Faces of Tokyo Series: Takadanobaba on Tuesday

November 26, 2008 · Print This Article

The second installment of my FACES OF TOKYO photo series took me to Takadanobaba, an area of Tokyo known for its college town feel, or at least as much as that is possible within a metropolis.  This was not as easy a set of photos to take as the Kabukicho ones, as I wandered around for over an hour at first trying to find a good spot.  I worried that it might turn out to be a FAIL, but I eventually settled down where I began, in the square right across from Takadanobaba station and had an all together different experience shooting here than I did in Kabukicho.  Several people actually smiled and seemed to be happy to be photographed!  Joy for them and me.

Takadonobaba, as I expected, did not have quite the diversity of people as Kabukicho did, but I was ok with that as I was more concerned with learning how to use my new Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm F2.8D lens.  It took at least a 100 shots to start finding the settings that worked best for the lens, and I’m sure I will continue to refine them.  This lens replaced the first ever lens I bought, the now sold Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens.

The woman pictured above smiled at me as she saw me shooting her as she walked by.  The photo shows her turning again after she passed me to offer another smile.  I took that as approval to photograph her again, and maybe she was even flattered?  This one not the only smiling occurrence.  

A twenty-something Japanese girl not only smiled, but even posed giving a peace sign and model stance, however, I only captured her smile as I had lowered my camera when she started posing.  Her encouragement made me more bold and produced more of the shots you see below I might not have otherwise taken.

The Nikkor 80-200mm lens is fairly large to moderately huge, especially with its lens hood on.  I think this may have added a certain sense of respect and tolerance by passersby to being photographed.  I was seated most of the time as well, and had a hint of a smile on my lips the whole time as the smiles a few people made into my lens were quite infectious.  

It was another great and joyous (for me) street photography session.

Be careful crossing the street in Takadanobaba! Why not tie back all your hair?  Though I must admit the long bangs look works. The best possible hairstyle for a young Japanese woman?
Like (grand)mother like (grand)son! She smiled and posed for me, but I had already taken my eye of my camera when she posed so I didn't get it!  What the hell is that dude looking at tho This woman smiled at me and in this shot turned again and smiled!  Friendly!
She's happy to be photographed! She would make a good sentry with that pose. I keep saying it, more Japanese men should have facial hair!
If the Easter Bunny had a grandmother, she would look like this. Not just anyone can pull off shades over eyeglasses Does this guy have to be British with that scarf and hat combo?
Thanks for turning around!  Nice glow around her because the sun was in front. Very, very few people walk fast enough in Tokyo so that their hair flies behind them. This person was on the phone for a good 15 minutes.
This dude passed right in front of me, lucky to get the shot in focus so quickly.  May I suggest using a medicated shampoo? Only one of these girls have their eyes on the right prize. Seems it should be illegal to be able to carry a hockey stick in the open in public.
I feel this woman could never be conned, possibly the brains behind bank heists as well. Oh yeah, I'm out of surgery, I can take this mask off finally. She chooses her accessories carefully, I'm sure.
She is shocked when seeing the size of the Christmas present she was sent to wrap.    


18 Responses to “Faces of Tokyo Series: Takadanobaba on Tuesday”

  1. on November 26th, 2008 6:24 PM

    hey- i like this gallery- but maybe got fewer front-on shots? seeing people smiling into the lens is nice though. pretty sure i wouldn’t get that reaction with my camera. they probably think you work for a magazine or something- which is cool.

    good stuff, looking forward to next.


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks…yeah, there might be less front-on shots this time because for a majority of this session I was sitting off to the side of the passing foot traffic, where as for the Kabukicho shoot I was standing almost directly (but somewhat hidden) in the foot traffic.

    I think I can expect to easily find such a good spot to shoot from like I did that first time at Kabukicho.

    It would be pretty hard to get these kinds of shots with a point and shoot camera I think because I was using a focal range of 300mm, unless one stands like really close to the passing foot traffic. Plus it would be pretty hard to line up the shot without a good optical viewfinder.


  2. on November 26th, 2008 9:49 PM

    Nice pics again Jason.

    Out of interest, what was the main reason for choosing the Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm?


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks Lee.

    Well, I did a good two weeks of solid research both online and in Map Camera getting hands on with various 70/80-200mm lenses before deciding on the Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm (¥59,000 used + ¥1,500 for a new lens hood).

    The biggest factor was off course money. If money wasn’t a factor, then I would have of course gone with the Nikkor 70-200mm VR lens. But that costs ¥165,000 minimum for a used one at Map Camera.

    I thought I’d get a Sigma 70-200mm, but Map Camera only had the old model (used). When I tried that one out in the store I immediately knew this lens was not up for what I wanted to do with it. The newer model might be, but it cost ¥92,000 and there were no used ones as it’s a very new lens, so I couldn’t try it out.

    At this point I thought I was out of luck, as I had to stay around a budget of ¥60,000.

