it’s all done with mirrors

17 10 2014

late afternoon in Harajuku, and the October sun is blasting down on the streets. with no clouds to diffuse the sun, the shadows are strong and dark but sometimes there’s a tiny ray of hope. mirrored glass in office buildings all over Tokyo catches those rays and returns them to sender. and coincidentally  spotlights a few points of the street. catching those spotlights is half the fun.



location spotting at the docks

10 08 2014

DSC_9465 - Version 2

while scouting a worthwhile and hopefully interesting shooting position for the Tokyo Bay firework show, I did happen across a few interesting industrial locations, which I hope will make a great backdrop for some portraiture or band promo shots. This one’s a set of disused warehouses, which will likely be demolished to make way for something ghastly….(sigh). The wear and tear on the paintwork is absolutely delicious.

putting bums on seats – Tokyo Bay 2014 Fireworks

9 08 2014

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I spent most of today cycling around Tokyo Bay, to select the best shooting spot for tomorrow’s firework display. About 12,000 shells will be fired, from barges moored close to Harumi Ferry Terminal. Although it is a free display (and hence most of the population of Tokyo is expected to turn up), if the mood takes you, you can pay to sit on a blue plastic folding chair with thousands of others for the eighty minute duration of the display. 

Secret Tokyo

29 06 2012

Secret Tokyo

space….as much as you could want. but we’re not going to let you have it. lock it away behind vast iron doors. leave a tiny gap for longing glimpses.

The Main Event

20 02 2012

If you live in Tokyo, the impending Tokyo Marathon is just around the corner. It’s a great opportunity to get out in the streets and shoot some pictures. The route passes through quite a wide selection of neighbourhoods, though with a little planning, you can usually get to several different spots during the course of the race. What I generally do, is pre-ride the course, in the week leading up to the event. I’m a big fan of cycling in Tokyo, and usually bike between shooting spots on the day.

As far as equipment goes, I like to pack light. One tele lens, one wide lens, 2 bodies, and a flash. And nothing very extreme either, in terms of the telephoto lens. A lot of people I talk to seem to form the impression that sports photography is always about huge telephoto lenses. I shot the image below on a 180mm lens:

I used a teleconverter with this shot, so the 180mm lens with 1.4x converter about equivalent to a 250mm lens. Adding the crop factor of the DX format camera, about a 375mm in fullframe. The disadvantages are, the AF slows down because of the reduced light into the camera, and the image quality is compromised. With top flight AFS prime lenses, the converter isn’t perhaps so much of a problem, however for the older ‘screwdrive’ lenses I really can’t recommend it.

The Tokyo Marathon bears like every other large city marathon, a number of fancy dress runners. Our Lord Jesus, for example:

Then there’s the Salaryman, every Disney, anime, and cosplay character you can think of,  the list is endless. All richly entertaining, given the often inclement weather.

I’ll be shooting from around sunrise till noon, and you’re welcome to join me if you have a bike to get around on; I’ve got a job to shoot in the afternoon, at the Russian Embassy, so I hope not to get too dishevelled in the morning!

Using the light.

8 02 2012

Reflected light


There’s a hell of a lot of reflected light available here in Tokyo. Plenty of mirror glass walls, squeaky clean windows, impossibly clean train carriages and commercial trucks. On some clear days, the sun acts like a giant spotlight, falling over a small area of the street, as it’s reflected from a surface on a nearby building. You might have half a second to catch a pedestrian on a crossing, as the light pours onto an area between the 4th and 5th white bars painted on the road surface.

In the late afternoon shot above, the sun is over to the right side, but reflected from the windows of the grimy looking building on the left. As usual, went out with a single prime lens on this day. I find this artificial restriction quite stimulating, in terms of having to think about making different types of images. Used my 300mm F4 lens for this picture.