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Food Photography shoot with Sab and Chisa

A few weekends ago I had a food photography shoot with fellow bloggers Sab from Sabatomic and Chisa from Chigarden.  I had never done food styling before and had wanted to do a shoot together with these 2 for a while.  We finally managed to get a free weekend where we all weren’t busy and spent the day making cupcakes from scratch and styling them for the shoot.

Sabrina has been taking photos of food and has been styling her shoots for a lot longer than I have so seeing how she works was a real eye opener.  With many props provided from both Chisa and Sab we managed to get a variety shoots utilising most of the natural light and creative critique from everyone to get the best shots we could on the day.

Besides taking photos I shot behind the scenes and made a BTS video so you can see what work is required when shooting food photography.

Thanks goes to Sab from her great tips and advice on food photography as well as Chisa for letting us use her house as our personal studio and cudos to both for their advice and creative critique on the day :).

Rainbow Make up Impromptu shoot

Last weekend I was invited to a photo shoot organised by aLauren Payne, an MUA (make up artist) I had wanted to work with.  Initially it was just to catch up and talk briefly about availability and make up styling, but at the last minute I decided to take part in the group shoot.  The theme was “rainbow” and most of the looks were incredibly colourful, dramatic and overtop, which was exactly the kind of look that I needed.  I arrived quite late in the day so I quickly setup some basic lighting and grabbed all the models who weren’t busy and did some quick close up beauty shots.  Heres some shots from the day, thanks to all the models and make up artists who took part in all this and we’ll see you next time 🙂

SAM IN JAPAN FINAL: STOP OVERS AND SINGAPORE

So after a wonderful stay in Yakushima we took the Jetfoil (ferry boat) to Kagoshima and briefly stayed there for 2 days and spent our time just eating and relaxing.  After our short stay we flew back to Tokyo for a couple of days, making trips to the Tsukiji fish market in the morning and some last minute shopping before hopping on a plane to jet to Singapore for 10 days to see friends and family.

Singapore was great besides the hot and humid weather, we visited all the relatives we hadn’t seen in years and had a good time catching up with the entire family.  Alot of the time was also spent shopping, eating and checking out all the new attractions Singapore had to offer, such as Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands shopping centre.  I didn’t enjoy the Marina Bay Sands shopping much as it wasn’t really wasn’t up my alley but the interior was very nice with an open glass design with several storeys of shops, an indoor ice rink and mini gondola rides around an indoor fountain.  It was nice to look at but I don’t think I’ll be going back there again anytime soon.

Gardens by the Bay on the other hand was a whole different story.  We started at the Cloud Forest, a gigantic green house that was filled with all different types of flora which included an indoor waterfall and several other water features along with an educational theatre and media centre explaining a little about the park and giving information about environmental awareness.  We also stopped by the Flower dome (another greenhouse) which was equally impressive with flowers from all over the world all categorised by their environment and also enjoyed the easter themed decorations through out parts of the garden.

Besides the domes there are other attractions around the park and also be sure to hang around when nightfall hits as the park lights up like a forest out of AVATAR.

I also managed to catch up with a friend who took me out to see Dempsey Hill, a popular area occupied by small boutique shops, art galleries, cafes, restaurants and more.  Known for it’s lux dining it had a hip culture feel to it with a majority of the visitors being young men and women in their early 20’s to late 30’s.  Definitely take some time to stop over by this place especially if you are partial to cool cafes, some ritzy dining and arty bits an bobs.

Besides Dempsey Hill my friend took me to all sorts of other places like art exhibitions, cool cafes, popular night spots and what not and just generally showing me all the sights Singapore had to offer.

Singapore is definitely a place where no matter how many times I go I can always go back for more and I’m glad that the trip ended with this being our last stop.  Well that wraps it up, hope you enjoyed my little adventure posts and I hope they have helped you with any future plans to visit Japan or just enjoying the posts themselves.  Next week it’ll be something different so until then ;).

SAM IN JAPAN: KOYASAN

Koyasan is located about roughly 2 hours away from Osaka in the Wakayama prefecture area.  Most popular for it’s temple stays and the moss graveyard it is a place that was on my definite to do list whilst in Japan.  After a very scenic train ride most of the day was spent visiting local shrines and checking out the local delicacies and such.  After a quick walk around town we headed towards the ‘Oku no In’, a moss covered graveyard which is a popular tourist attraction.  At first I was a little scared about heading into the graveyard but once you get there it is nothing less than spectacular.  Granite tombstones covered in beautiful dewy moss, lines of little statues wrapped in bright red scarfs amongst the gigantic forest trees was truly an experience I won’t soon forget.

Around 6.00pm after we finished at ‘Oku no In’ we arrived at our accommodation for the night, a temple stay, and  had a soak in the their public bath house.  Since we were staying at a temple the monks only prepare vegetarian meals for dinner, this was not an issue as I had heard the meals at the temple stays were quite delicious.  Soon after we had settled in there was a knock at our door and several monks came in bearing trays of food for each individual.  There were 3 trays to each person each with an array of small tofu and vegetable based dishes placed neatly one after the other.  After the trays were set the monks described each dish and left us to enjoy the food.  The dinner was amazing especially their sesame tofu which I thought was the highlight of the meal.  A rich luscious firm tofu with a hint of sweetness and tones of sesame through out it with a side of their seasonal vegetables and locally made pickles was a treat.

During the night time there isn’t much open as many of the establishments close by about 9.00pm.  So most of the night was spent relaxing and just winding down after the long day.

