Faces of Tokyo Series: Shimo-kitazawa

January 9, 2009 · Print This Article

I wanted to try something new for my next FACES OF TOKYO SERIES (Takadanobaba, Kabukicho) instead of another set of photos of people just walking on the streets.  I had the idea to take photos of people shopping inside stores while I was out on the street.  I decided on Shimo-kitazawa as it has almost countless little shops on small side streets, plus the people who frequent this area are usually more hippie/bohemian/hipster.  This proved to be a very challenging thing to do from a technical photography perspective and did not turn out so successfully, but I thought I would still share them to show that one should not always play it safe with one’s photography.

Shooting inside shops sometimes meant shooting through glass store front windows, or into dark shops, or with various obstructions in the way.  I had to use an ISO of 1600 on all shots to get any kind of sharpness, and the result was noisy photos (making me think I need a D300 with better high ISO performance!).  

KIT USED:  Nikon D80 with Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8 lens

FACES OF TOKYO SERIES:  SHIMO-KITAZAWA PHOTO GALLERY: 

I wonder what that red-ribbon on her finger is supposed to remind her of? To me she looks like the Grinch who stole Christmas Some obasans taking a knitting class
Japanese shop girl with Christmas spirit in Shimo-kitazawa How many people you know work a sewing machine in a leather jacket? I can almost feel these guys banging heads
This dude seems a bit suspicious just because a huge lens is being pointed in his general direction. This florist tried many times to get these flowers into a vase. Kimono = respect
A kimono must be the best work uniform in the world A shopper takes a closer look Drawing on the walls = cool
Hope that's not real fur lining her jacket Don't know how you can overlook those sweet red space boots. Hope she's not shoplifting
Apparently she got a secret note along with her purchase How nice of her to shop for a Christmas present for OJ Just a somber shopper
Looks like this dude could use a new scarf I have no ability to fancy fold clothes  

Comments

22 Responses to “Faces of Tokyo Series: Shimo-kitazawa”

  1. on January 9th, 2009 4:43 PM

    Nice pics again Jason, I particularly like the ‘secret note’ one.

    I recently upgraded to a D300 (Fujiya Camera in Nakano has quite a few second hand ones in great condition), and am very pleased with it indeed. They’d take your D80 off you too which would bring the price down a bit.

    Reply

    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks Lee.

    Yeah, I’m trying hard to figure out how I can work a D300 into my budget before leaving Japan next month. Selling my D80 would lighten the price, but in a way I feel I want to have two bodies, especially for working events! Need a body with a wide angle lens on it and another with a telephoto zoom.

    Reply

  2. on January 10th, 2009 6:42 AM

    Ahh, the guy in the glasses spotted you.

    Reply

    Jason Collin Reply:

    Yeah, it was a bit of a cold stare too, made me shiver a bit!

    Reply

  3. on January 10th, 2009 8:45 AM

    Whenever I see your pictures I want to get a DSLR. I should have.

    Anyway, shooting with A DLSR is not discreet, so do you care if people see you take their pictures?

    Reply

    Jason Collin Reply:

    Tom, you definitely should DSLR-up! Come to Shinjuku and we’ll go to Map Camera together. It’s cheaper than you think, and if money is no object, then all the better! It’s just so much more fun, much more, taking photos with a DSLR.

    The DSLR itself isn’t that non-discreet, the huge 80-200mm lens is what’s really non-discreet! I have just developed techniques from trying to be more stealthy.

    I leave Japan in mid-February so hurry up and get a DSLR and we’ll go out shooting in Tokyo together.

    Reply

    Tom Reply:

    OK, I don’t get down to Tokyo often, but if I can make it before then, I’ll let you know.

    Reply

  4. on January 10th, 2009 10:13 AM

    Great- better than I expected after you played them down. My favorite- the Grinch!

    Reply

    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks UK…maybe I was just disappointed in how a majority of them came out, and all of those ended up on the cutting room floor and not in the gallery.

