was always a source of friendly ribbing between us. Since Jim was a pro, he wasn’t the easiest to trap into having his picture taken. I remember he was saying that this shot will never turn out well because the Canon F-1 had a crummy exposure meter and used crummy (not his real word) glass in their lenses. I don’t think he ever saw this image come to think of it. He may have liked it. I still think the image has problems – shallow depth of field means I missed nailing the focus and the exterior of the train is a tad over exposed. I don’t have fancy post production software so for the most part this scan is exactly what appears on the original slide. Here again I’m being hard on myself and it’s likely the reason I don’t try more portraits.

Another photographer that I met here on WordPress is an outstanding photographer and blogger- her portraits are amazing and always so creative. She said I give her a bit of confidence with my positive comments on the quality of her portfolio, but in reality it’s me who has been given a little nudge to go out and try some portrait photography again.

This was my second port visit to Hong Kong and both times Jim and I were out shooting together from sunrise to well after sunset. Here are but a few of the many that I like the most…

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Image by Jim. Me negotiating a better deal with this sweet vendor. She was funny and a pleasure to deal with. I bought a fan for my wife Carol.

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Jim negotiating a good deal with some nice ladies in Aberdeen, Hong Kong. We had a great boat ride around the harbor. Canon F-1 on Kodachrome 64.

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Cute little girl waiting (with grandma) for the train out of Hong Kong.

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Star Ferry sailor catching up on the morning’s news. Canon F-1 on Kodachrome 64.

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Busy day on the docks of Aberdeen, Hong Kong. Canon F-1 on Kodachrome 64.

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Very difficult shot. Canon F-1 with FD 80-200mm f4 zoom lens on Kodachrome 64 hand held while on a moving boat! 

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Hong Kong night life… 1979.

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Bar hostess… Hong Kong. Canon F-1 on Kodachrome 64. Shutter set at 1 second f1.4

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Not exactly Mickey. Watchful man and dog (lower left) couldn’t figure out why two photographers would be interested in his Mickey.

Jim and I were great friends – my wife Carol was great friends with his wife and children. As US Navy Sailors, Jim and I got to visit many interesting ports while stationed on our ship which was home ported in Yokosuka, Japan. He taught me a lot about photography and to be more outgoing while photographing people. Jim returned to the States before me and his professional studio really took off and was a great success through the 1980s and 1990s.

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Jim doing what he liked best – making people smile and taking pictures! Late 1980s in his studio in Florida.

This is the last photo I have of Jim. It was taken by his wife who was his assistant (you can see why she was)… Jim and his lovely wife died in 2001 in a terrible plane crash. Not the ones in September of that year, but theirs were just before Christmas 2001. A horrible situation for his two grown children and all who knew them.

Every December I remember Jim and all the good times we had. I can still hear him tell me that my F-1 stinks! And I remember all the tips he shared with me on taking people pics.

Thanks Jim!

Chris

 

Wat Phra Kaew – Bangkok 1978

Give me lots of nearly cloudless blue sky, my Canon FD 24mm wide angle lens and some fresh Kodak Kodachrome 25 and I’m a happy guy!

This is just a few images from my port visit to Pattaya Beach, Thailand in December of 1978. I managed a couple of off days to make the crazy (back then) trip to Bangkok.

My “follow me everywhere” Canon F-1 (1978 version) loaded with Kodachrome 25 and my FD 24mm f/ 2.8 lens captured these images at Wat Phra Kaew in central Bangkok.

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This guy always makes me smile.

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Young monks taking a break.

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Very shy ladies practicing their music.

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Nothing like turning your 24mm lens for a tall vertical shot. The Kodachrome and Canon lens captured every detail.

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Almost 40 year old Kodachrome. Still as brilliant as ever!

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The F-1 metered this shot perfectly.

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Gotta have at least one silhouette in the mix.

An amazing country to visit. The colors of everything just popped! Mid December sun angles were never a problem. Bright blue skies helped with capturing the details as I was able to stick with ASA 25 even when hand holding my FD 80-200mm lens.

Thanks for your visit!

