My Adventures in Japan

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I went over to Japan initially for a small trip to work out some paperwork but it turned into being a 4 month trip of creative opportunities. My brother, Jon Levy, recorded an album while I was back home in Japan, and I was recruited as the cameraman. I did all the photography and video work for the album and ended up going to the studio everyday, watching the whole project come together. It was fascinating to witness, and an honor to be the visual historian of the project.

So I'm back in Melbourne, Australia again and l have a lot to share with you guys. Photos and thoughts I haven't released to the world yet! So in the upcoming weeks there will be posts sharing some of my experiences from this latest trip to Japan. Here is the first one for you.


The last week I was in Japan, Jon and I did a few photo shoots before I left. In my mind we were celebrating what we'd accomplished in the last couple months as well as preparing ourselves to part ways for a time. One of the photo shoots we did was out in the forest near our childhood home in the mountains of Shiga.

It was a new and different type of shoot for me since it was the first time I used off-camera flashes and took time to mess around with lighting setups. It was a fun time of experimenting with different lighting techniques but it also produced some pretty neat photos. I had two speed lights setup on stands and used some wireless triggers to use them as portable strobes. So I was experimenting with three light sources. The sun, and my two flashes. It was just coming up on dusk when we started the shoot, so I got some really interesting different light throughout the next couple of hours. Here are four of some of my favorite shots. I may upload a few more from this shoot later on.


I'm especially proud of the lighting on this one, and the backlight that outlines his left side.

Gold Antiques - A Portrait of Luke Fujii

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Let me tell you the story of how I met my friend Luke. We were 3 years old and I'm in the sand pit pretending to be a dinosaur, when the new kid pounces onto my back. In the process of jumping on top of me he also used my head as a bit of a crutch, resulting in my face suffocating in the sand. I can't recall whether he got tired of drowning me, or if a teacher came along and pulled him off. Luke, my now longtime friend, doesn't recall any of this. Probably because it wasn't traumatising on his end of things. Despite our interesting first interaction with each other, we still ended up being the best of friends.


Luke, like myself, grew up as an international kid always in different parts of the world, so it's very rarely we get to see each other. Luckily our schedules have collided and we're currently both back in Japan. Naturally we've met up. While we roamed the city we grew up in, I had my camera in hand taking photos along the way. We wandered down into the depths of an antique shop. Little did we know how awesome the place was. I unfortunately didn't take any photos inside the store but I did get a few on the way down. One of the reasons I love this shot is the lighting. The mix of the warm backlight and the smidgen of natural light from the doorway creates a really interesting contrast between the background and Luke. Not to mention the cool stairway that makes this shot a lot more interesting.

One thing I've always struggled with is color. It usually takes me some time to make my mind up on whether I prefer the monochrome or color versions of a photograph. I guess I couldn't quite decide with the next images so I'll show you both. Let me know which you prefer, color or B/W? Don't forget you can click on the images to see a fullscreen version of each photo.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed!

-Daniel Levy

Exploring Kyoto

Since being back in Japan I have spent most of my days out walking the streets of Kyoto. Sometimes with friends, sometimes on my own, but always accompanied with my camera. Even though I grew up in Kyoto there are always new hidden gems to find in this beautiful city. It's been great to just wander the city with no direction. Here are just a few photos from the other day I was out in Kyoto.

I will be getting a roll of film back tomorrow. Not sure how they'll turn out but I'm hoping my thumb doesn't make an appearance in any of the photos. I will try to post some of the photos, that is if they turn out all right. Still unsure whether the camera was working 100% so we'll see how the photos look tomorrow. Anyway thanks for reading, and I've got some new and exciting things happening in the future. So keep checking back for more things soon!


-Daniel Levy

Today, I Shoot Film

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I remember as a kid my parents would let me shoot the final few photos on a roll occasionally. I remember taking hours planning out what I wanted to shoot. I also remember the days of disposable cameras. Oh how I went through those.  So what has sparked this sudden emergence into the 35mm format again, you ask? I will tell you, good sir and ma'am. My parents have had extra rolls of film laying around the house for years, so I thought I might help clean up the place a little. 

