Temple roof, momiji and red banner at Todoroki temple

Photography workshop: establishing a narrative in travel photography

Saturday December 5th, 2020

Oct.28th: This workshop is now 80% booked. If you want to attend, might be best to get in touch quickly. Thanks.

Establishing a Narrative in Travel Photography

Learning to visit a location and quickly figure out the way to tell a story about that place is a key skill for the travel photographer. We will be looking at how to turbocharge your ability to see both the big picture and the details, to create a creative set of photos with a strong narrative flow.

This one-day photowalk/workshop includes a subsequent group Zoom video chat (at a time 1week or so after the walk) to talk about the photos, discuss post-pro and do a few quick edits. Details of this event will be sent to all attendees after the walk.

Jōshinji Temple (九品山 唯在念佛院 淨眞寺 (浄真寺))
Todoroki Ravine

Both in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Meeting place: 

Kuhombutsu Station. Oimachi Line (local train only). Google map available here.

Meeting time: Saturday December 5th, 9am for a 9.30am start at the latest.

End time: approx 5pm or just as the daylight goes.

About the locations:

Joshinji (浄真寺), also known as Kuhonbutsu (九品仏), is a relatively large Jodo Buddhist temple which is a 3-min walk from Kuhonbutsu Station of the Tokyu Oimachi Line. This temple was established in 1678 and still maintains buildings erected in the Edo period. It’s a beautiful temple with large and beautiful grounds. In December the trees should be at peak colour. We’ll be here to shoot the buildings, the nature, the neighbourhood. To create a set of photos that tells the story of the place.

Todoroki Ravine is Tokyo’s only deep valley. It offers a beautiful escape from the bustle of busy city life whilst still being accessible from the centre of Tokyo. A natural river valley and two small shrines are on the lower level. Up a steep staircase, at the end of the ravine, we climb to Fudoson temple. The autumn leaf display throughout the ravine and at the shrine are superb.

What gear should I bring? Probably a good idea to bring something wide and something long. A 24-70mm lens, 24-105mm or similar would be good. If you shoot prime lenses, perhaps a 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm or 135mm would be good. Even am iPhone would also be ok. For Todoriki, a longer lens is also good (200 or 300mm). Lots of the trees are close to eye level and at the top shrine, where is a viewing deck which gives you great access to the top of the tree canopy.This is not really about gear, it’s about learning to see the story – even somewhere you’ve never been before –  and shoot a creative and informative set of photos in a short amount of time.

The Plan: We’ll meet at Kuhombutsu and shoot around there for a couple of hours, then walk to Todoroki. The temple complex at Kuhombutsu is all very close to the station there. From Kuhombutsu to Todoroki is about a 20min walk. There are a bunch of convenience stores, bakeries and a Seijoishi supermarket in Todoroki, all within 100m of the station. We’ll grab some lunch around here, find somewhere to sit and have a break before we walk the ravine. The ravine is a gentle walk.. Once down in it, the paths are good but narrow. Saturday should be less busy that Sunday but it’s likely there will be a lot of people. We’ll walk the river to the two small lower shrines, then climb the stairs up to the upper shrine. Not a crazy amount of walking for the day. All pretty relaxed. The Todoroki section of the day is, though, not suitable for people in wheelchairs or who need walking aids. 

Fees: This is a whole day event. Cost is 5000¥ per person. Not including lunch or transport. Cost includes a subsequent group Zoom video chat, to talk about the photos, discuss post-pro and do a few quick edits. Details of this event will be sent to all attendees after the walk.

Fees can be paid in advance by PayPal (extra 5% processing fee) or in cash on the day.

We try to be reasonable about cancellations. If you book but can’t make it, you have until 24hrs before the event to let us know. If you book but just don’t turn up, you will be liable for the full 5000¥ fee. 

Number of places available:

Health & Safety Information

In these interesting times, we obviously want to operate as safely as possible. Although we’ll be outside all day, we encourage you to wear a mask and bring hand sanitiser with you. We’ll endeavour to conduct our event safely, maintaining social distance whenever possible and behaving responsibly. Whilst on the walk we ask you to respect members of the general public and not let your photography get in the way of them going about their business. Please do not enter or encroach upon private property.

Reference material: 

A good selection of materials are here:

Video: https://youtu.be/LhguCKiF3Cw
Wiki: https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B9%9D%E5%93%81%E4%BB%8F%E6%B5%84%E7%9C%9F%E5%AF%BA

Official site: https://kuhombutsu.jp/guide/access/.

Here’s a little gallery of shots from 2019 and October of this year, which Alfie has shot in the Todoroki area.

How to book yourself a place:

Use the RSVP form below to book yourself a place on this walk. If you have any specific questions, please add them in the last field of the form. Thanks a lot. We’ll email you and arrange either an advance payment via PayPal or arrange for you to pay on the day.

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