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Posts tagged “iPhone Photography

Livin’ The Life in Ginza… or at least pretending to! (Japan – Autumn 2018 Day 8)

Four days ago I read that one of my favorite soft vinyl toy artists had a show at the FewMany shop in Loft – on the 6th floor and I hoped that it was still active.

It was with these hopes that I arrived in Ginza with Paulina at my side, and these hopes were crushed when I walked up to find that a new art exhibit had taken it’s place. I did have a consolation, however, because they had a nice selection of VAG gasha machines that I was very happy to find!

I dashed to the cashier and got change, dashed back to the machines and made my selections!

VAG (Vinyl Artist Gacha) Machine at the FewMany exhibit at Loft Ginza – Morris is “The Cat With Antlers” and I love him.

Konatsu Sea Otters!

I ended up with one new Morris, a duplicate Morris, two Konatsu special run sea otters (one of which I gave to a special friend) and one of those baby tart things that creep me out, but I have to get because I do love creepy things.

I got a new color Morris and another creepy baby tart – I don’t know the name of the artist or the piece, but I’ll find out!


I found an ICHI figure!!! I’m only newly familiar with this artist and I hope to see more!

Paulina and I decided to roam around, so we headed to the main street where all of the upscale stores are… we contented ourselves with taking photos of the buildings and not actually shopping haha! So that I am not posting a bunch of boring photos of buildings, here are just two:


Louis Vuitton

I made a friend while roaming around in Ginza – why does this Daruma have a mustache? We may never know, but he’s adorable regardless.


Snuggling up to one of the most unusual darumas that I’ve seen.



Whilst roaming around we made plans to meet up with Chris for dinner and he also suggested that we go to the Ginza Six observatory… I am very glad that he did because that place was fantastic!

The views were awesome…

Paulina and I at Ginza Six looking at the Tokyo Skyline and Tokyo Tower

This rooftop was so nice – grass, trees and plants everywhere, water features and plenty of opportunities for photographs and selfies too.

Chris creepin’ in the trees to get a good shot of two Japanese girls taking photos of each other.


– photo credit to Chris Danford


– photo credit to Chris Danford


– photo credit to Chris Danford


Oh hey, a photo of me that I actually like! I am totally jealous of Portrait Mode on new iPhones.

Oh, I should post a few photos that I took:

After a long while taking in the beautiful views, we moved on to dinner. Since I was craving noodles, Chris suggested that we go to a place that specializes in Udon dishes that happened to be nearby… Tsuru Ton Tan Udon. I was excited to try a place that had udon as their focus, since I’ve never had Udon outside of pre-packaged meals or mediocre fast food.

This place was INCREDIBLE! Not only was the view great but the food was affordable and definitely high-end… I would expect the prices to be double for food of this quality back in the States.

I don’t remember what Chris and Paulina got, but mine was warm udon with mountain potato (it’s stringy goodness!) and a fresh eggie. – photo credit to Chris Danford

After dinner a sleepy Chris bid us a good night… Paulina and I continued on to UNIQLO to look for presents and Disney shirts, respectively.

After the partially successful shopping side quest we decided to go home… on our way to the station we heard the sound of some very hot cars coming down the street, and they stopped half a block in the opposite direction but needless to say we HAD to go see these awesome cars and I was blown away by two gorgeous Lamborghinis!

OMG THIS CAR! What a beautiful night in Ginza!

Thus ended our day in Ginza on what was definitely a high note! We took our tired feet back toward the train station and saw many a salary man also doing the same (and a few that were possibly drunk from post-work dinner and drinks!)

Happy smiling Salary Men: Two of the salary men were helping another that was a little drunk… and struggling to get down the street.

Laid Back Day (Japan – Autumn 2018 Day 7)

It was just one of those mornings where I did not want to do or think about anything important… so I didn’t. Well, sort of.

Our AirBnB has been cozy but also not healthy – the entire bottom floor has a moisture problem, which I am certain is perpetuated by tennants not taking good care to ventilate the place and the owner not properly cleaning. The shower area was a disaster… mold and mildew everywhere, and I don’t mean just a little… A LOT.

