Sunday, March 8, 2015

Eighth

Let the fireworks begin to celebrate the 8th blogsary of totomai.net formerly known as Distilling Thoughts. Yes, for 8 years, I had at least one post per month and I hope to continue it for the coming years.

blogsary
Distilling Thoughts

a frozen stylus
webbed camera on the desk
an artist’s winter


illumination
a duet of clicks and quills
ideas of spring

summer memories
echoes of thousand shutters
autumn’s masterpiece


To celebrate this milestone, I joined a photo tour sponsored by Club Tourism held at Niigata Prefecture for the Ojiya Balloon Festival. This is one of the less popular festivals in Japan but it has its own following.

balloon

It is an air-balloon competition. Some participants came from other Japanese prefectures. Most of these balloons are colourful, a perfect contrast to the blue skies. Too bad that at some point it was very cloudy.

blownniigata10niigata04

This event is usually held during winter. The snow, as well as the blue skies, pops-out the colors of the balloons. Photographers, enthusiasts and participants should be more careful while enjoying the activities in a snowy landscape.

niigata13ojiya
blogsary
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Funny but almost everyone, especially the photographers, did not care about the cold temperature. For us, taking photos are more important than our health. I am kidding of course, but we are the crazy kind of hobbyists. Everyone wants to be in a good location to have a good view of the firework display. Not a fan of night photography, but thanks to Triggertrap for making it easier. 

niigata44
niigata43niigata23
fireworks

By the way, I made a short video of the event. In case you are interested, click here to watch the video.

As the artificial lights painted the skies, some of last year’s highlights started flashing in front of me. All of them, but limit it to seven only, deserved to be mentioned once again.  
  • Abu Dhabi - my first trip to the Middle East
  • Angola - my first to Angola
  • Selfie - my selfie photo won as runner-up in a photo contest here in Japan
  • Poetry - featured in Poets United
  • Book - published my first poetry book via blurb
  • Photos - my photos were used as a poetry prompt at DVerse
  • Hitachi Seaside Park - one of the most surreal places to visit  
Sorry for a lengthy post. To all who visited my site, you are all my inspirations for the past year -

Thank you very much!
Maraming Salamat!
Doumo Arigatou!

/totomai 
2015/03/08


Photos taken with Nikon D7000 

lenses used : 
     Nikkor 18-200mm 3.5f 
     Tamron 11-16mm 2.8f 
     Nikkor fish-eye 10.5 2.8f  
     Nikkor 105mm 2.8f

52 comments:

  1. Happy eighth anniversary Totomai! I look forward to another 8 years of your gorgeous work..

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    1. Thanks Jae. Hope I can continue to write :)

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  2. totomai, your eye is clear. it captures such beautiful colors, clearly

    gracias

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  3. Happy 8th Blogoversary, Totomai! You capture images in words and photos in every season. That balloon festival must have been wonderful to vierw and photograph. You have taken some excellent shots. Thanks for the summation of your year too, Totomai. It was indeed an eventful one with many highlights.

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    1. Thanks Mary but I think one of the highlights of my blogging life is being a part of Poets United. :)

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  4. nice step through of the seasons in your verse...and happy blogoversary...
    the pics of the balloons are awesome....i would love to go up in one
    and take a trip...

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    1. I really wanted to fly but I wasn't able to ask about the mechanics. Thanks Brian :)

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  5. Happy blogoversary Totomai ~ Love the colors of those balloons popping out from the cold winter white ~ I really enjoy these journey and different seasons through your lens ~ Thanks for sharing them ~

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    1. Salamat Grace. Yeah - I thought that's the reason why they held the event during winter, to give color to the surrounding

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  6. Congratulations! and what lovely photographs, amazing!!

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  7. 8 years.. what an amazing time.. I will soon celebrate my 3rd year I think.. those balloons really are beautiful in their colors.. very nice

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    1. Thanks Bjorn. I can't believe I reached this milestone. advance 3rd blogsary to you too

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  8. Happy bloganniversary, totomai. We are blessed and lucky to have you share your photos and poetry. To many more years!

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    1. Aww Gabriella. Thanks to you too. Hope to improve my photography and poetry

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  9. I love your haiku!! Autumn's masterpiece really catches my fancy.

    Wonderful balloon festival. And congratulations on your blog anniversary, way to go!!! I love to blog too, and love poetry. I have been blogging about the same amount of time as you.

