About 1 year ago this month I was working as a journalist for the Japan Times newspaper and having an absolute blast living in Tokyo. I think a lot of people visit Japan with a very specific preconception of what the country is all about. I can guarantee you it is nothing like the stereotypes. I really did not know what to expect, but my experience surpassed anything I could have hoped for. Japan is a truly unique place that never ceased to surprise me. Please enjoy some of my favorite images and stories in this three part post.
Tokyo is a city of juxtapositions: old and new, bustling and quiet, thrilling and relaxed. This is the Hie Shrine which was a few minutes walk from my apartment in Akasaka. The Shrine is hundreds of years old yet is surrounded by modern sky scrapers and blends seamlessly into the surrounding area. This is a scene characteristic of countless places all over Tokyo.
Here is another great example. I took this while wandering around Shibuya one evening. The world’s busiest intersection and this guy is as relaxed as ever on his bike (and rocking a fedora to boot). So Tokyo.
Here’s another shot of the Shibuya intersection. I had to stealthily sneak up to the top floor of a hotel to get this shot.
And as it turns out, the land of the rising sun is also the land of the setting sun. I snapped this from the roof of my apartment building the night after Hurricane Guchol passed over Japan. The hurricane itself is a whole different story, but this is definitely one of my favorite photos from the entire 8 weeks there.
Well, I guess some of the stereotypes are true…Thanks for stopping by today!
Actually Berkeley, but I’ll be spending a lot of time in SF when I’m not working. I’m getting settled in my apartment for the summer with my lovely girlfriend and finally had time to get out and shoot today. I’m hoping to have film developed and ready to go on the site by this weekend. For now I’ll leave you with some pictures from my trip here in March. I love how rich the colors are on Ektar!
I think that photo-walks are a really good way to get to know your city. I love just walking for a few hours around an area with my camera. I did this all the time in Japan over the summer, but I haven’t had as many opportunities to do so in LA this year. The city is not the most ‘walkable’ ever, but it’s not terrible. I just haven’t had the time to get out there.
A few weeks ago I did get a chance to walk around Hollywood with my girlfriend. I’ve been to Hollywood a bunch, but I hadn’t had a chance to explore it on foot. We took the LA metro (which I think is aesthetically the worst subways system ever…more on that later) to Hollywood Blvd and Vine, and then walked up to Hollywood and Highland. Hollywood is full of interesting people and it’s definitely somewhere I’d like to do street photography. The area is also a lot more grimey than it’s portrayed by…well, Hollywood.
The sun had set completely by the time I took this second photo. I was surprised I was able to hand-hold the camera still enough that the picture came out this clear. The whole front of this tattoo shop was visually enticing but I would’ve been standing in the middle of the road to shot it. I’m still happy with the end product.
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A few days ago I received a package from Photoworks with my developed film! I started shooting this particular roll of Ektar way back in December, which just goes to show how busy I have been in my final semester of college.** I took a trip up to San Francisco with my favorite person in the world, my girlfriend Kayla, this March. The weather was amazing which made for great photo opportunities all over the city.
This particular scene caught my eye in the Presidio: the American flag with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. I took multiple pictures, but I liked this one the best, with only the two icons and a beautiful sky showing. I am very pleased with the overall effect.
**On that note, I ended up getting into three graduate programs and ultimately decided to return to USC for another two years to get my master’s degree in public policy! It was a tough decision, but I had so many good reasons to stay in southern California for the near future. This summer however, I will be living in Berkeley with my girlfriend Kayla! My job is yet to be decided but I have a few interviews that I am very excited about. More to come – including more pictures.
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1. I just sent a roll of Ektar up to Photoworks in San Francisco to be developed. It’s pictures from my trip home to Portland, OR at Christmas, and also a bunch from San Francisco when I visited with my girlfriend in March 🙂 I can’t wait to see the results!
2. I’ve been wanting to get a 70’s era compact rangefinder and I finally pulled the trigger on a Canonet 28 that I saw on eBay. Everything works perfectly except for the light meter which is a rather big problem. The Canonet 28 was designed to be almost fully automatic, so with a crippled light meter I’m limited to shooting 1/30 sec. between f/2.8 and f/16. I don’t think it will be terribly expensive to have this repaired. I’m taking it to Walter’s this weekend to get an estimate. I’m hoping for the best because it’s a great little camera.
3. Finally, I’ve started a photography project shooting architecture around my home in Los Angeles on black and white film. I’m looking in particular for cool angles, reflections, and tones. A lot of it will be from the USC/downtown area which has a ton of neat buildings. I’ve included a few examples below.
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My girlfriend and I were in downtown Los Angeles this evening to have some after dinner coffee at Tierra Mia. We opted to take the subway back home over the bus which meant a stroll to the Pershing Square Metro station.
Pershing Square has a lot of potential, but I don’t think it’s quite what the city planners had hoped for. All the nearby shops close around 6 p.m. and there is almost no residential. However, it does afford a nice few of the downtown skyline, especially at dusk.
When I was working in Tokyo last summer my hours were from 10:30 am to around 7pm, so many of my photos were taken either in the early morning, or at night after work. Shooting at night is difficult to say the least. You must be highly skilled with a flash, or resourceful with the available light to make it work. I like to think I fall into the second category.
This photo was taken in Omotesando which was only one stop on the Chiyoda Line past my apartment in Akasaka. I would often eat dinner there and explore with my camera afterwards. To photograph this billboard I set the exposure compensation on my camera down almost two full stops to eliminate any light besides the bright ones above the advertisement. I think the effect is really cool and works well in black and white.
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