Chris

Montauk Point Lighthouse, Long Island

The lighthouse at Montauk Point, Long Island, New York is one of my favorite spots to visit ever since I was a child growing up on Long Island. As a kid, the main attractions for me were – the ocean, the countless rocks in that ocean (big and small), the hills (Long Islanders are hill challenged) and finally the lighthouse itself. As I got older, the main attraction was the lighthouse with the other ‘likes’ fading into the background. When I earned my New York driver’s licence, Montauk was my first long drive from my home by myself. When I became a certified SCUBA diver, the waters near the lighthouse looked tempting for a dive but the great whites known to frequent the cold waters off Eastern Long Island kept me ashore – so I headed to Florida instead.

While going through some of my many mountains of slides from my collection, I came across these images of the lighthouse. The first set of photographs are from August 1972 and were shot with my Yashica TL Electro-X mostly using the normal Yashinon 50mm lens. The second set of images are from 2002 when I traveled to New York with my family for their first visit to Montauk. The 1972 images show how completely the original Kodak Ektachrome slides have degraded over the years.

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August 1972. Yashica TL Electro-X with f/ 1.7 50mm Yashinon lens with 2x teleconverter on Ektachrome 64.

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August 1972. The lighthouse in need of a serious restoration. I believe it was still under the control of the U.S. Coast Guard at that time. It’s obvious that 40+ year old Kodak Ektachrome didn’t hold up well – even when stored properly. Most of the vivid original colors have faded and the slide lacks depth.

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July 2002. The lighthouse and grounds were looking much better after the restoration. Canon F-1 with FD24mm f/ 2.8 lens on Kodachrome. My son is the little one climbing up the hill (as I had done hundreds of times before).

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July 2002. Canon F-1 with FD24mm f/ 2.8 lens on Kodachrome.

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T.J. on the rocks… just like me in the 1950s.

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The automated light of 2002. Wonderful view from up top too.

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Captivating views from up top.

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Gotta love the rocks!

If you ever get a chance to travel to Long Island, then the Montauk Point Lighthouse must be on your “to visit list”. It’s very photogenic and lends itself well to the digital age. There are images that a good camera phone today can capture that were a serious challenge to film photographers just 15 years ago. Happy shooting!

Chris

 

Kamakura Daibutsu

My wife and I lived in Yokohama, Naka-ku (Honmoku) from the Summer of 1977 to early Spring of 1980. We totally enjoyed our time in this wonderful country and are hopeful we will be able to return again. We had our favorite spots – Sankei-en and Kamakura being two of our most favorite. As with any well known attraction, the Great Buddha at Kamakura has been photographed from every angle imaginable. I’ve always enjoyed exploring angles that may not have been tried before.

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July 1979. Canon F-1 with FD 24mm lens on Kodachrome 25.

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Kodachrome 25. Bright sun. Canon F-1 with FD 24mm lens. It’s what film photography was (is) all about.

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More traditional view of the Great Buddha. Steaming hot July day on the Kanto Plain. Yashica TL Electro-X on Kodachrome 64.

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Gotta have a tourist shot! We love the antennas on top of Mt. Fuji!

So many things will have changed in Japan since we were last there but they’ll be plenty that will stay the same… forever. Kamakura is one of them.

Thanks for the visit!

Pentamatic S and friends…

We’ve recently found a nice looking friend for our collection… well, friends. Like almost all collections, ours doesn’t need more friends – more space maybe, but no new friends. This flash came as an accessory to a recent purchase of a Yashica twin-lens reflex camera (from 1956). After a quick cleaning we attached it to our S to see how they would look together – smashing we think! The Kodak Kodachrome is from 1959 and adds a nice touch to the set up. We’ve always loved the bright yellow and red metal film cans from Kodak.

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We put our Pentamatic S, from early 1961 or so, and the Zeiss Ikon Ikoblitz 4 (late 1950s?) together. Sadly the flash takes a now defunct battery and has a capacitor so not much we can do except enjoy the view.

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They make for a handsome display. All are age appropriate too.

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With the flash tucked away in its hard plastic shell it takes on an interesting look.

Hope you enjoyed your visit and if you care to, please leave a comment or suggestion for us. Of course if you know more about the Zeiss Ikon flash or want to contribute something about the Pentamatic, please do so!

Many thanks again… Chris and Carol

You can find us on flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/127540935@N08/