A heron under a bridge on the Sumida River in Tokyo

Walking Workshop: Kinshicho-Oshiage-Kuramae-Asakusabashi


Seeing In Monochrome & Leading the Eye With Colour

One of the key skills to learn with photography is ‘pre-visualisation’: seeing the world in front of you as a finished photograph. With digital photography, anything is possible. And photos can be changed to monochrome very easily in software, afterwards. So, what is the benefit of shooting in black and white? My belief is that it helps you to concentrate on tone, shadow, light, lines, shape and form. By not concerning yourself with colour, you tend to concentrate more on the key elements of a good composition. After some time of shooting in monochrome, you also find it easier to see and be led towards the subjects that work in monochrome.

In tandem with this monochrome vision, we’ll be looking at ‘leading the eye with colour’. Photography is about finding interesting subjects and creating compositions that attract the eye of the viewer, keep them interested, move them around the frame. Even with simple subjects, your photo should tell a story. Today we will be looking at how to use strong colours to lead the eye of the viewer into and around your composition. We’ll be looking for photos that have strong colour combinations. Or where one colour dominates and attracts attention.

Zoom ‘show and tell’ online event included with this walk

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.


We’ll be walking a route I’ve done many, many times, which takes in the neighbourhoods of Kinshicho, Oshiage, Kuramae and Asakusabashi. Part of our walk will be along the Sumida River promenade.

By the most direct route, this wander is about 4.5kms. We’ll probably end up doing 6kms+ but it’s all tarmac roads and pavements and easy going.

Meeting place: 

North side of Kinshicho JR Station. Come outside the main exit on that side and we’ll be waiting out by the tree you see in this shot.

Walking Workshop: Kinshicho-Oshiage-Kuramae-Asakusabashi

Meeting time: Saturday November 7th, 9am for a 9.30am start at the latest.

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

What gear should I bring? This is not really about gear, it’s about learning to see and shoot a creative and informative set of photos using monochrome and colour settings. Even an iPhone or Android phone would be fine. But, if you have interchangeable lens cameras, my recommendation would be something like 35mm, 50mm and 135 or 200mm. You could bring any one of them and have a ton of fun. If you’re maniac, like me, bring them all!

The Plan: These neighbourhoods are ones I know intimately. And ones I love. This is not glitzy, polished, neon Tokyo. This is interesting, slightly grungy, shitamachi, north/east-side Tokyo.

In Kinshicho, for instance, there’s an awesome old car mechanic’s garage we’ll pass by, where U’ve seen everything from an Aston Martin DB5 to classic 1960s Japanese marques.

Like most of ‘off the beaten track Tokyo’, these neighbourhoods are a mix of residential and light industry. They are quiet and tranquil, brimming with stimulating photographic subjects for the curious eye.

Up in Oshiage, there are more cool little streets bordering the river and close to the SkyTree, offering some wonderfully unique views of the tower and – again – odd little curios.

Kuramae is a charming neighbourhood, which I’ve recently been in quite a lot. I wrote and shot a small neighbourhood guide for Housing Japan magazine recently, in Kuramae. You can see that here. Here’s a few iPhone shots from a recent walk there. By no means comprehensive. Just a few random shots. Included in here are a few shots from the delightful old street of Okazuyokocho, which we’ll aim to walk through as it7s on the way to Asakusabashi.

We’ll also aim to go down the Sumida River on the last part of the walk into Asakusbashi. Was down there recently on a day when the weather was superb, creating some amazing reflections. The expressway there is also being refurbished at the moment and there is great potential for some abstract shots, using the sides of the road and the buildings behind.

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. Otherwise, sorry, 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: 

Book yourself a place on this workshop

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