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Japan Photos: The Last Fall

The last fall IMAGE, that is. At least for this year. With temperatures dropping below freezing for several nights in a row, Winter is definitely ready to make its entrance. Wind and rain have hastened the dropping of the last remaining leaves from the trees around our neighborhood. Goodbye Autumn. You were so lovely.

A few interesting notes on this image (yes, this is a photography post, not a Japan or ministry post).

It is an intentional double exposure. This is literally one of the last photos of Autumn I took this year. After taking thousands of photos Autumn leaves, I have to admit, it gets tiresome. That’s not Autumn’s fault. That’s the fault of a photographer who gets lazy with the creative process and shoots the same image of the same subject over and over. By this time, I realized I needed to try something different, so I began to experiment. Experiment with focus, with camera movement, with new angles. And finally, multiple exposures. Yes, it is nice to let the beauty of nature speak for itself sometimes, but you can also lend some God-given creativity to the process. You might be surprised.

It sat around untouched for nearly two weeks before I noticed it. I had so many beautiful shots from that day, I never even gave this shot a second look. When I had reviewed it quickly in my camera, it had not seemed like anything special to me. It was only when I opened it up and really checked the details that I realized this shot was special. In the creative process, don’t be too hasty with your work. Look closely at the details, post-process the image to its strengths, and see what materializes. And even if you reject an image once, give it a second a chance a week or two later. Perhaps your perspective will have changed.

Of all my Autumn images, this one captures my feelings of the season best. That’s a difficult thing to say because I have taken so many lovely images of Autumn here in Japan. Everywhere you turn, you see the beauty of Autumn, from mountains bursting with fall color to gardens punctuated with strategically planted momiji to the bicycle path on the street outside our front door where autumn leaves fall into a clear stream full of koi. In this image, my intent was to layer the familiar colors and shapes of Fall in an almost abstract way. Like looking through the Autumn leaves at the Autumn leaves. Unlike many of my other images, I also subdued the brashness of the color, deadened it, as a reminder that Autumn, like every season, also must come to an end. Compared to some of my other fall images, it might even seem a bit drab color-wise. But that too is part of Autumn.

With Autumn gone, I can now turn my attention to capturing the feel of Winter here in Japan. What will I find that defines Winter in our city and in the great metropolis of Tokyo? Let’s find out together!

Autodesk Design Night

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Full disclosure: I currently work as a part-time consultant for Autodesk and I worked as a full-time regular employee for many years before that. So yes, I’m a bit biased toward what I believe is a fantastic company, both to work for and for what they are contributing to the world. Biased or not, you should check out Design Night at least once and make your own decision about it.

One of the events I look forward to each month is Design Night, an event sponsored by Autodesk and hosted in the incredible Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco, which is a treat in and of itself. Design Night dives into various aspects of how creativity and design are impacting our world in the areas of art, engineering, fashion, architecture, you name it. Autodesk is not a household name, but its products our used to create much of what we see around us everyday: buildings, cars, household objects and even the special effects for movies, TV and video games. So it makes a lot of sense that Autodesk would host Design Night, given they have customers working in almost every conceivable field of the design world.

Design Nights are organized around a theme, from fields of technology, science and recently, even fashion. A well-known celebrity from that particular field presents on their work. One of the more popular speakers recently was Leo Villareal, the artist who created the beautiful Bay Lights artwork using the western span of the Bay Bridge. But Design Night is about interaction, so there are a few tables set up around the Gallery where participants can make something: LED jewelry, a clock made from recycled LP records or tree trunks, even homegrown oyster mushrooms!

Of course, no party would be complete without food and entertainment. There’s an open bar all evening, serving standard drinks and usually a special creation chosen based on the theme of the night. Catered food has ranged from Thai to Mexican to California fusion and is also complementary (until it runs out). A DJ spins theme related beats to set the mood.

And then, of course, there is the company of participants. Many of the Bay Area’s most brilliant and creative minded folk attend Design Night regularly. On nights I have attended or worked at Design Night (as a photographer or table volunteer), I have met authors, architects, fashion designers, and even a guy who worked in Information Technology at the Federal Reserve across the street (“Stressful work I bet.” I asked him. He just shrugged.).

Tickets to Design Night tend to sell out fast, sometimes within days of the event being advertised, so you’ll have to make a quick decision if you intend to go. Don’t forget the ticket includes food, drink, and anything you can make on that evening, so it’s actually quite a bargain if you fully participate. To receive information about future Design Nights, get on the Design Night mailing list.

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Making a clock out of recycled wood at Autodesk Design Night.

A model from Melange at the Designista! Design Night.

Playing with the body controlled ball maze in the Autodesk Gallery.

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