    Happy day.

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    1. Cheers Jannie. woot 8 years! Blogging can take away stress brought by our daily routine

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  10. happy blog anniversary...what a cool festival...and some cool highlights you point out as well... it was an honor having you at dVerse as a guest..smiles

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    1. I really enjoyed that time Claudia. Hope I can write more and participate at DVerse

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  11. Happy Anniversary, Totomai and thank you for the color and beauty you add to our lives when we visit your blog. The balloon photos are spectacular. I especially wondered how you managed the one of the Black, blue, yellow and white balloon so close, against the mountain. From the houses' position in the photo, it looks like you were on ground level, yet given the depth of the photo, and the height of the mountain, it gives one the feeling you took it from a balloon. Really depthful work, as always, full of color.........I love your banner!!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Sherry. I think I tried 4-5 photos just for that banner lol.

      As for the photo, I used a zoom lens and I think the balloon just took off. Luckily too there's a photographer walking by :)

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  12. Many congrats and many more years to read your words and view your images....I love the idea of a balloon festival in snow....we need to do more of these...so much prettier.

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    1. And temporarily we can forget the cold weather lol. Thanks Donna

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  13. Congrats on 8 years. I have always wanted to go to a balloon festival. Thanks for sharing you wonderful photos.

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  14. I love the balloons, and loved your film. A friend took me up when I earned my doctorate--quite a present. It was twilight, there was champagne, the winds hugged us and played ancient music punctuated by dogs barking. SO then I went back and read your poem again and imagined seeing the photographer and his lens from above. Beautiful. Then I looked at your selfie and it was just the right angle! Congrats on your art and verse and 8th blog-versary.

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    1. wow thanks for sharing your air balloon memories. made me utter いいなー (iina - a japanese expression of i envy you in a friendly tone)

      thanks Susan - also for taking a peek of that video. i enjoyed making it.

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  15. How beautifully you captured the thrill of ballooning. But whatever you record on your camera is beautiful, Totomai!

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    1. Haha Thanks Robin. Because of that I will continue shooting :D

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  16. I love the balloons, so colorful and so much fun! Happy Blog Anniversary! Keep writing & taking photos. Smiles :)

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  17. Kudos on your 8 years of shooting, blogging and distilling thoughts, Totomai! Gorgeous pics of this wonderful event!

    Poppy

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    1. Thanks Poppy! im that old I guess lol

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  18. I love the distilled essence of haiku and other micropoetry ... and also love your balloon pics.

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    1. i liked oriental form of poetry. Thans Rosemary

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  19. stunning photos, as usual! loved those vivid colors. and yes, great video too with good choice of song!
    Congrats on your blog's 8th year, and congrats too on your selfie photo winning a runner up prize in a photo contest. it's not easy winning such contests in Japan, the land of Nikon and Canon and Pentax. :)

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    1. thanks Ds. i really wanted to share the link of the contest results but it's not available anymore.

      cameo is such a good video app

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  20. 8 years of blogging deserves a hearty congratulations!

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  21. What a wonderful achievements, Totomai! I like the fact that you're celebrating all of them with gratitude! And for us, your readers, such a contagious example! Happy 8th blogoversary! Keep up your radiant energy! ~ Love the colorful balloons and haiku!

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    1. Thanks humbird, because you all help me to keep this blog alive :)

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  22. Happy number eight, totomai! Love the air balloons. Am afraid of heights so deeply admire those who take part. Many years ago, an air balloon landed in a field across the road from the old farm house we lived in. It was fantastic to see and my kids couldn't talk of anything else for days afterward. Thank you for that memory,

    Elizabeth

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    1. I am afraid of heights too but I kept on pushing myself to try new things lol. Thanks for sharing your memories too Elizabeth

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  23. Eight years? Amazing. The words are fantastic and your photos make want to jump into my screen and join the fun. Congrats!

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    1. Feel freecto join the virtual event Magaly. Yes, 8 years haha

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  24. Happy 8 years to you, totomai!! These pictures are amazing! 'Ideas of spring', it's nice to smell spring in the air!!

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    1. Thanks Torie - we are all escaping winter

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  25. Great pics and great poems good sir.

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  26. Beautiful photos! :)

    www.intransitph.com

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any thoughts to distill?

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