Photowalk: Yurakucho to Kanda in the rain

Shooting some street photography, catching the typhoon rain and showing Liam from Australia some good spots to shoot with telephoto lenses. A great afternoon out with the cameras and a chance to catch Tokyo in some unseasonal conditions.

With my now well publicized addiction to shooting umbrellas and rain in mind, Liam Griffith and I headed out for some street shooting. One of the main reasons was to catch some of the typhoon weather as it passed over Tokyo and we weren’t disappointed. I’d been out with Liam a few days before, helping him to shoot a bit of a project in Tsukiji and Ginza. You can see details of that day out, plus a lot of Liam’s shots, here. Yesterday we swapped the 50mm and wides for something a little longer, as I wanted Liam to get some time with the telephoto whilst he was in town and shooting with me.

Street photography, for me at least, sort of breaks down into shooting up-close and then stepping back. Think of it like fishing: walking the streets with a wide or a 50mm is like trawling. Putting the telephoto on is like finding a great point of the river, sitting down with the right bait, throwing your line out and waiting.

There are a hundred-and-one great spots for shooting in Tokyo’s streets. Each has its own character and I like to think of the whole city like the set of a movie; a vast set with different backdrops, lighting conditions and a cast of millions. My idea for this walk was to find streets that suited the longer lens. Streets with depth, a good flow of people and some good spots which afforded us cover for shooting in the rain.

We started in Yurakucho, walked along the Yaesu side of Tokyo station, through Nihombashi and ended up in Kanda. Great salaryman and office-lady action plus refined types, out shopping at Taashimaya, Mitsukoshi and the various traditional shops through the area.

In the gallery below you’ll find a bunch of my shots; Liam’s are in a gallery below. Here are some of the setups I wanted to show Liam, to train his eye up to spot similar places for his own telephoto shooting in the future:

  • Zebra-crossings with long streets behind them, giving left-to-right motion of people with a deep background of street behind, lined with tall buildings on each side, perfect for portrait-orientation shooting.
  • Areas of good foot-fall – often on the route from offices to stations or convenience-stores – with people moving in multiple directions, giving crowd depth and layers of people to shoot through.
  • The underneath of railway bridges and shop-front awnings, from which we could shoot out into the street and stay dry.
A few of Liam’s shots from the day are here:
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And here are my shots. A great day out. We got our rain and we stayed pretty dry.

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