One thing that I find fascinating with religion in Asia is how much a part of everyday life it is. People will stop by on their way home for a quick prayer. In Europe, it’s so much more ceremonial and occasional. Anyway, it was interesting to capture how small one feels when standing in front of the huge lantern at Sensoji.
Shooting the lanterns in long exposure at Senso-ji after dusk was comparatively easy (although I hadn’t realised that despite their size the lanterns would sway with the wind) but finding a way to shoot the pagoda was trickier. Thankfully I had my Platypod with me and was able to strap it to a tree. Shooting it through the branches, I thought would give it a different feel, and I’m really pleased with how it came out.
Shinjuku’s red light district really has that « where the hell am I » vibe. It’s not so much that the kinky stuff is overt, it’s that everything is weird. There are robot shows advertised everywhere (not sure I want to know what that is) and some of the displays (like this one) are really strange… Talk about lost in translation…
*Senso-ji at Night*
Sneso-ji at night was all it was supposed to be and more. But I had to try this one over ten times to get a decent result : long exposures theoretically erase people in front of you from the picture… except when they stand still for minutes on end in front of you to take photos. I can’t blame them, I was doing the same !
Fuji x100f, 28mm, f/4, 1/15s, ISO 1600
I remember spending a fair bit of time in the NYC subway shooting passers by at shutter speeds of around 1/10s or 1/15s. You get a lot of blurry shots, but when you manage to stay steady, you capture some of the motion. With a wider angle lens (a 28mm in this case) it’s a bit easier and I find that at 1/15s I can more or less consistently shoot a sharp shot. I liked those columns and the contrast produced by the black band of tiling, that’s why I chose this Tokyo underground spot.
Fuji x100f, 28mm, f/2, 1/60s, ISO 1250
Compared to the Paris metro, the Tokyo metro is clean as a hospital. I wanted to capture all this white and thought that doing it in a mirror would be a little more original. I guess it would have been more effective at rush hour, maybe an idea for the next trip…
Fuji x100f, 28mm, f/2, 1/40s, ISO 3200
In the narrow streets of Nakano, I stumbled upon this bar. The bottles, the lanterns, the woodwork, it all spoke to me of a Japan of yore (even though the bar is clearly not yet 2 years old…)
Fuji x100f, 28mm, f/2.8, 1/20s, ISO 3200
I went down to Nakano to hunt for photography gear, and ended up walking around the labyrinth of narrow streets and just soaking in what felt (to me) like an older version of Tokyo.
Fuji x100f, 28mm, f/16, 12s, ISO 200
In many ways, Tokyo is even more of a vertical city than Hong Kong where I live. Hong Kong mostly grew overground, which makes sense when you realise that most of the high-riser areas are on reclaimed land. Tokyo on the other hand seems to me as much underground as overground with multiple layers of commuting, shops and walkways superimposed. That means lots of colonnades and interestingly graphic things to shoot with a wide(ish) angle lens!
Tokyo Night Life
Fuji x100f, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/60s, ISO 3200
In Akihabara there’s a sharp contrast between the main arteries, full of light, tall buildings, gaudy colours, and the back alleys. I spent a good while in those back alleys, trying to capture the slightly seedy feel of them. I think this shot did it.