Cleaning supplies were purchased… and I spent almost two hours yesterday morning just scrubbing the shower and tub area.
T W O  H O U R S. It’s a small area too but there is tile and every single tile grout surface had mold. I was really tired after that so I took a shower and rested, then tidied up in one of the living areas. For someone who doesn’t have kids, I surely get into “mom” mode a lot.

The guys had been out at Karaoke the night before and all had hangovers… Paulina and I made plans to meet up with Chris for lunch at  A Happy Pancake – a restaurant that serves soufflé pancakes! I have been seeing videos for a couple of years about them… Simon and Martina’s video on YouTube stands out as the one that REALLY made me want to try these pancakes. You can watch that here:

Paulina and I took a train to Omotesando…

I snuck a photo of sleepy commuters on the way to Omotesando.

we had some time to kill before meeting up with Chris so we decided to walk around the winding backstreets of the area to look at the trendy shops where you can find all manner of things… from used clothing to high end fashion and every item in between.

When in Omotesando, do what the Omotesandians do.

One of our destinations was B-Side Label, a store that I always make a point to visit when I am in Tokyo… their stickers are all made right there, and the artists that provide designs are all local as well so this makes me feel good about purchasing items there.

Every trip into this store is a sensory bombardment, from the colorful stickers and products to the employees filled with personality and friendly conversation… once again I forgot to actually take photos IN the store but here is a photo of the outside!

Here I am with two of my furry friends outside of B-Side Label.

As per usual, I had a difficult time choosing exactly what labels would be coming home with me and to make the choice an even more difficult one, they had limited run Halloween editions of some of their favorite designs as well as new Halloween designs – that’s mostly what I purchased, since one they’re gone… they’re gone.

The stickers that I picked up today at B-Side Label… these were a very small selection of the ones that I wanted most!

After spending a long while at B-Side, we wandered toward the main street toward Kiddeland and found some… unusual stickers on the pedestrian overpasses – this is one of the things that I enjoy about Omotesando & Harajuku… random stickers and grafitti.

Looks like some random couple wanted to leave a more personalized mark on the sticker colelction!


“look at all of these stickers!…. oh.”

We browsed Kiddeland and then heard from Chris that he had arrived near the location of the soufflé pancakes, so we met him there.

My soufflé pancake at A Happy Pancake had a beautiful berry compote – a little too sweet but definitely complex in flavor.


Foreground: Pumpkin Raisin – Left Berry Compote – Right – Hot Chocolate – Photo courtesy of Chris Danford

A Happy Pancake did not disappoint! The atmosphere was bright and refreshing – despite being on the basement level of a building, the green theming and large wall displaying photos and videos of outdoor scenes and plants set the mood for happy interaction – the three of us had a lovely time talking and consuming delicious foods.

I have never tasted a pancake quite like this – it’s texture is indeed similar to a soufflé but a bit more heavy… it has inspired me to try this out when I return to Vancouver in December… having never made a soufflé of any sort I cannot predict if my outcome will be a pleasant one or not but I have eaten enough soufflé to know if it’s actually good or not!

After pancakes I was craving some good coffee. Chris did a quick search online and found a trendy pour over place nearby. We walked to our destination and waited a half hour before we realized that this was more of an experience than anything… one person to guide you through the process of choosing your coffee and educating you on it’s origins… one person to make the coffee. There were six people ahead of us and it took 3 a half hour to get their coffee so we decided to look elsewhere and possibly come back to this place another day.

This was the entrance… literally a short square door to a teeny staging area.

A new place for coffee was found fairly quickly… and just up the street a few blocks. It turned out to be a blessing because both the coffee and the chai that we tried were amazing – neither needed sugar added, a sign to me that this is superior coffee indeed.

Coffee and Chai for us… the doughnuts looked delicious but we had just eaten sweet things so perhaps next time we will try them too. – Photo courtesy of Chris Danford

Drinks at Higuma Doughnuts x Coffee Wrights were excellent! I definitely want to come back here and try the other drinks that they offer.

Chris departed after the consumption of coffee and chai, Paulina and I continued on to Harajuku in search of a store that Paulina wanted to visit called Alice on Wednesday.

