Palo Alto Obon

This year the whole family made it to Palo Alto Obon. We enjoyed the food and got to watch San José Taiko perform on the Yagura. This was the boy’s first time being able to see them play without having to deal with a massive crowd and I think they enjoyed the performance a lot more.

And we danced. It started earlier this year and didn’t last as long* but was still fun. The right amount of community feel and a good time was had by all. The boys have already weighed in that they like Palo Alto’s festival the most and I know what they mean.

*Apparently some one complained last year and in typical Bay Area fashion the town cracked down on the church that has been having these festivals for decades instead of letting the resident know that they’d purchased a home next to a church.

Since I was dancing the photos are similar to my previous ones in San José this year and in Palo Alto last year. I’m still working out how best to take photos during the festival. I might have to stop dancing for a few songs and just take photos of the kids. They’re getting pretty good now.

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Palo Alto Obon

I danced in San José. I photographed in Mountain View. I wasn’t sure what I’d do in Palo Alto. Well besides eat. Of the three local festivals, Palo Alto is the one that just feels right. The food situation is well organized. There’s ample seating to eat. The dancing starts late and goes well into the night as people just have fun.

I ended up dancing again and taking photos while doing so. The low light gave my camera some problems but I like a decent number of these and they definitely give a good impression of what it was like to be there.

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Magcloud

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Continuing my magazine experiments, this time I figured I’d give Magcloud a whirl. I was happy with Blurb’s magazines but I wanted to try smaller formats and experiment with saddlestitching. Magcloud’s 5.25″×8.25″ format looked ideal since it’s a decent size for vertical photos and the saddlestitch format is much more forgiving for crossovers so I can use similar-sized horizontal or square photos as well.

I’m pretty happy with the results. Magcloud uses very-good toner-based printing technology and the results are about as good as I’d expect from that. They do still show the typical telltale heavy-gloss in high-coverage areas* though so the overall result doesn’t feel as high quality to me as Blurb’s printing. But the print quality itself—screening, color, etc.—is plenty good.

*This is admittedly something I’m sensitive to and it only shows up in certain lighting situations anyway.

The only other thing which caught my attention is that Magcloud’s bindery operation is pretty loose. They want an eighth of an inch for bleeds and they mean it. I had a few photos where I could only spare a sixteenth of an inch for bleed and that wasn’t nearly enough, Magcloud needs the full eighth of an inch. Similarly, while the crossovers are mostly satisfactory, there’s a decent amount of play—over a sixteenth of an inch again—in terms of where the center fold is.

These aren’t complaints as the price is more than fair and the results are still fine. But they‘re worth keeping in mind so I don‘t expect anything better than that and treat these as the mini-projects/project dummies that they are. I don’t expect any of my magazines to be the final form of the projects, they’re just waypoints which scratch my urge to get things printed and which I can live with and look through until I’m ready to take the next step.

The magazines I made are all working through a bunch of small projects which I’m not sure what to do with yet. There are two which are photos from Powwow—one of the Aztec dancers, the other of the powwow itself.

There are two which are photos from Obon—one of San José Taiko, the other of the obon odori.

And there’s one which consists of photos from all the bounce house birthday parties I’ve been to.

Some of those projects I don’t expect to be adding to. Others might get a photo here or there each summer but I’m reaching the point where I’ll want to replace existing photos rather than add to the project overall. In all cases though I expect I’ll be heading back to Magcloud to do some more small projects and see how they work together.