Japan has got to be one of the best places to travel with a camera – the hyper-industrialised cities, bright lights of the shopping districts, old temples and shrines, not to mention the epic snowscapes. Japan is full of epic visual scenes. And so it was a dream to finally be able to visit Japan this year … for snowboarding, and photography.
Along with what Apple likes to tell us is the “World’s most popular camera” in my pocket at all times, I travelled to Japan with my new Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, a pocket Canon Powershot AS3300 IS and a funny Russian panoramic 35mm film camera, a Horizon Perfekt. Have you had a look at the quick little blog posts of my iPhone photos from Tokyo and Kyoto? Well, here is a selection of my non-iPhone snaps.
I bought the old fashion, fully mechanical Horizon Perfekt from Lomography, and this trip in February was my first real chance to use it (besides one test role). The Perfekt uses a swing lens that moves left-to-right to project a 120-degree-wide image across almost two normal frames of 35mm film. As with any film, and particularly as I wanted to cross-process Fuji slide film, using the Perfekt was a little bit hit or miss – but that’s the fun of film! I took along a digital light meter to try and take some of the exposure setting guesswork out of it, and some of the results came out great.
As it’s taken me so long to post these extra non-iPhone photos, I think in future I’ll travel on non-photographic trips with just the little phone, and maybe a film camera for fun. I hope you enjoy these photos, as much as I enjoyed taking them.
Click on the photos to view them in a pop-up gallery…
Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto
Wooden prayer wall at Fushimi Inari Temple, Kyoto.
Kyoto view from Kiyomizudera Temple.
Lanterns at a Kyoto temple.
A traditional restaurant facade in Kyoto.
The famous Zen rock garden at Ryonanji Temple, Kyoto.
The external corridor at Sanjusangendo Temple, Kyoto.
A couple of locals enjoy the Kyoto sunset dominated by Hokanji pagoda near the Gion district. (Yasaka no To Pagoda)
Flying into Sapporo.
Niseko trees during a blizzard.
Niseko trees during a blizzard.
Niseko forest at dusk.
Niseko forest during a blizzard.
Snowy Niseko streets
Snowfalling in Niseko.
A Niseko blizzard.
Downtown Tokyo from the Metropolitan Government Building.
Akihabara street scape.
Akihabara street scape.
Inside a Manga shop in Akihabara.
Looking up in downtown Tokyo.
The guard towers along the moat at the Tokyo Imperial Palace.
A security guard (or cop) cycling round the Tokyo Imperial Palace gardens. They love their old school Euro-style uniforms in Japan.
A well-dressed local on his lunch break in the ruins of the tower at the Tokyo Imperial Palace.
Tokyo skyline from out front of the Train station.
Shibuya Crossing (from inside Starbucks).
Shinjuku back streets.
Lanterns in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
All asleep on the Tokyo subway.
End of the film… You’ve gotta love that authentic light burn. No Photoshop after-effect here.
New York is an amazing city to take photos of. It’s so picturesque with all the buildings, people and places. You don’t need to wait for brilliant sunsets, or blue skies; you can get a good photo rain, hail, shine…or snow. It’s hard to go wrong when you take a camera out of your bag or pocket.
I flew into The Big Apple after partying till 3.30am after Torah’s Gold, waking at 5.30am to get to the aiport in time, and arriving at 8pm NY-time…and it was straight to my friend Annika’s West Greenwich Village apartment…and surprise, surprise, a couple wines and beers and I was out on the town again. I like to go out and enjoy a few beverages, but after 10 days on the party programme in Vancouver it was starting to get a bit difficult to keep going. But once out in SoHo and up in a rooftop Meatpacking District club, I managed to find a second, or third, wind.
New York is always full of surprises, and it was good to do some new things, like walk across the Brookly Bridge and take the cliched suspension-wires shot. Down in SoHo we met Annika’s Finnish friend Stephanie at the same horrible Starbucks I had once spotted legendary photog and deviant, Terry Richardson. Just as we were about to leave a weird, toothless, dirty and tatty homeless guy chatted up the girls – turns out he too is a photog, Mark Fisher (only then did I notice the two MacBooks on his table and multiple camera bags shoved under the table). He was off on a drug-come-down babble giving Stephanie advice on her jewelry line and how to make it big in the Big Apple. Despite being such a weirdo with such dirty fingernails and one missing ring finger, he actually had some good ideas. A definite surprise.
The rest of my time in NY was a mixture of walking around, going for dinner and sunday brunch, dropping by Stephanie’s apartment which she shared with an old English drag queen named Livinia (let me tell you, there was some interesting literature on the shelves), then heading out to an assortment of bars in the East Village, and then just catching up on some rest after 10 hectic day at the Olympics. I just had my little Sony Cybershot in my pocket – more discreet, and easier to carry – and I’m pretty happy with the overall results. Yeah, there’s some barrel distortion, but for a 150 bucks it takes some nice shots and I don’t have to worry so much about breaking or losing it. I’m pretty simple with my photo-editing skills, limited to just the (now-problematic) Canon software and Photoshop. Before I stole his crampons, Himbrechts had put me onto Adobe Lightroom (which now has a version 3 Beta you can download for free) and so I mucked around with the presets, or just gave a slight tweak with some contrast and saturation. I hope you like the results.