As the name suggests, it was indeed an Alice in Wonderland themed shop, very cleverly decorated… lots of cute things here but nothing that particularly spoke to me. I’d like to have this table though:

Such an adorable table! I think my apartment needs this in it. 😀

Browsing done, we went to Takashita Dori, the main street in Harajuku. It was getting late and as it was a weekday, many shops were closed so it was not too crowded with people, which is a pleasant change from the usual.

I don’t remember the name of this store that these stairs lead down to, but I do remember from three years ago that this is a second hand clothing store that was pretty awesome.

Sparsely populated night street of Harajuku.

Since businesses were starting to close, we decided to call it a night and took our tired feet home.

Day #53 – A Photo A Day 2013

Goodness, my internet connection has been SO HORRIBLE this week, and it has only gotten worse! Much thanks that Philz Coffee here in SoMa not only has the best coffee that I have ever tasted (and tea!) but also has free WiFi access that is enabling me to write this post!

My horrid connection that (insert well-known broadband provider name here) has been providing to me lately has made me want to escape into a fantasy world where there is no packet loss and I don’t have to pay for my plentiful lightning-fast internet access. At this moment, I would also like this fantasy world to look nothing like this coffee shop – although it is decorated tastefully, I’d rather be in a moody forest right now, cavorting in flowing dresses and uploading photos to my hearts content, sweet breezes gently wafting through my hair and perhaps a bit of hauntingly beautiful music beckoning me toward it’s source…

Erm, back to the post…

Since there is no such place available, I have created this place – in photographic form – for my eye to wander to and in turn inspire sweet dreams to escape the reality of this daily purgatory fraught with continual internet connection disruption.

Dark Forest Beckons

Dark Forest Beckons

Again, photo taken with my iPhone 4s – I began by doing a few things in Photo FX – I often start in this app to tune the pic up a bit, if I feel that it needs it or if I want to enhance a certain aspect of the photo, before I begin layering other apps. Some of the current reviews of this app are less than stellar, but it seems that all of those have to do with the new version released for iOS 6 – I refuse to upgrade my iOS because I read and hear so many disparaging things about it that it doesn’t seem worth my while. So, I’m still very very happy with Photo FX.

Next, I layered effects in Filtermania 2 juuuuust hints of layering there – I didn’t want to alter the base picture too much but rather enhance it (and hide a few modern details that I didn’t want there) – next came Iris, which has apparently been re-worked by the creators to be called Laminar. I use Iris all of the time – easy to use and so many choices for editing. I’m afraid that I won’t like the new version after reading a few of the reviews – again, this is for iOS 6, so I don’t have anything to worry about as long as I don’t “upgrade”.

Lastly, just a hint of ScratchCam. I have played with the free version of this app enough that I now know that I really need to get the full version! I don’t know what I would do without you, ScratchCam!

Sometimes when I create a piece with one of my photos I am too critical. With this piece I can wholeheartedly say that I am really very happy with the way it turned out, and I hope that it pleases others as much as I seem to have pleased myself. (a rare thing!)

Day #22 – A Photo A Day 2013

What a good day it was today! I’m finally feeling more like myself than I’ve felt in a week and it was good to actually get outside and stretch my legs for a bit!

My wanderings took me over to the Mission neighborhood here in San Francisco, which was not my original destination, but regardless of where I was going to begin with, I was glad that my wanderings ended up taking me to a couple of places that I totally did not expect to be going to.

At one point when I was way off course, I spotted some street art that looked intriguing, so I went even further out of my way to go take a look. Again, I was without my SLR unfortunately, since I had planned to go shopping and I didn’t want to haul heavy camera equipment around in a clothing store… but of course I had my iPhone at hand!

This mural was so awesome – several notable figures from mythology, some of which I did not recognize, but some I most definitely did like the ones in the picture below:

Wadjet, Horus, Anubis & Nekhbet

Wadjet, Horus, Anubis & Nekhbet

I thought that the portion of the mural with the Egyptian gods Wadjet, Horus, Anubis & Nekhbet was particularly awesome, especially since the style very much reminded me of Stargate: SG1 and I am a HUGE fan of that series. Also notable was the boom box that they have with them. 😉

I have a couple more pictures of that wall to share – perhaps in the next couple of days I will post those as well, but that may be trumped depending on what the next few days bring in photographic opportunity.

