Serious photography was something picked up to better chronicle my baking experiments. Unfortunately talent in this area is still very much in wanting since I have progressed little in the last seven years. Money has been invested to learn all the technical know-hows but photography is really more of an art than a science; without a keen eye it is really quite a lost cause.
Usually my skills improve by leaps and bounds after a vacation, especially a markedly long one extending more than two weeks. The reason cannot be simpler: with the camera by one’s side 24/7 and with ample practice, one is bound to discover new arena. Even so, I have noticed a stagnation in recent years, with no idea how to progress thenceforth.
The recent trip to Central Japan was an eye-opener in more ways than one: H and I found that we have developed sustained interest in the country to want to explore every single corner of it, and that Japan has a noticeably large number of elderly serious photography hobbyists. At the Shiroyama View Point, I shamelessly followed a group of three elderly photographers instead of queueing for a tripod spot at the official view point because I thought they would know the area much more intimately than tourist photographers. And at a small knoll above the remote village of Ainokura, yet another local elderly photographer took me under his wing for the short transition from day to night. I must have looked lost because despite the language barrier (my Japanese has reduced to a shockingly dismal level after stopping lessons for a year), he was trying his utmost to impart some working knowledge of snow photography in the night.
I acquired new knowledge that evening. It was a very humbling encounter that provided me with the breakthrough I had unknowingly been searching for. For this very reason, I will forever be in the debt of this quirky old man who quite forcibly made me change spots because he didn’t like my initial choice. Judging by the end result, he was quite right to do so.