    The Grinch is my favorite too.

    Reply

  5. on January 11th, 2009 2:21 AM

    Your shots make me consider buying the 80-200mm. I love the guy in the leather jacket sewing, hahah!

    Reply

    Jason Collin Reply:

    Yeah Jay, unless you have the ¥165,000 (used) for the 70-200mm VR, then the 80-200mm is the next best lens, which can be had for close to ¥60,000 (used). It has great bokeh and great image detail. Good for portraits as well as long shots.

    Reply

    jay Reply:

    I just ordered the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 so I will have to put the 80-200 on the wish list. I am definitely looking for a good tele though. Okinawa doesn’t really have that many great used camera stores, so I have been purchasing everything new!

    Reply

    Jason Collin Reply:

    Wow, that’s no cheap lens! I’d like to add it to my collection some day as well. I bet you can get some great landscape and indoor shots with it. When does it arrive? I wouldn’t be able to sleep until it did if I ordered it!!

  6. on January 11th, 2009 5:47 PM

    Nice group of shots Jason, I like the theme here (Japanese people and shopping, the two really go hand in hand) and the expression on people’s faces is great. At least some of them are smiling but generally everyone looks so serious.

    My favourite is the ‘secret note along with her purchase’ girl. ‘

    Reply

    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks Can…good observation, it does seem single shoppers are quite serious in their craft.

    Reply

  7. on January 12th, 2009 2:18 AM

    Nice photos Jason! I’m a bit baffled too at how you manage to get away with this though. Are you serious that nearly nobody noticed you? If you do get confronted, what do you do/say?

    Reply

    Jason Collin Reply:

    I have never yet been confronted, so haven’t had to deal with that kind of situation yet.

    I have several techniques and methods I employ when out doing street photography in order to remain as stealthy as one can with a 80-200mm lens. I often create misdirection with my eye contact. I of course never make eye contact with the subject before getting a shot. I pretend to be interested in shooting the buildings around me.

    Basically I do a lot of acting, both before and after taking the shot, maybe especially after, to “soften the blow” of being photographed.

    I’ll be going out doing more street photography today, so we’ll see how stealthy I can be today. However, several people have said they like the shots of me getting caught where the person looks right into my lens.

    Reply

  8. on January 12th, 2009 2:16 PM

    Nice pics, as usual.

    Glad you decided on Shimokitazawa. I live next door to it so I’m often there; one of my favorite towns in Tokyo.

    Don’t think I’ll be able to pick up a new camera before summer, but if you’re still blogging from the States around mid-summer, I might hit you up for some shopping advice.

    Reply

    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks Billy. Shimo must be a nice place to live.

    Yeah, I’ll still be posting from the U.S., I have a bit of archived material so I’ll still be able to post about Japan for some time and after that I’ll move on to whatever’s next.

    Let me know when you are in the market for a camera again!

    Reply

  9. on January 14th, 2009 8:58 AM

    I’ve said it before, but I’m in awe of anyone who can take good people-shots. Still, the “Faces of Tokyo” series inspired me – I guided a group snowshoeing in the back country of Togakushi, Nagano last weekend, and forced myself to take photos of them too (rather than shoot scenery, which is my usual proclivity). I’ve a long way to go though…

    Reply

    Jason Collin Reply:

    Thanks a lot Chris. The next people post will be of girls at coming of age day from this past Monday.

    Your scenery and landscape shots are amazing though, but I would of course like to see some people shots of them actually doing what it takes to climb those mountains. Looking forward to seeing the snowshoe-ers!

    Reply

    Chris (i-cjw.com) Reply:

    I’ll try to get the snowshoe post up in the next couple of days – just want to get clearance from the people involved to use their photos. There’s some video too, which will require a bit more editing to make it presentable…

    The problem with trying to take photos of people climbing some of those mountains is often simply…. there is no-one else apart from me! I tend to chose routes and conditions precisely to avoid meeting people :-)

    Reply

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