Day #21 – A Photo A Day 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is today, and while I was not able to go out to take pics, I do have a nice pic of a place that I pass by and visit often here in San Francisco.

Today’s pic is of the Martin Luther King Jr. Fountain in Yerba Buena Gardens. I love the fountain itself, but one of the nice things is that you can walk behind the fountain! There you will find quotes from the man himself; in this picture, the lovely green glow behind the water is of the illuminated glass panels that bear the etchings of those words.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Fountain

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Fountain

Day #20 – A Photo A Day 2013

Oooof! Today I am feeling worse than yesterday – no fair! I had photography plans for today!!!!

Ah well. So, today I give you… another window view from breakfast yesterday. (this time, panning to my left)

I like varying colors and the worn look of the window decal.

Worn Out Coca-Cola Window Decal

Worn Out Coca-Cola Window DecalWorn Out Coca-Cola Window Decal

Day #19 – A Photo A Day 2013

Despite not really feeling well, I made a bad decision to go to breakfast with Chris. Breakfast tasted wonderful, but my stomach is quite angry at me for selfishly trying to give my body sustenance!

It is my intent to go back to this restaurant when I am well and do a proper review of the offerings there, since I really did enjoy my meal other than the pain that my body is in, which is obviously no fault of that fine establishment.

This is the view I had at the counter that Chris and I supped at:

Lunch In The Window

Lunch In The Window

It’s not a fancy place, but I think that adds to the charm. It’s lack-luster decor certainly doesn’t deter customers, as that place is always really busy.

Day #18 – A Photo A Day 2013

Sunsets – I just cannot get enough of them, and I fear that at times my photography library contains a few too many examples of sunsets.

I am certain that some of them look a bit redundant, but then again, I always find a different beauty in each one.

I have been feeling very under the weather today, and when I saw this beautiful view out of my window, I had to drag myself over with my iPhone, sick or not to take this pic. I snapped a few with my SLR, but I haven’t even checked them out to see if the turned out alright. (I am DEFINITELY not feeling well if I can’t even be bothered to see how I like my photos!)

Sunset over San Francisco on Jan. 18

Sunset over San Francisco on Jan. 18

Day #17 – A Photo A Day 2013

Okay okay, just ONE MORE from Mission Creek Park, and then that’s all for that place for the week! (maybe…)

I snapped this one as I was crossing the 4th St. bridge:

Mission Creek Park from the 4th Street Bridge

Mission Creek Park from the 4th Street Bridge

Day #16 – A Photo A Day 2013

Abandoned building shot #2 is today’s photo. I especially like the rusty chain link fence that guards the building. Hmmmm…. I may need to do a special series of photos just of rusty objects since I do love rusty metal!

Without further delay… here is the picture:

Graffiti on the Mission Creek Park Abandoned Dock

Graffiti on the Mission Creek Park Abandoned Dock

Day #15 – A Photo A Day 2013

It certainly looks as if I will be visiting Mission Creek Park more often – I like the views, and also it’s a nice place to stroll and look at the scenery and watch people play with their dogs too.

For some reason, I love urban graffiti, especially so when it’s on an abandoned structure. This building is on a dilapidated dock… I wish that I could get inside to take pics of whatever might be in there, but the whole structure does look really unstable, so it’s probably a good thing that the access has been fenced off.

Mission Creek Park Abandoned Dock

Mission Creek Park Abandoned Dock

Day #14 – A Photo A Day 2013

This evening I went for a walk – I was on a mission to photograph in the light of the sunset/twilight, and a few days ago I scoped out a spot that I thought would be interesting.

I brought my SLR, my point-and-shoot, and of course, my iPhone. I ended up taking a few with my iPhone that I liked quite a bit, so I think that over the next few days I will post those pics before I upload a few from my SLR.

Mission Creek Park Sunset

Mission Creek Park Sunset

Here is one of my favorites that I took on my iPhone, again with Pro HDR.

Look for more from that park in the coming days!

Day #9 – A Photo A Day 2013

Flights to San Francisco have been delayed due to weather (I am guessing most likely fog or a really low ceiling) so I am still sitting here at the Portland Airport, listening to live music entertainment! (I think that I’ll post the video I took in another post – it’s amusing!)

