Adventures in Japan: Kyoto with the Big Gun

Look!!! A personal blog post about our life in Japan. It’s been a while right!

I’ve been using Instagram instead of blogging. So you are welcome to follow our personal adventures and craziness there.  (http://instagram

And a confession…Our trip to Kyoto, Japan was the first time in over A YEAR that I actually took my big camera with my to capture personal moments. I know, I know. This is almost sinful for a professional photographer to rely so heavily on here Iphone. In my defense, my Canon 5d Mark II is heavy when coupled with my 24-70 2.8L lens. I normally spend most the time out and about in Japan carrying one, if not two children. So sadly, the big gun has stayed home. I hope to be a little better about taking it with us in 2014.

And I miss blogging personal posts. So I may be doing more of that too!

On to Kyoto. We drove to this lovely city in November. Most people take the fast train know as the Shinkansen.  But having our own vehicle so we can stop as often as our two and three year old may need is just easier for us. It was a lovely and easy drive from Yokota AB. And part of the adventure for us.

Once there we spent two days exploring all the amazing sites that Kyoto, Japan has to offer. The first day we explored on foot and by train. The second day we hired a driver. BEST DECISION EVER! Our driver, Masa, picked us up at our hotel and drove us to several different temples, shrines, and sites. He also guided us through the locations and gave us tons of facts that we would have otherwise missed without him.  If you want more information about these leave a comment and I will contact you.

Autumn in Japan is just breath taking!

Our first day in Kyoto Andy drove through a labyrinth of tiny Japanese roads to get us to the bamboo forest.  Seriously the roads were the size of sidewalks and filled with people. I was in hives as he safely piloted us to the one place in Kyoto I really wanted to visit. I would have turned the car around and given up but he was my hero and got us there.

Do you see this path below??? Taxis were actually driving up this path. Ridiculous.

People in Japan take their photography very seriously. And when coupled with the leaves, well watch out. Oh, and can you see the taxi in the middle of the sea of people. Oh Japan!

Sweet girl was exhausted from our first day of touring and no napping. The pacifier was a last ditch effort to keep her from losing her mind in public.

Our first stop on day two was to the Kinkaku-ji Temple.  

Then we headed to a Zen Garden. This was Andy’s favorite place.

Above you will see the zen garden. I dont really get it. 🙂

Below you will see my favorite place, the Fushimi Inari Shrine. 

Sadly, baby girl fell out of the van at our first stop of the day. She immediately got a goose egg on her head. Man I felt so horrible as I watched her fall.

This shrine has torii gates that go up the entire mountain. I seriously loved this place. The never ending torii gate path was magical.

Want to buy a torii gate in honor of a family member? It will only cost you $1750 for the smallest one. The largest will cost you $13,020.

Look what I stumbled upon?!?!?  Seriously I had to stop and creep a picture. The photographer didn’t seem to mind:)

We had a blast exploring Japan today. Love every moment I get to spend with my family. And even after being in Japan for almost a year and a half I still can’t believe I live here.

January 21, 2014 - 5:11 am

Sarah (http://www NULL.sarahpaganophotography - I LOVE how you can actually see the gold on the walls of the golden temple. Glorious detail! Also, the dark picture of the thousand torii gates?! Genius.

You’re a genius.

Star Wars Newborn Session | Hering Baby

Since I am married to a Star Wars super fan I was immediately excited when learning that Laura and Nate had some very specific ideas for their newborn session that revolved around this epic trilogy. A Star Wars themed newborn session?  YES PLEASE. Sweet baby Charlie was a dream to photograph. And Laura had a very specific vision for this shoot which made my job easy. It was a pleasure to be able to cuddle this beautiful baby boy and photograph his newborn portraits.


January 16, 2016 - 10:11 am

Meagan - Yes I was wondering where you went about purchasing the plush star wars dolls. Its a must have for my up coming nursery. I’ve checked amazon and the Disney store and no luck.

Tokyo Portrait Photographer | Chrystina & Matt Jones

I almost can’t believe this is my last Tokyo City Session of 2013. I have had a blast doing portrait sessions in the biggest city in the world. I have learned so much and can not wait to do more in 2014.

Chrystina and Matt had a very specific vision for their city session and picked both of the locations for this shoot. We started out at the famous intersection in Shibuya and ended our session at the Sensoji temple in Asakusa. Their shoot was on a Sunday so both locations were packed. But I think we managed to make it work. I also had the privilege to photograph Chrystina’s grandmother who was in town visiting. No better way to document your visit to Japan then with a photo session, right!?

And I must mention the adorable baby bump in these photos. How beautiful is Chrystina! This lovely couple is expecting their first born in June. So this city session is also a maternity session!

I’d love to know which image is your favorite from this session. Leave a comment below and let me know!

Tokyo Portrait Photographer | Hackbarth Family

It’s always an honor working with returning clients. I photographed the Hackbarth family last spring during cherry blossom season. See that adorable session here. This time the goal was to capture their family in the midst of the beautiful autumn leaves at Showa Kinen Park (http://www NULL.showakinenpark NULL.go We could not have asked for a better day. The day was beautiful. This family is beautiful. And that combination I believe speaks for itself in the images below.

November 21, 2013 - 10:27 am

Uncle Jon - Outstanding photographs!!! What a beautiful family and James is really cute.

How do family members obtain electronic copies of some of these photos?

Tokyo Portrait Photographer | Chasing Chase

Last time I photographed this family their little man had just turned one. It’s hard to believe how fast the time has gone and now he is about to be two.  Almost two and always on the move. I basically had to run backwards five paces in front of this little guy to take his picture. I am thankful I didn’t trip while preforming this awesome maneuver. Even though this family session was fast paced it was worth it to be able to capture Chase’s smiles.

Tokyo Portrait Photographer | Katsurada Family

I am just in love with the moments behind these photos.  I could tell as soon as I started shooting that they have had experience doing lifestyle photography before. They were comfortable just playing with and loving on their kids while I snapped away. Their photographer Kate Chapman, who is PCSing and thus referred them to me, taught them well.

Excluding the families that I photographed during Project Hohoemi, the Katsuradas are my first local clients. I have to admit that I was very excited to have client’s who are not associate with Yokota Air Base. Please don’t hear me wrong, I love my Yokota clients and could not do this job without you guys! But I would love to expand and be able to photograph the local community as well. Not sure if that dream can become a reality since I don’t speak Japanese. A minor setback:) Thankfully this sweet couple speaks both English and Japanese beautifully.  And they were a pleasure to work with.

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