May in Akihabara

50mm fun

On this day in Akihabara, I decided to mostly use my 50mm to see if I could capture this area in a different way. I tried many different things, but the shot below is one of my favorites. I usually don’t do set-up shots like this, but I just saw that awesome background and told May to stand right there, with her feet planted on those two spots. I got far enough away so that the bokeh was not so blurry as to not make sense. Does that make sense? hehe…

Daily Photo – May in Akihabara

While in Tokyo, four of us went to explore this awesome area of Tokyo together. It was me, Mark Louie, Brian Matiash, and May Fukuyama. Our original plan was to go to one of those crazy Maid Cafes where the girls dress up like anime characters and act totally crazy. But that plan didn't exactly work out — there is a longer story there — we did indeed find a place but the line was 45 minutes and it was filled with these really lonely looking Japanese guys, and it was simply too humiliating to stand in line there with all of them, so we skipped that and went to some confusing place with a vending machine and Brian ordered “raccoon” and I know this is a run-on sentence but that is the kind of day it was… !

May in Akihabara

May in Akihabara

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 21, 2014 at 7:19pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1600
  • Aperture
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias+1.3

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Woman getting goodies in Tokyo

Interesting Effect

I know many of you bought my Lightroom Presets from the Stuck In Customs store up there (thanks!) — so you might notice this one is from “Fire of the Chandrian” — and I think it made such a cool effect in the background. Can you see what I mean? Once you see it, the shapes in the bokeh came out in a pretty and surprising way!

Daily Photo – Woman getting goodies in Tokyo

When I was in Tokyo last, there were a group of these traditionally dressed women who were walking around, shopping, laughing, and basically being perfect little Japanese people! They would often stop and get little snacks, which was also awesome. I just like watching them… even the way they purchase and eat snacks is so interesting!

Woman getting goodies in Tokyo

Woman getting goodies in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 20, 2014 at 8:09pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

Setting up my new Mac Pro

I’m super excited about my new Mac, but I had kind of a tough time setting it up! I’ve set up lots of Macs and they are usually super-easy, but I could not get it to recognize my bluetooth trackpad and keyboard! It was so confusing… I finally had to go inside and get my other USB ones to plug them in the get the dang thing set up. I had to turn on and off the bluetooth system a few times in order to get it to recognize my devices. I felt so clueless — although this is a feeling I have quite a bit, so I’m used to it! :)

Daily Photo – Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

This photo is one of my favorites from my street-series in Tokyo. It's so delightfully strange, I think! I felt lucky to get the focus right at f/1.4 with the 50mm when I took it. I had a general idea of exactly how far people need to be when I take these sorts of photos. It's all manual focus — and I generally find that I get much better street photography photos when I am in the manual focus mode.

Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

Man with Umbrella in Tokyo Rain

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 20, 2014 at 5:18pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/500
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias-0.3

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Man in Ginza

People Watching

Are you into people watching too? I one time watched an hour long documentary on some billionaire guy. He said his favorite hobby was to go sit in grocery stores and watch people. It wasn’t even his business — he didn’t end up making money from that sort of thing — his career was far removed from the shopping habits of humans — but that always stuck with me… that people watching can be a hobby and there is nothing wrong with it.

Daily Photo – Man in Ginza

I stayed in this area for many hours, watching people. It's so strange (and cool!) just to stay in one general area with no other agenda than just to watch people and occasionally take a photo. I feel a bit like an anthropologist, just sitting here and observing humans in their native environment. And then I put on my photographer-hat, and then really think about the best way to capture them in that environment.

Man in Ginza

Man in Ginza

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 24, 2014 at 11:22pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO4000
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Tokyo through the Glass

Shooting Through Hairline grids

This was another one of those windows that had a mesh of wires on the inside. I suppose that is to make the window stronger and less likely to break. Even though you think those lines might mess up the photo, they don’t even show up if you keep your aperture wide open. So give it a try next time you end up in that kind of situation — it looks hopeless, but it’s actually full-of-hope! :)

Daily Photo – Tokyo Through the Glass

This is just yet Another Amazing Part of the city. At first, when I went here, I thought that it would be a big city like New York, but, just, you know, Japanese. But it's really so much more vast in terms of the buildings and the lights and the action (and the safety!). There are literally so many places you can go to and see this kind of scene that it is mind-boggling. Even though I have been there, my mind still boggles.

