Friday (18-May-2018) — Japan

Gone to See Japan.  Street Photography Workshop with Steve Simon and Soichi Hayashi. Day 2: Tokyo (Shinjuku Station, Harajuku, Shibuya).

The sky cleared, and the rising sun was reflected into my hotel room off the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building. It took six images to get the entire building in order to generate a composite image. I still need to work a bit on the geometry of the two towers.

Reflections of the Sun Rising. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building from the Keio Plaza Hotel. Composite of six images taken with a Leica CL camera and 23 mm f/2 lens. Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and AutoPano Giga Pro. (David J Mathre)
Reflections of the Sun Rising. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building from the Keio Plaza Hotel. Composite of six images taken with a Leica CL camera and 23 mm f/2 lens. Raw images processed with Capture One Pro and AutoPano Giga Pro. (David J Mathre)

The first stop in the morning was the Shinjuku Station. This is the worlds largest and busiest transportation hub. We got there in time to observe the morning rush. I have never seen so many people moving in an almost choreographed manner.  I couldn’t really figure out how to capture the frenetic activity in a single photograph, so decided to make a short time lapse video of passengers entering and exiting at one of the main entrances.

After this I went outside to clear my head and look for another subject. I found a pedestrian bridge where I could watch a busy street crossing from a distance. The folks in Japan only cross at intersections when permitted by a green light. As soon as the green light starts blinking the pedestrians start running to avoid being in the cross walk after the light changes. These images of folks starting to run rather than walk were taken with a Nikon 1 V3 camera with a 70-300 mm VR telephoto lens in burst mode.



In the afternoon we traveled to the famous Harajuku area and Shibuya shopping district. I am starting to lean toward a theme of folks taking pictures with phones, especially if I can see the image within the image on the back of the phone. Despite my preference for B&W, I have to show the two women in Harajuku with brightly colored hair. I noticed a large number of non-Japanese tourists during this walkabout.




Individual images in the slide shows can be viewed here.

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.





Seven-Years Ago (25-March-2011) — California

Gone to See California. Day 6: Death Valley Spring 2011 Photography Workshop with Michael Mariant.

On the second day of the workshop we started the day before sunrise at Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes. Fortunately, this was not very far from Stove Pipe Wells where we spent the night. We did have to hike in the dark from the parking lot to the sand dunes. This was the reason Michael had geomarked the trail the day before.  If you are going to do this remember to bring along a flashlight or headlamp, and watch out for sidewinder rattlesnakes It also was a bit chilly out. All of the images have been re-processed with Capture One Pro, including conversion to B&W.

Individual images from the slide-show can be viewed here.

Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes. Death Valley National Park. Image taken with a Nikon D3x camera and 50 mm f/1.4 lens. (David J Mathre)
Hey – The Moon is Behind You!!! Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes. Death Valley National Park. Image taken with a Nikon D3x camera and 50 mm f/1.4 lens. (David J Mathre)






 

Seven-Years Ago (24-March-2011) — California

Gone to See California. Day 5: Death Valley Spring 2011 Photography Workshop with Michael Mariant.

I rode into Death Valley with Michael Mariant. We made an initial stop at Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes prior to the start of the workshop, so Michael could geomark a trail for the next day.  The photography workshop group  met up at Furnace Creek. After lunch and an orientation session, we spent the afternoon at  Dante’s View, Golden Valley trail, and the Devil’s Golf Course. There still was some snow on the ground at Dante’s View — 5476 ft (1669 m) above sea level. The Devil’s Golf Course is only a few feet above the lowest point (282 feet below sea level) in the National Park (and the Continental United States). You have to be careful when in the Devil’s Golf Course as the halite crystals are very sharp — which I learned the hard way. While squatting to take a picture, I managed to cut a big hole in my favorite pair of lightweight linen pants.





Individual images from the slide-shows can be viewed here.

Wednesday (21-March-2018) — New Jersey

Early Spring Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

The second day of spring brought the fourth Nor’easter storm this March. Images from mid-afternoon, and it is still snowing. So far the power has stayed on, and I haven’t lost any more trees.

Resilient Daffodils on the second day of spring. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 18 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 18 mm, f/4, 1/400 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro (monochrom + one color). (David J Mathre)
Resilient Daffodils on the second day of spring. Image taken with a Leica CL camera and 18 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 18 mm, f/4, 1/400 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro (monochrom + one color). (David J Mathre)