    For some reason I never heard of the Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm lens, and I can’t remember how it dawned on me, but I was immediately stoked about it. After having tried the Sigma lens and the Nikkor 70-200mm VR, I thought the Nikkor 80-200mm felt significantly lighter, which may or may not be true, but that was my feeling and still is. I think it’s very manageable for handheld shots.

    The reason why I wanted a F2.8 zoom lens was that my (now traded in) Nikkor 18-200mm VR F3.5-5.6 was just not fast enough to get sharp shots, especially at 200mm. I only have a Nikon D80, so ISO 800 is about the max usable ISO, so an aperture of 5.6 couldn’t produce sharp shots unless it was bright and sunny out.

    Hence the desire to move to a F2.8 piece of glass (ha, my first time using this pretentious term!).

    I also got the newest Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 lens, so now all my glass is F2.8 or faster (my third lens is the Nikkor 50mm F1.8D).

    My next lens, which won’t be bought until next year, will possibly be like a 10mm fisheye or other ultrawide lens.

    I have noticed already though that the Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm does not focus quite as fast as I’d like. But still, for less than ¥61,000 out the door, I think it can’t be beat for a Nikon shooter on a budget.


  3. on November 26th, 2008 11:09 PM

    Beautiful side profile of that one girl.
    You don’t like how she’s left some of it hanging in front? Looks good to me.

    By the way, do you know that this particular post is displayed three times on your front page?


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks Can. I was glad I was able to get that side shot of her in focus, had to act fast to get that shot as I had been looking the other way. Usually I like to track a person a bit first before they come into the range I want to take the shot at.

    Yes, I know. This post is in three categories so it shows up in three spots on my front page which are automatically updated when the category gets updated and I haven’t had a chance to post more in the various individual categories.


  4. on November 26th, 2008 11:10 PM

    Oh right you do like it, my bad.


  5. on November 26th, 2008 11:11 PM

    Nice candid shots here, Jason, especially the first and second. It’s surprising how many people are smiling on your photos.


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks…..I was surprised by the smiles too. I didn’t get anything close to a smile in Kabukicho.

    However, I was shooting in a much different way this time. First, I had a bigger lens on my camera, maybe creating an air of more seriousness. And also I was sitting down on a long bench, which may seem like a less threatening position than standing up. Plus, it was easier on my legs to sit and I could stabilize the heavy lens by locking my elbows onto my knees.

    I’m curious to see what reactions I get next time if I have to stand while shooting again.


  6. Dy
    on November 27th, 2008 6:03 AM

    Love it! I really like this phase of your work as an artist.


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks a lot Dy….the top photo in this series may be m favorite shot I’ve taken since I first got my D80 in August.


  7. on November 28th, 2008 11:55 PM

    […] just happened to be walking the same direction for quite some time.  I was on a photo walk in Takadanobaba, looking for a good spot to shoot, which always seemed to be just in front of her.  Actually, it […]

  8. on November 29th, 2008 11:10 AM

    Wow, these are good. I take horrible people-shots, so I’m in awe of anyone who does it well. Your answer to Lee’s question about the 80-200mm lens choice was interesting. I like my 18-200mm VR, but I’m starting to wonder about the sharpness – it’s not quite where I want it to be…


    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks Chris.

    About the 18-200mm VR lens, I think for the great landscape and nature shots you take while hiking up mountains, it is a good lens still, as its weight/size to performance ratio is good. The 80-200mm is much heavier and larger. I had to buy a new Lowepro backpack style carrying case just to be able to bring it around town. I don’t think I’d ever take it up a mountain, unless it was an easy-ish day hike. I was able to carry my D80 and 18-200mm fairly easily up Akadake (2,899m) recently, but I don’t know if I would have dared to bring the beast 80-200mm on that hike. But no doubt you are a much stronger hiker than I am, so maybe the extra weight may not matter.

    But yeah, sharpness was also one of my concerns, but maybe even more was the vignetting at the 200mm focal length. I have started to print out selected shots at larger than A4 size and then I really noticed some darker corners on a few shots.

    Let me know if you get the 80-200mm. If you don’t mind spending more, getting the AF-S 80-200mm would be better, as the one weakness of the AF 80-200mm is that it doesn’t focus quite as quickly as I’d like in some situations as it lacks the internal focusing motor (in Nikon’s nomenclature AF-S lenses have the silent wave motor to help focusing, which the 18-200mm does).


    Chris (i-cjw.com) Reply:

    I took a look at the 80-200mm in Bikku on the way home this evening – it’s a beautiful lens, but at 1.3kg it’s a bit much even for me in the mountains… looks like I’ll be sticking with the 18-200mm VR for a while!


  9. on December 12th, 2008 11:53 AM

    […] Takadanobaba […]

  10. on April 20th, 2012 7:54 AM

    […] all the subjects are clearly looking at the camera and are almost posed. Many of the images on this page are candid. Some are not. There's a difference. This is Candid: User maddoc2003jp And […]

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