Kyoto Station Evening at 300mm f/2
Observation Platform of Kyoto Tower, across the street -- Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1000 sec, f/2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Observation Platform
of Kyoto Tower, across the street

This post follows parts one and two, of some pseudo street photography with the Nikkor 300mm f/2 lens. I used a monopod for these photos, taken in and around Kyoto Station.

Base of the tower -- Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/800 sec, f/2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Base
of the tower

I really like the architecture of Kyoto Station, and it likely lends itself to being exploited by a 300mm f/2 lens, but I didn't do it justice and all these photos are fairly boring. But this is a “story” blog, not a “photo” blog, so I'll continue the story of my first day with this lens...

Man of Mystery -- Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1000 sec, f/2, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Man of Mystery
Youth -- Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Youth
Descent -- Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/200 sec, f/2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Descent
Ascent -- Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/250 sec, f/2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Ascent

I had hopes that the effect would be interesting, of focusing on someone when they were only half visible, still far from the end of the escalator. But I see that it's not.

For this next one, since everything was pretty far away, I thought I'd see whether a smaller aperture (f/5.6 rather than f/2) might make things look better, but it seems pretty boring either way...

Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/100 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos

This next angle shows some promise, though it still needs to be “made” by some particularly interesting nature of the people, which I didn't get here...

Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/50 sec, f/2, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos

Still, it's not too bad for 1/50th of a second at 300mm. As I said, I was using a monopod.

Flauting the Rule? -- Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/60 sec, f/2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Flauting the Rule?

At one point a pair of security guards approached and asked why I was taking photos. When they realized that I was not a pro, but just snapping photos for myself, they said fine and left me to continue. But five minutes later, several levels down, another (younger) pair approached and told me to stop. When I told them that I was just told it was okay, they claimed not to know who might have said that, and asked me to stop.

People are taking photos here 24/7, such as the guy in the picture above, so his request seemed inconsistent with both his co-worker and the obvious reality. But it's not my land, and he represents the land's owner, so I left.

I'm curious as to what the official policy actually is, but I couldn't find it on their website. It's probably something purposefully vague along the lines of “so long as you don't bother others”, which leaves it up to the discretion of each employee to enforce as they see fit, in which case my experience wasn't inconsistent. Who knows....

So, I went outside and tried a few there...

Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/80 sec, f/2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto Station (京都駅) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/50 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

It had been a long day, and I had an even longer one coming up the next day (about which I will have at least a dozen posts, I'm sure), so I lugged myself home to bed.

Continued here...


All 10 comments so far, oldest first...

The sixth photo should be titled “AsCent” unless you’re inferring something else.

I was trying to infer that I’m a poor speller. How did I do? (thanks, fixed) —Jeffrey

— comment by Jim on May 9th, 2011 at 7:33pm JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

The entire concept of a consistent, objective law or rule that can be applied repeatedly with the same results is a strictly Western, reductionist way of thinking. Japanese people apply their holistic intuition to each situation and arrive at the naturally right action without being bound by manichean notions of “correct” and “incorrect.”

— comment by Zak on May 9th, 2011 at 8:00pm JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

And, insofar as it is public property, it IS your land as much as it is anyone’s. It was literally built with your money.

It may have been built with my money, but it’s owned by a private company. —Jeffrey

— comment by Zak on May 9th, 2011 at 8:03pm JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

That is really a great Photo the “Man of Mystery”!

I’m sure, that a Japanese will say: “What a luck, that the security guard does not asked you to delete this Photos.” 😉

— comment by Ralph on May 9th, 2011 at 11:55pm JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, I think that in London, anyone taking photos in a railway station with a power lens like you were doing would be moved on for security reasons. Politely one would hope! In other places you’d probably just get arrested as a suspected terrorist and your equipment confiscated. Perhaps Japan is a gentler more forgiving place after all!
Good luck and keep on snapping – I’m even enjoying the ones you think ain’t so great. 🙂
Annie
PS I was in central London right at the heart of Westminster under building lock down when we had our 7/7 bombings

— comment by Annie in London on May 10th, 2011 at 2:14am JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

What a lens!!
The images remind me of my time in Kyoto, is there still a small photographic booth/store in the station??

The next building immediately west of the station is a huge electronics store, with the entire 2nd floor dedicated to photography. I don’t know of one inside the station building itself, but it’s a sufficiently huge/complex building that it wouldn’t surprise me to find a few in there that I hadn’t noticed. —Jeffrey

— comment by Geoff Walker on May 10th, 2011 at 6:00am JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Nice brilliant color in Observation Tower. The dark blue and orange are great and the rosey pink on the white column is a nice subtle touch that others would bleach out.