The next morning we packed our things and made our way around before we headed towards the bus stop to go to the station.  We had missed an earlier bus so we decided to walk there instead as it didn’t seem that far.  We took a detour and in the end hiked down the mountain all the way to the train station which took at least 1 ½ hours, although we were walking at a very slow pace.  The hike was quite enjoyable but if you do decide to go down this way best to wear proper foot wear and to not go alone as the paths can be a little tricky and there isn’t anyone around so be careful.

Well that’s all for Koyasan for this week, next week’s post will be on Yakushima Island.  The place that inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s film “Princess Mononoke”.

SAM IN JAPAN: KYOTO AND OSAKA

Kyoto and Osaka was a very quick stop over trip.  About 3 days were spent in Kyoto and 1 day was spent in Osaka, at this point I met up with the family and the rest of the trip in Kyoto was spent visiting all the local shrines, eating the local food and visiting Gion, Japan’s most famous Geisha district.  Kyoto is one of my most favourite places to visit, there is not as much hustle and bustle as Tokyo or Osaka and it possesses the lovely charm of traditional Japanese buildings which are more prominent here than anywhere else that I have been to in Japan.  Whilst I was in Kyoto I managed to make some time to visit the Manga Museum, which for any avid manga enthusiast is a definite must.  There is a long history of manga presented in the museum along with artist exhibitions scattered amongst the different rooms inside and not to mention all the manga you can possibly read.  Note that most of the manga is in Japanese so if you can read Japanese be prepared to put in at least a whole day if you want to catch up on those books you can’t get access to.

Osaka was predominantly eating since we had to leave for Koyasan the next day.  We stayed on the bustling street Dotonbori, known for its night life, shopping and food.  The street is very popular with tourists since the street is lined with shops, restaurants and mechanised signs which is a sight to see, especially at night time when the street lights and neon signs light up.  There’s a lot food places along this street that offer up many Japanese favorites such as  ramen, gyoza, takoyaki and also is home to a very popular restaurant called Kanidoraku Honten which specialises in crab cuisine dishes.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to eat at the crab restaurant as the wait to get a table was about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, so if you do plan to go, make reservations in advance.  On a final note I had the best egg tarts I’ve ever tasted in my life!  The bakery that sells them is called Lord Stow’s Bakery and stick with the original tarts as they are the cream of the crop (in my opinion).

That’s all for this week be sure to check out next week’s post on Koyasan.

SAM IN JAPAN: SHIRAKAWAGO

Shirakawago is a small town located in the CHUBU region and is famously known for its traditional thatched houses.  Shirakawago is not accessible via trains so you must catch a bus from Takayama in order to access the town.  I had planned to stay the night as I had wanted to experience a “farmhouse stay” for quite some time.  The town is small and from what I could find there was only one bus doing a circle route about the town.  Since the town is quite small  you can easily walk to where you need to go as long as you don’t mind a little foot work.  The local tourist centre is at the bus stop and the maps are in English making tourist spots and accommodation places easy to find.

I made my way to my accommodation after a brief 20 minute walk from the main bus stop and was greeted by the hosts who quickly escorted me to my room.  They explained a couple of the sites to see and things to do in the town as well as some of the rules and brief history about their establishment.  Most of the tourist spots focus on the history of the town, how the town was built, the architecture of the buildings as well as old antiques of what the people used decades ago.  You can stroll around and see several souvenir shops specialising in their local craft work, hats, footwear and other nick nacks and also many little shops which are literally just a window that offer snacks such as dango (a rice cake covered in a sweet salty sauce) and croquettes.

After covering most of the town and checking out the top view from a nearby look out peak (which was a bit of a hike for me) I made my way back to my accommodation and decided to rest up until dinner.  Around 6.30pm dinner was served and I got to meet the rest of the occupants staying at the accommodation.  After a little light dinner conversation we received our meals and tucked into the lovely home cooked meal provided around the wooden hearth.  Shortly after dinner I decided to visit the local bathing house to end the evening with a nice hot soak.  Since my accommodation was quite a distance from the bath house it took at least 15 mins to walk there.  It being a country town it was a little dark and quite quiet so on my way to the bath house it got a little scary so if you do decide to visit the bathhouse (which I highly recommend), try to find accommodation in the central part of the town or quite close to the bath house.  After the heavenly soak I made my way back to the house and tucked myself away for the night into the nice warm futon.

The next day I checked out after breakfast and did a few more laps around the town, taking photos and seeing the sites till it was time to catch the bus back to Takayama.  Overall my stay in Shirakawago was interesting.  It was good to see the village, learn about it’s history and experience a night’s stay in one of the “gasshou zukuri” houses.  I think the best time to go would be during the summer or winter seasons, I went whilst it was during the transition from winter to spring so everything was in a sludgy mess.  This place really shines during the winter period (according to photos I’ve seen) whilst still enjoyable I think if you decide to visit Shirakawago best to make it during the winter when the snow is falling.

I hope you enjoyed that post on Shirakawago.  Next week it’s Kyoto and Osaka until next time :)J

Sorry for no posts lately guys

Hey guys, just a quick update, as the post title says sorry for not posting for a while guys.  I’ve made the move back to Perth from Melbourne and have had many shoots as well as organising my Japan holiday in 2 days time.  I hope to update this page regularly once I get my data SIM of what I’m getting up to in Japan so please bear with me and hopefully if all goes well you’ll see more posts on the blog of my adventures in Japan.  As penance for me not updating I’ll be posting more frequently in the next coming 4 weeks as I adventure to Japan for 3 and Singapore for 1.  Will hear from me again soon and again sorry for the lack of posts 😦


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