I'm pretty excited about shooting film again. I love the slower pace of shooting and being a lot more methodical about composing shots. Also I love not being able to chimp! For those of you who haven't heard the term chimping, here's the definition. 

"Chimping is a colloquial term used in digital photography to describe the habit of checking every photo on the camera display immediately after capture." -The always reliable wikipedia...

Not being able to check my photos as I take them just adds another layer of suspense to photography.  Who doesn't love getting film developed and being shocked to see how many times your thumb is in the frame. In all honesty though I love the patience that comes with 35mm film.

Some of the film set up next to the Nikon EM. One of the two 35mm SLR's I'll be shooting.

I'm planning on going down to Kyoto and doing some street photography with all of these old new toys. So what are my new old toys, you ask again?  I'll be shooting on a Nikon EM with a Nikon E Series 50mm 1.8 lens and a Nikon F60 with a Koburn 28mm 2.8 Lens. I have some 400 B&W film in the EM, and some Super HGV 400 Fuji Color film. All the film is expired though so who knows how they will develop, it could lead to some cool photos. I'll also bring my Canon 7D along just in case. I'll try not to be tempted by the ways of chimping.

 In celebration of shooting film again I've taken a few photos with my iPhone using VSCOcam. If you haven't heard VSCO, they recreate old film for the digital age with presets for different photo editing software. They also have a pretty sweet iPhone app. So if you want to get some cool film effects on your phone, go get yourself VSCOcam! It's free and comes with a few filters, but you can always buy more if need be. VSCO is an awesome company though, and I am taken their design style. They also have a fairly new photo portfolio called Grid which is really rad. I got my code recently so you can check out my iPhone photography up there. Just go to  to see all my VSCO goodness!

From left to right ; Nikon F60 with a 28mm 2.8 lens, Canon 7D with a 35mm 1.4 lens, Nikon EM with a 50mm 1.8 lens.

Lets get ARTSY!  I got this washed out effect by using the flash on the iPhone and putting a tissue over the flash to diffuse it a tad. Also gave it this blown out effect.

Love this ilford box.

The backside of the box

Thanks for reading and I'll try to post some of the film shots whenever they get developed. 


-Daniel Levy

Meeting with an Old Friend and PIZZA!

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I'm back in my home country at the moment, Japan. Since being back I've been meeting up with old friends who I haven't seen for aeons. It's been great reminiscing about years past with 'em again. Just recently I met up with an old school mate of mine. It was great catching up and hearing what's been going on in his life. Not much has changed though. We're both still the same kids that went to school together. Just with a taller perspective of the world, and a little more stubble on our faces. One thing has changed though, his hair! He had recently just got his hair dyed so I hadn't seen his new do. It was RAD! Loved the look, and instantly wanted to take some portraits of him and his mane. We walked by this little pizza place and decided to check it out. It was a pretty neat little hole in the wall place. Ended up eating there and taking some photos of the joint. So here they are!

The sticker on the hot sauce says "やべー" which roughly translates to danger!

Everything on the menu was super cheap. Most expensive pizza was 
¥530 which is around $5.00. Granted they aren't giant but they tasted good and only cost a fist full of change

Tiny place as you can see, but I liked how claustrophobic it was. The next two photos of my friend I got a little carried away and pretty much transformed into my paparazzi form. Don't think he approved of my stalking ways, but the photos turned out good.

So there you are, more photos! Hope you enjoyed and I'll be posting more in the future. Check back soon!

-Daniel Levy

Blues and Orange, Portrait of a Street Performer

I had a few minutes to spare before I headed home so I thought I might as well walk down to the river and see if there were any interesting characters to photograph, and found this guy. Perfect place to play with fire as you have a whole river to put yourself out if needed. Unfortunately I wasn't able to stick around to watch this pyromaniac eat fire but I love how this photo turned out. The contrast between the blue and orange really makes this image for me. Not to mention the glow from the fire that illuminates the ground looks very cool.