It seems like the challenge of ‘street photography’ is to get those engaging sites of people that will ultimately engage the viewer. Not to be critical, but the shots, especially of women from behind, –I dunno they just give you that lonely creep feel. I applaud you for getting shots of people’s faces/fronts and actually talking to some of your subjects. You’ve seen too many of those ‘art school’ photo blogs where the street photographer takes photos of the side walk, found art, old signs and lonely bokeh still-lifes and of course plenty of shots of women from behind. Not to say they are bad but that has been done so much. Extra points to you for getting some engaging shots being a tall white outsider with a big imposing camera instead of the creeping camera nerd with an old leica or some other art skool rangefinder. The vivid color is also a welcome change from that bleached out Polaroid color often seen in the art skool/street photographer usual suspects.

I had to go back and see what creepy shot you referred to with the “woman from behind” shot, and the only one I can think you’re referring to is the one facing down a loooooong set of stairs, with one tiny person framed at the bottom, so very far away. Is that it? I really don’t think that it’s creepy (or that I was being creepy, something I definitely took explicit steps not to be), but like “art”, “creepy” is in the mind of the viewer, so if a lot (or even a few) people agree with you, I will have learned something. —Jeffrey

— comment by Ron Evans on May 10th, 2011 at 12:29pm JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

You are definitely not creepy nor the creepy type. Unfortunately, many street photographer images of random women from behind can convey that feeling. You mentioned briefly in your post the challenge of street photography (not too close but not too far) and I applaud you for wrestling with the challenge. The easy way out would be to shoot everybody w/o them knowing it but you didn’t do that. Its kind of like shooting, kids, flowers and pets… since it is so prevalent it can become cliched but NOT due to the photographer but just because its common. In the same way, you are NOT a creep. 🙂 But since the random shot of woman from behind is a common street photographer MO, that particular image can evoke those negative emotional responses. But please keep shooting and keep listening to that inner voice. You have a unique and unfettered style that does not get weighted down with contrived artistic motivations or easily discernable imitation of other peoples’ styles.

— comment by Ron Evans on May 11th, 2011 at 3:23am JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Sorry to bring this up again. For what its worth, there is a photo blog by a guy in Kagoshima called This Is Our Music. I like to look at his blog because he shoots Japan, with a Ricoh GXR and a Pentax K7 (My cameras). He also does a lot of street photography. I like his site because you can see his struggle. -> I don’t think he’s some spectacular photographer but its compelling to see him wrestle with the craft/artform. Sometimes he really hits and sometimes he dreadfully misses. Similar to you though, its very exciting to see a particular style begin to emerge. Its even more exciting when you are not trying to have a style (this is more you than him). The other thing you see in his blog is the challenge of street photography-> how do you get shots that don’t have that lonely voyeur quality? Here is a recent post of his: http://this-is-our-music.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/2011/06/ill-remember-ap.html (View it via your RSS Reader to see multiple posts easier) By the way, in light of what you shared about that other guy’s photo blog and his subsequent banning your posts… -> I’m not trying to pump this other photo blog, I genuinely think its apropos to this post but ultimately please check out the site to see someone trying to work out the street photo thing… I won’t be miffed at all if this doesn’t get posted.

That blog is indeed a good example of the kind of photography that I just don’t get, but I understand the appeal of watching someone’s style evolve. However, your comments at the end really confuse me… why would I possibly want to censor this comment? It took me quite a while to figure out what you meant about “photo blog banning my posts”, and the only thing I can think you might be referring to is that Lightroom blog issue, but I can’t figure out what relevance it has to this post or your comment, so I remain confused. —Jeffrey

— comment by Ron Evans on June 3rd, 2011 at 2:45am JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Sorry for the confusion. In some of your posts you mention possibly being blocked from Scott Kelby’s sites possibly because of your posts about his false/advertising OR because you included a web address in your comment. You also mentioned in your posts that you liked web address posts as long as they were not spam attempts or attempts at free advertising. In mentioning that Street Photography blog –I didn’t know if the post would be seen as relevant or as some a cheap advertising attempt. Ultimately I wanted you to see the blog. And your ‘not getting photography like that’ to me illustrates the challenge to overcome in a lot of street photography. I share your sentiments. Again, sorry for the confusion.

— comment by Ron Evans on June 4th, 2011 at 4:50am JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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