Thursday (17-May-2018) — Japan

Gone to See Japan.  Street Photography Workshop with Steve Simon and Soichi Hayashi. Day 1: Tokyo.

May 17th is the day that Norway celebrates its independence. There was an article in the newspaper delivered to my hotel room where Japan congratulates Norway, and comments on the shared goals of both nations — especially having to do with the sea and fishing.

The sun rises very early here in Tokyo — at 04:35. Combination of latitude,  and not adjusting the time in the summer (daylight savings time in the US).  I am not sure how the local residents use this daylight time in the morning. I did see a group doing stretches and exercising in Chuo park near Niagara falls at 06:30. I took some pictures of the group from my hotel room (on the 20th floor, distance about 400 meters). Then played with the scripts/statistics function within PhotoShop to try to indicate the motion. Later on after breakfast I went for another walk in the park.

Pink Poppy Flower at Shinjuku Chuo Park in Tokyo. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 23 mm f/2 lens. (David J Mathre)
Pink Poppy Flower at Shinjuku Chuo Park in Tokyo. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 23 mm f/2 lens. (David J Mathre)

The Street Photography workshop started at noon, with a lunch and initial classroom session. After an initial greeting and orientation we got to look at some samples of the workshop participants work, and expectations of what we would be doing for the next eight days. Each day we would have a review session of the images taken the previous day. We also needed to decide on a theme/subject/story line for what we would be photographing. The definition of “Street Photography” can be nebulous. After the classroom session we did a photography warm-up walkabout in Shinjuku. There area is visually overwhelming, and I was having trouble even deciding on what to shoot. During the classroom session, Steve suggested using prime lenses, aperture mode (relatively wide open with a narrow range of focus), a high shutter speed of > 1/400 second (to stop motion — both subject and photographer), and auto ISO (up to 3200 depending on camera sensor). The two cameras that I am using for the workshop (Leica CL, and Leica TL2) do not react and focus as fast as some of the Nikon Pro cameras I am used to. I selected the mirror-less cameras and lenses that I would be using based on their lighter weight (both for travel and being smaller and less conspicuous for street photography).  I set the cameras to display the B&W image. I also chose to mainly work with B&W images for this workshop (although I saved the raw images so I can get to the color images). As you can see from the street walkabout images, I was struggling.

Individual images in the slide shows can be viewed here.

Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, sky, and seascapes, travel, and astrophotography. I look for unique ways of viewing the world and presenting my images. I have traveled to over 55 countries in six continents, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on home renovation and expansion of a wildflower garden/meadow.

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