Tokyo Through the Glass

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 21, 2014 at 10:26pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1
  • Aperture
  • ISO50
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

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Attack on Gaijin

Attack on Titan

So what do you think of this incredible show? I’m so into it! I feel like an obsessed teenage girl or something haha… if you don’t know much about it, here is the trailer. The art style is incredible, and the story is really like nothing I’ve ever heard…

Daily Photo – Attack on Gaijin

So I was walking through a market in Tokyo and this crazy bird came started dive-bombing this food beside me. I quickly focused on the food (manual focus!) then panned the camera up to grab this. I cannot claim full credit for this being so sharp — I will gladly admit that it was Extremely Lucky! :)

Attack on Gaijin

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 20, 2014 at 8:07pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Awesome Car in Tokyo

Shooting in crazy conditions

This was a tough place to take a photo because of the conditions… basically, my only tip is to take a lot of photos and wait then flip through them all later in Lightroom and choose which one to work on! I took this video (and the photo below) with the Sony A7r and the NEX 10-18mm lens.

Daily Photo – Awesome Car in Tokyo

I showed this photo to a few people and they were like, “Oh, that's the blahbiteeblah!” I'm always so impressed when car people can immediately recognize some kind of crazy car. They know how many were made and all these nutty facts about them! Anyway, all I know is it was super awesome, and as you can see from the video above, it was in quite a dramatic setting!

Awesome Car in Tokyo

Awesome Car in Tokyo

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 19, 2014 at 9:47pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time8
  • Aperture9
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

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荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

The Neighborhoods of Tokyo

Tokyo has many different neighborhoods, and each one is honestly a city in itself. They are all crammed together, and each one is worth a visit. If you ever go to Tokyo, I think it’s worth staying at least a week and then hitting a different sub-city every day. Here’s a good listing of all the various neighborhoods!

Daily Photo – 荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

Here's a fun photo from my recent photowalk in Tokyo. I went there to give a speech at Google for the new “Cool Japan” marketing launch. Just beforehand, we all went on this photowalk in Asakusa.

Asakusa is a district in Taitō, Tokyo, Japan, most famous for the Sensō-ji, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. I want you to know that I copied that previous sentence straight from Wikipedia! Haha I never do that, but I decided to this time because it felt strange just to re-arrange the sentence and pass it off as my own. That's just lazy, you know. I guess what I did was pretty lazy too.

Anyway, Asakusa is a really awesome part of Tokyo, and I had never been there before. I have to go back!

荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

荒井沙織 with Umbrella in Asakusa

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 20, 2014 at 8:49pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO2500
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Girl alone in the Tokyo Subway

Black and White Photography

I don’t do it often, but when I do, I use Nik Silver Efex Pro — it’s really a great tool! They have a free demo if you’d like to download it and play with it some…

Daily Photo – Girl alone in the Tokyo Subway

On one of the many subway stops from Tokyo to Yokohama, I saw this young girl standing alone. Some stations are super-busy, and some are like ghost towns. This was a huge station, and it was totally empty except for this little girl, standing alone, playing her gameboy. She was standing so still, she almost looked like a painting on the column. I took this photo just before the doors on my train slid shut.

Girl alone in the Tokyo Subway

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 25, 2014 at 5:03pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1500
  • Aperture
  • ISO2000
  • Focal Length
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Ginza from High Above

Vertical Signs

When you see all these vertical signs stacked up there in the photo below, you might realize something that took me many trips to figure out! Since each of the buildings is quite tall, there are often different retail stores on each floor. So, each little square that is stacked up is actually a different sign for what is on the next subsequent floor.

Daily Photo – Ginza from High Above

This place was a bit tricky to reach!

I love going to Ginza at night (one of those many-neighborhoods in Tokyo I mentioned a few days ago). It's bright, colorful, and extremely clean. Well, all of Tokyo is clean, but especially this part. As I went down one of the little streets, I saw this high bridge up seven or eight stories. I climbed up through one of the nearby stores and tried to work my way back around to the right spot and eventually found it. When I got up there, I noticed the bridge had that diagonal thatchwork of metal wires embedded in the glass. But I opened up this lens all the way to f/1.4 and was able to see right through it!

Ginza from High Above

Photo Information

  • Date TakenMarch 24, 2014 at 11:35pm
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/250
  • Aperture
  • ISO1000
  • Focal Length0.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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