So, having time on my hands I decided to play with the Pro HDR app again. There is a steady stream of people walking by so I thought hmmmmm, wouldn’t it be nice to get a longer exposure and see them as a blur?

I decided that it would be fun to see how long of an exposure I would get with this HDR app, and wondered if that movement would translate well into the picture:

Portland Airport - HDR with Movement

Portland Airport – HDR with Movement

I am pleased with the outcome! In fact, I have a few apps that have “longer shutter speed” so that you can get longer exposure times out of your phone, and I feel like Pro HDR did a better job of that than the apps that I have which are specifically designed to do that.

To be fair, I have not tried out those long exposure apps with night time exposures – just daytime, so before I write them off completely, I have a bit more experimenting to do.

For now, it’s Pro HDR for my long exposure needs.

Day #8 – A Photo A Day 2013

HDR is an aspect of photography that has intrigued me for quite some time now, and I am finally beginning to dabble in it a bit with my SLR.
Although I haven’t had the results that I have hoped for, I continue to experiment and I am not going to give up until I get the results that I am striving to achieve! Perhaps I need to read more on the subject.

Just a few days ago, I came across an app for my iPhone that claims to do the HDR work for you, so I decided to give it a go based on a plethora of good reviews.

Here is the result of my first experiment:

HDR Experiment

HDR Experiment

The app is Pro HDR and it is really easy to use. Set your phone on a stable surface or attach to a tripod and it does the bulk of the work – first it analyzes the light/shadow in the room, and then it takes two pictures to layer. That process takes around 20-30 seconds – that’s just an estimate as I didn’t actually count how long it took to finish.

Once the processing has finished, you then have the opportunity to adjust various levels of the picture: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Warmth and Tint. Beyond that, there are also crop, frame, text and filter options to add to your photo.

It’s easy to use, and I think that it’s an app that I will be apt to use very often which means that I am going to have to invest in a Joby tripod! 😉

Day #7 – A Photo A Day 2013

At the risk of seeming redundant, today’s pic is another one that I snapped with my iPhone the morning of January 1st.

My mother-in-law has a nice garden which supplied endless opportunity to capture shadows against the morning sky. This pic didn’t start out quite as vivid, so I helped it along a little in Photo FX – my go-to app for photo editing on my iPhone and iPad.

I darkened the shadows a bit and added a layer of color to the sky to make the shadows pop a bit more to my liking, and I’m happy with the result.

Suquamish Sunrise on Jan. 1, 2013

Suquamish Sunrise on Jan. 1, 2013

Day #3 – A Photo A Day 2013

Since I moved to San Francisco I could not help but notice the plethora of art sculptures scattered near my neighborhood… I suspect that I have barely scratched the surface of just how many public works of art there are, and I am very excited to discover and document as many as I can.

One of my favorites that I pass often is Seasons of the Sea ‘Adrift by John Roloff. There is a plaque near the structure that reads, “This glass ship is an art work that refers to the natural and geological history of California. Sediment gathered from the ocean floor four miles off the coast of San Francisco was placed inside in 1993. This sediment contains diverse mineral and organic matter extracted from the landscape by the rivers that flow to the sea through the Golden Gate. The greenhouse environment of the ship interacts subtly with these materials producing ongoing natural cycles of growth, decay and rebirth.”

I visit Yerba Buena Gardens quite a bit, and I always make sure that I stop to admire the sculpture and nearby fountain.

At night, it is lit up with green light, which is a nice contrast to the purplish blue lighting of a building that is just to the SE.

Seasons of the Sea 'Adrift at night.

Seasons of the Sea ‘Adrift at night.

Unfortunately my iPhone did not pick up the intensity of the color of the clouds that were prevalent that night. Lights from the city were reflecting off of the low clouds, and the sky looked textured with orange and black.

During the day, “Seasons” is quite impressive as well, it’s bow jutting out from the concrete, living plants contained within. (perhaps a daytime photo for another post!) It’s a piece that I find to be quite contrasting with the area it’s been placed in, and perhaps it’s all the more at home there rather than bayside where it might have blended into the landscape more instead of surprising you.