Somewhere near Narita.
Night view of the Sumida River taken from the Ohashi bridge near Nihonbashi, Tokyo. There are actually quite a few bridges across the river in this area. In fact, Nihonbashi basically means ‘Japan Bridge’. I just got done with a brutal work assignment in Des Moines, Iowa. A place that is quite far from Japan; both in distance and culture. I’m sitting in the Phoenix airport at the moment waiting for a flight to Texas (Austin for the Formula 1 race) and have nothing better to do than to reminisce on my latest venture to Japan, wishing I was back already.
This is a shot of the underside of the Shutoku Expressway – the very same one in the picture above. The Expressway parallels the Sumida River in some points. I stayed in a place near Hamacho which happened to be right next to the river. It was nice to watch the sun rise from the river each morning. Well, at least the mornings that I wasn’t going to a motor sport event.
I went through a phase one week in Japan where I would target scenes that I could turn depressing; this is one of those scenes. The heavy vignetting, the condensation on the train windows, the desaturated color, and the expression of the inhabitants all create a feeling of helplessness. 2 more weeks until I return to Japan, and although my days are mostly spent photographing cars, I’ll still make time for a few nights of street photography.
Yes, another Signal Hill shot. The sunset was really crazy this evening; the file looks over-processed, but that is really what the sky looked like. My new friend Eric came out and we had a nice chat as the sun went down. Good evening – can’t believe I’m going to be be 28 tomorrow -_-;
3 bracket HDR | Nikon D300s | 20mm
So Flickr has this new feature, or it might not be new at all as I haven’t visited the site in quite awhile, that allows you to see all of one members submissions in a group. As you may or may not know, I started a group years ago for people who enjoyed shooting on train platforms in Japan. The group, JPP – Japanese Platform Photography, helped me meet many new people that I can call friends today. It also helped me develop my own style and feel for the street photos I take. Well, maybe I shouldn’t use the word style…
Looking back at 40 months worth of my own photos, it’s apparent that I have at least developed my own preference. I use the term preference as opposed to style because the term style can mean many different things to different people. Styles of photography have already been set by those before us, and let’s face it, you can’t develop a new style; only variations of existing ones. Although I’m sure that’s a topic many would debate.
Jean-Luc Godard once said, “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
I’m happy to say at least I have found, or subconsciously have stolen from others, my own style of street photography. Having that out of the way allows me more time to enjoy doing it and perhaps one day taking it to somewhere meaningful.
You can check out my 40 Months here.
I’ve always been a fan of trying to capture confinement in a city with 8.7 million people living in it; and surprisingly enough, it’s not that difficult.
I always have to laugh a little when people ask me what I do in Japan, because my answer never fails to baffle them:
“I take pictures.”
“Oh, of what?”
“Yeah, people, walking around on the street.”
“Yeah, just random people.”
Then the conversation usually tapers off. I don’t really talk too much about what I do, and I’m horrible at telling stories, so unless someone persists I won’t voluntarily start telling them. The majority of people think it’s a waste of time to travel half way across the world to take pictures of random people, but for me, Japan is the ultimate locale for street photography. New York and LA are good, and much closer, but they lack a certain something that Japan has in abundance. Call it atmosphere, call it ambiance, or presence…call it whatever the fuck you want to; Japan has it. I’ll spend hours on a street or a certain corner clipping off shots all night, sometimes not even getting anything good. But that one time I nail the exposure, or capture a moment that no one expected, is worth all the time it took. It’s the chase, not the result for me.
This was taken on one of those nights. I wandered around Tokyo with a bandana around my face to stop the deathly cold wind from chapping my face; in hindsight I probably looked like some kind of foreign criminal, stealing souls by light. I couldn’t decide which frame I liked better so I made a diptych.
I know it’s typically frowned upon, but I love the light distortion that this lens puts out. It’s like alphabet soup, but with light noodles. I shot this on the same photo walk I got my inspiration back on. It was pretty late at night, and it from the looks of it I wasn’t the only one that was tired. I bet she didn’t just get done shooting an entire race that day though. I didn’t look at the EXIF data on this, but I remember the ISO at 1250 and I’m sure the lens was wide open at f2.8. Japan is entirely unreal in producing the best bokeh with pretty much any setting, and it shows in this shot. The guy in the background, also on the phone, adds a little depth and occupancy to the frame. I like how you can measure the aperture setting by the brick walkway.
I thought this was cool; no, not because of the altered depth of field, but because all the people in the frame are caught in different motions; including the subject herself. There is also a sense of multiple directions – all make for a nicely composed candid. The multiple layers work well in giving the illusion that the viewer is actually there. A sense that I think is very important in street photography. I wonder what she was listening too? I had on some Dash Berlin pumping through my headphones when I got lost and shot this.
When I was walking around last night I came across a restaurant and bar called ‘Beer Saurus’. Based on the name I automatically liked the place, but decided to wait until tomorrow to check it out. I looked it up online and it appears to be a craft brewery; pretty cool thing to find in Japan. This Asahi lantern is actually across the street, but I thought it fitting for this post.
1/60 | f2.8 | 120mm | iso 1250
I’m not sure where the traffic is coming from (perhaps my old Flickr page), but I’ve recently got some unexpected visitors to this page. So, in the interest of having a place to share photos of subjects other than automotive, I’ve decided to start actively updating my personal blog. I think I’ll change the theme around a bit to something a little more photo friendly as well. I am mainly going to concentrate on my street photography, but I will throw some nice landscapes in as well. It’s time to board the wrong train again.
I shot this wandering around the outskirts of Shinjuku station this afternoon. I was in search of a music store that had some really good tablature for Japanese rock bands. My luck though, either the store doesn’t exist anymore, or I was completely lost. On a related side note, I went to Yokohama yesterday to go to a different music store; and that one, however, had been replaced by a Book Off. I ended up finding some 100 yen Option mags though, so happy ending I guess.