Monday, August 2, 2010

Hamaorisai 2010 in Chigasaki

The Hamaorisai matsuri or festival takes place early in the morning around the middle of July on Southern Beach in Chigasaki, near Tokyo Japan. Over thirty mikoshi, some of which have been carried through the night from surrounding shrines arrive at the beach before sunrise. As the sun comes over the horizon around 5 am teams of men and women, some wearing just fundoshi loincloths and colourful towels around their heads take each of the mikoshi into the surf to purify them. This is a traditional ritual with ancient fishermen`s roots but the pain killing alcohol many have been consuming since the night before also make it a test of bravado and strength. the waves on this surfing beach can be big and each team try to challenge each other to see who can go further and deeper into the ocean. When this is over the mikoshi make their way back to the sand dunes behind the beach, lining up under long purple flags and bamboo boughs where they are blessed by white-robed monks in a traditional Shinto ceremony. That is the end of the matsuri and many of the supporters will wander along the beach and into town searching for friends and more alcohol. Some however will work their worn shoulder under the bars of the mikoshi again for one last challenge in the surf. (Source - Demotix)

I went with my co-first timers Tata and Rommel with second timers Jesslee and John. We stayed at John's place for the night but me and John didn't sleep. John made reservations for a taxi that will pick us up at 4AM. The taxi ride from John's place took about 25 minutes, but we arrived at the festival at around 4:45AM because it took us another 15 minutes to walk to the site.

This group was one of the first who went in to have their shrine purified not only by the sea but also by the first light of the real summer. I wanted the sunlight to hit the Mikoshi and I was happy that it came out like this.. I love the golden glow.. please also notice the mild glow in the water from the reflection.

I took this shot from the beach, I guess I was lucky that I got this clean without even going into the water. Hundreds of other photographers were there not to mention thousands of onlookers and the only way to get a good shot is to get into the water with them.

Here are the rest of the photos I took with the EF 50mm 1.4 on the 50D.

The Bayanihan Group Presents a Photo Exhibit for Charity

The Poster

The Philippines is a country of more than 94 Million people mostly living under the grueling grip of poverty. Once a nation considered as one of the best in Asia, now, this archipelago is in turmoil, pushed “face-down” deeper into the dirt because of its bad and corrupt government. Although, there is a promise of hope, a promise of change and development with its new President, its people who are mostly hungry, cannot help but wonder. When will their stomachs be filled? When will the promises be kept? Most of its best professionals fly out to other countries to seek greener pastures, their sense of nationalism, if not gone, thinned to almost nothing. They almost gave up on their country, after all, putting food on their family’s table is indeed a sensible priority – family first, country later.
The Bayanihan Group is made up of these said professionals, the same professionals who can only gaze the hardships of their country from afar, but the enlightened ones. Formed by the ties that make a Filipino family strong, the bonds of friendship that share the same passion, and with that passion, a desire to make a difference, the Bayanihan Group empower its members through the strength of being one. United we are strong. Realizing a need for change, the group tries to help even in its simplest and smallest way. To give.
For the second year in a row, it organizes a Photo Exhibit where most of the proceeds goes to charity. On August 11 – 15, 2010, at the 3rd Floor of Kawasaki River K Tower, Kawasaki Art Garden – Gallery 3, the Bayanihan Group presents “Bayanihan Photo Exhibit 2010” themed “The Beauty of Japan and the Philippines”.
This year, we have gathered more than 35 Filipino photographers, contributors who are willing to sell their best photos for a cause. The photos are printed in A3 and framed in a black metal frame with black matting.
More of a double purpose event, this exhibit not only aims to showcase the talent of Filipino photographers but it also projects the beauty of these two countries. But it doesn’t stop there, each photo tells a story on its own apart from the story that the photographer might tell. May it be a journey from poverty to a life in Japan, or it can be a tale of finding an identity amidst this “in your face, succeed or fail” culture of this extreme Japanese city of Tokyo. Whatever the story is, it is best told by the teller, by the photographer.
So join us in our cause. Lets help rebuild the Philippines. See the photos live. Listen to the stories. Come to the Bayanihan Photo Exhibit 2010.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Enoshima Beach Part 2

Okay.. so a lot has happened since my last input. Strong earthquakes, fireworks, sexy shoots.. and airsoft games. I promise to write about all these things but let me slide this in first. This is fresh and I am still overwhelmed by the fun and excitement of our weekend escapade.

On the last minute, on Friday night, August 14, 2009, our group of Photographers here in Tokyo planned to go to Enoshima to spend the weekend there. The initial plan was to meet up on the next day, Saturday, August 15, 2009 at around 3PM at Takase - Enoshima Station of the Odakyu Line and set-up tents near the beach, cook food (BBQ), drink beers, shoot and spend the night and go home the next morning. We did just that and it was awesome.

Me , my wife (Tata), Neri and Bernadette arrived at Enoshima at about 3:30PM, met John and set-up our camp on a camping site just above the beach. A very nice location to the right side of the East beach, just in front of the surfing area. The camp site was just perfect too, covered by soft grass instead of sand, it was neat and near to everything. The supermarket was just behind it, about 200 meters away, the toilet was even closer. Joey came at around 4:30PM followed by Sonny and Cesar.

More came later that night including Ningning and Margarita. It was hot, there were only a few clouds, about 28 degrees celsius with a cool breeze. I even tried to take a nap under the "still" harsh 5PM summer sun.

While they were cooking, I went to the beach and shot the sunset (yeah yeah.. I was trying to get away) and I was joined by Joey, it was her Mom's 6th death anniversary and he was taking shots of the sunset too as a dedication to her Mama. I didn't know 'til today, though, no wonder he was a little bit sad yesterday. "Joey, wherever she may be, I know that she is proud of you".

The night came and we didn't stop shooting, product shots with the city lights in the background - bokeh. Unfortunately, I didn't have my 50mm lens because I left it at the office so I was frustated with the bokehs from the 17-85mm lens of Tata's 50D.

Then, we gathered the girls for more shooting. The area was too dark and we only have portable lamps, so again, I was frustrated by the shot from the kit lens. I never missed the 50mm more, because it would have been awesome to shoot with its 1.8 aperture opening. More light and more DOF.

We stopped shooting when we realized that it was 4AM. Rested a little bit, then shot more at daybreak, the sun came as a "concerto pianist" accompanied by an orchestra of beautiful cloud formations that provided and inner glow of the best sunrise light I have ever seen, it was just "classical music" to my eyes.

We cleaned the campsite, packed and left at around 5:30AM, then we decided to have breakfast at Denny's at around 6AM, boarded the train at around 7AM and got home past 8AM. Showered, posted photos in the forum and at flickr, then slept like a baby and woke up at 5PM today.

So here it is, because I am still savoring our sweet summer escapade, I am writing it now.

Please see this last photo, my 65 entry to my 365 challenge at flickr. Taken at exactly 5AM.