our last full day in hokkaido ended with a return to a small fishing port. whilst most of the others were off photographing the fishing boats, cynthia and i had a mad love affair with the light on the water.
we’re off to kiwiburn today, catch up with you when i get back.
two weeks ago | i was sitting eating a japanese-style breakfast from the buffet of my hotel room, looking out over tokyo; i was sitting on the tokyo metro, whizzing my way towards a park where i could stretch my legs before meeting up with friends – fernando & family, david, cynthia, daniel – for a quick shopping trip in ginza; there were friends i hadn’t met yet – a second trip to hokkaido still in my future.
today | it already feels like lifetimes ago as i return to the exquisitely ordinary: unpacking winter and doing laundry, scrubbing the bath tub, making to-do lists and grocery lists, pulling weeds from the garden,watching the light change as the skies clear, preparing for kiwiburn whilst in a little bit of a jet-lagged fog, contemplating breakfast options whilst thinking about the gorgeous breakfast buffet at our final hotel in hokkaido.
i’ve been thinking a lot recently about barefoot mapping – a term that briony penn introduced me to at the DO lectures in 2013 when a group of us created our own barefoot map of an area at Campovida.
before i met her, it’s something i’d been thinking about myself since beginning to travel and experience new places; not specifically with any kind of ecological agenda, more one of wondering if we ever truly know a place. people i know travel more than their parents and i now have friends all over the globe that i have met through our travels too. i love the experience of visiting new places and seeing new things, though i am also a firm believer that adventure doesn’t necessarily mean a trip to tokyo, or vancouver, or iceland, or anywhere else – adventure can be found in our very backyards and neighbourhoods if we make the time to seek it out.
how many of us have spent more time visiting places — or making photographs of — what we perceive as exotic and/or interesting and very little time documenting the truth of our immediate surroundings? i certainly am guilty of it.
the one camera, one lens project i undertook towards the end of last year was a way that i could map some of our own exquisitely ordinary story. a way to record small moments that make up the truth of my life.
and, whilst i will continue to travel and explore the world as much as i can, the mapping that i do of the days in-between the adventures, will continue to become closer-to-home adventures of their own.
Love says ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows.
― Nisargadatta Maharaj, from I Am That
reflections. hokkaido, japan
today i switched cameras with my friend Cynthia, giving both of us a new constraint.
i borrowed some filters off one of the guys who has the same camera and had a bit of a play around as i’m thinking about making a switch from one camera to another in order to lighten my load.
because i know my current camera so very well, switching to an unfamiliar one left me more than a little frustrated at times. but i like the size of the smaller camera – less fuss, less weight, just less.
i’m still undecided about whether or not to make the switch; there’s something about the colours of the images that i’m not convinced i like. more play is required.
tetrapods in the water, omu, hokkaido
these giant concrete structures are all along the coastlines up here as protection against the battering waves. today was not the first time we’ve had the opportunity to make photographs with these in them and i’m still struggling a little to figure out what i’m drawn to in these shapes and what it is i want to say about them. the guys have already made some fabulous images of them (like this one and this one) and, since none of us sees, feels or experiences the way anyone else does, i was trying to think about my relationship with them, their relationships to each other, and what it was i wanted to say.
i love this image because of the solitary tetrapod that has broken free and been washed away from the rest of the stack. it brings to mind (for me) the quote by Rilke that goes…
I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.
for me that means hanging out with people that are excited by things, curious, passionate, in love with life – it’s mystery, it’s grace, it’s blessed unrest. and i’m so very grateful that some of them are here.
pintail duck, kutcharo lake, hokkaido.
i’ve got three series of images that i’m playing around with on this trip. sometimes i feel like they are all coming together in a way that is meaningful to me and accurately portrays what it is i’m trying to say; other times it feels like i’m swallowing sand and it’s all been a waste of time.
my editing skills also leave a lot to be desired, so i need to do more work on this photograph to clean it up.
still, i came here to learn and that is quite definitely what’s happening!
taking flight, hokkaido, japan
the coastline here is wild and spectacular and we’ve had a great day exploring on the way to our next hotel.
one of the places we stopped had these huge windmills and, initially, i wasn’t really taken with them. but after wandering around for a bit and stopping to stare at them from a few different angles, i made a photograph that looked how it felt for me – wild, graceful, as if i myself could take flight if i spread my wings and faced the wind.
lucky cats, gotokuji shrine, tokyo
along with 17 other new zealand travel bloggers, i was invited to contribute my top picks for travel for 2015 – 1 local, 1 international.
international was easy: tokyo.
All the big city excitement of London, Paris or New York with a total cultural difference thrown in for good measure. It’s an extremely safe city and easy to get around on foot, by bicycle or via their incredible transit system.
It’s crowded but in a polite kind of way, the food is world class with everything from cheap eats to michelin starred dining and there’s a great mix of the traditional old Japan and new high-tech metropolis. History, culture, food, shopping – it’s all here.
and national? that was harder.
so many beautiful places i want to go back to now that i wield a camera slightly more creatively. but i finally decided upon taking a self-drive through the catlins.
Attractive for it’s remoteness, worlds away from life in the city, yet only an hour from the nearest airports. Wild coastlines, glorious forests and wildlife in abundance. The kind of place where you can breathe slower and deeper and have your fill of exploring, yet still leave wanting to go back again and again.
and tell me – where would you go?
there is something about this place that moves me and i’m struggling to define it in any way, even to myself
i have made a LOT of crap photographs already + a handful that don’t make me want to give up just yet
trying to find my rhythm and my voice, i feel like a pauper at a banquet – unsure of where to start but wanting to eat my fill in case it’s weeks before i eat again
up early to grab a quick breakfast then head north to hokkaido. we are out exploring for all of the daylight hours and i play around with some movement using my phone & a larger digital camera.
my skin is dry and i feel a bit like a lizard in need of some serious moisturising and if that’s all i have to worry about, i figure life really isn’t that bad!
the common areas of this evenings hotel are playing music that makes me feel a little like i’m trapped in a music box, and the public baths are so hot i only last about 10 minutes, but it feels very nice to have a soak after a full-on first day.
my travel companions are interesting, curious, daring and hilarious.
i’m full on in play / experiment / fun mode and loving being back here.