Just wanted to share this photo with you all. I should probably mention that this wasn't edited. The colors are natural and aren't boosted with instagram filters or anything like that. There really is nothing more satisfying than exposing a shot perfectly in camera.

-Daniel Levy

Street performer on the bank of Kamogawa River in Kyoto.

Adorable Lemur Babies

My sister, Anita Levy loves animals, and so do I. So on Christmas day 2012, we decided to head off to the zoo and celebrate. May seem like a strange thing to do, but we weren't the only people there. It was an overall fun day and a great way to celebrate the holidays with family. The highlight of the trip though were definitely the baby lemurs. They were amazing to watch, and not to mention adorable and tiny. I took some video of it and rather than having it sit in the depths of my hard-drives, I decided I might as well share it with the world! This has potential to go viral, I mean its filled with cute animals. So go, share it! Show your friends and families, post it on facebook, tweet it to your followers! Send it to someone and brighten their day!

Asking Strangers to Model - Street Portraiture

The Photo

The other day I came across a lens I had been curious about for some time now. I decided to try it out and instantly fell in love. Came out of the shop with a lighter wallet but my creative mind a little richer. I have been waiting for a lens like this, to challenge myself to do some intimate street photography. Guess it's time to get uncomfortable and awkward out in public.


There are so many different street photographers out there. So many different styles, and ways to approach people. Some are very aggresive with their street photography like photographer Eric Kim. Others take time to compose the shot and have people pose like the NY based photographer The SarorialistSo I decided to finally get out of my comfort zone and go try my own style.


I waited for the sun to start to set and headed to downtown kyoto. I ended up walking down the amazing little alleyways near Sanjo for an hour. One of my favourite places to go is down these little streets. The lanterns illuminate the path down these narrow streets, showcasing the neat little shops, cafes, and bars. I found the perfect backdrop to do some portraits with some incredible backlight. I found the spot, now I just needed a face. So I waited, and waited.  I stood for half an hour while tourists and locals glanced at me with strange looks. Then, this Japanese Ojisan walked by in front of me. Before I caught him, he had disappeared into a bar. I was bummed. He was exactly the person I wanted for this shot. He came out 5 minutes later with a sign and spotlight for the bar he had just entered. Not only did he work at the bar I had been standing in front of for 30 minutes but he also lit himself perfectly for the photo. WAS IT DESTINY?


I turned the corner and asked him if I could take his photo. He was confused and didn't quite understand what this 6 foot 3 white man was saying to him in Japanese. I repeated myself and he half understood what I wanted. I told him where to stand, and lined him up. Stepped back, took 5 photos and before I could check whether the photos turned out alright, he was off. Back to work or something. I quickly chased after him and thanked him. Didn't have a chance to check out the photos till he had disappeared into the darkness of the bar. Luckily, I had been planning this shot and exposing it for the last 40 minutes. I had captured my perfect shot for the day.  

I will be honest. It was a little scary approaching someone, and asking if I could take their photo. Especially when they happen to be a grey haired uncommunicative bartender. Getting out of my shell and just pushing myself payed off though. I believe this is the beginning of some great new photos from me. I will be challenging myself and going out as much as possible doing these street portraits.


There are some incredible characters out there. People I have always wanted to shoot. I've been compelled with portraiture for sometime now, but never really had the urge to hire models or ask friends to pose for me. I think there is something magical about walking the streets and finding interesting characters. The people dressed up just as they are make such interesting subjects. As much as I would welcome working in the fashion industry with photography, I do think there is something compelling about seeing people with the clothes and styles they choose for themselves.  


-Daniel Levy


Here is the spot I stood waiting for 30 minutes. You can see the sky is a lot lighter here then the final photo.