MONO | West Hollywood, CA – The Troubadour (4/30/14)

One week later, I’m back at The Troubadour, this time for the post-rock band MONO. I took my micro 4/3rd camera with me to test out its low light capabilities, along with 2 prime lenses – the Olympus M Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 and the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II, and was able to get some decent close-up shots.

The four members quietly entered the stage, accompanied by a short outburst of cheers from the audience, then took their positions. The venue became dead silent, as they closed their eyes. With a deep breath, guitarist Taka began to play, taking us all on the emotional, cinematic journey known as MONO. Opening their set with “Yearning,” the song slowly transformed from a few sparse notes to a tumultuous raging storm. Suddenly, Taka leapt from his stool, knocking it over, then went for his pedalboard, as he held his guitar upside down, filling the place with feedback and distortion. Head down, he began beating his fist to the ground. I could feel the floor beneath me vibrating. It was, as the person next to me said, “Intense!”

The journey continued for a solid hour and a half, with no encores, the band (as well as myself) completely emotionally exhausted. As the members were packing up their equipment, they happily greeted anyone that approached them, taking photos and signing autographs.

More Photos on Flickr


  1. Yearning
  2. Dream Odyssey
  3. Pure As Snow
  4. Kanata
  5. Ashes in the Snow
  6. Halcyon
  7. Everlasting Light

Kiyoharu - Kuroyume at Zepp Tokyo -『地獄ノ三夜』live series - April 12th, 2014

Photo by 宮脇進 (via


Higher Than The Sun (by ***prismlight***)

(via shiroino)


Opeth @ Wellmont Theater (April 19, 2013)

5DMII w 24-70 2.8


The Japanese were always perfectionists, and fanatics for detail, going back hundreds if not thousands of years. Very much like the Germans, the previous dominant power in photographic equipment.

There was already a substantial Japanese camera and optical industry before WW2, but it was not well known outside of Japan. People in the rest of the world did not think anyone could really challenge the Germans in this area.

At the end of WW2, the German camera industry was in ruins, and worse, much of it was in the Eastern zone, dominated by Russia.

Japan was equally decimated, but a few small camera companies like Nikon, Canon and Asahi (later Pentax) rebuilt and were able to take advantage of trade agreements with the US to start exporting their products.

Canon copied the Leica almost exactly, Nikon combined the best features of the Leica and the Contax, and Asahi went off in a new direction, the SLR.

Nikon (and by extension the Japanese camera industry) got a big break in 1951, when photographers for Life Magazine stopped off in Japan on their way to Korea, and bought some Nikon lenses for their Zeiss Contax cameras. The resulting images were so sharp that they stunned the technical staff back in New York, and Nikon’s reputation was made, almost overnight. Asahi sold its first primitive SLR cameras through Sears, under the name “Tower Reflex”, a reference to the German Pentacon brand whose logo was a tower. Canon improved on the Leica design.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Zeiss was busy digging its grave, coming out with models that were either retreads of pre-war designs (Contax II), or wildly impractical and complicated new designs (Contaflex), all at extremely high prices. Leitz was able to retain its customer base with innovative designs (Leica M3), but Zeiss floundered, and the rest of the German camera industry  trapped behind the Iron Curtain, ceased to be a factor. The East German Zeiss factory did design the first modern SLR, the Contax S, but it was ridiculously unreliable, and when Asahi copied it and came out with the Pentax, the game was up.

Why I will never buy a Nikon.