Japanorama For lovers of photography and Japan: photography in japan, photo tours in japan, photo agency in japan, learn photography in japan 2016-05-03T06:47:21Z http://www.japanorama.co.uk/feed/atom/ http://i2.wp.com/www.japanorama.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cropped-japanorama-www-icon-512x512.png?fit=32%2C32 Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Photo walks in Japan: off the beaten track in Kamakura]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1096 2016-05-03T06:47:21Z 2016-05-03T06:31:11Z

Kamakura makes a great day-trip from Tokyo but it’s good to get away from the main touristy areas. This walk is one I have been doing for years. It’s great in any season, takes you through some amazing but quiet and tranquil shrines and brings you out to the Kamakura’s north beach. 

Kamakura is rather small for a city but was first designated one in 1939. Historically it is best know for once being the de facto capital of Japan and one of the periods of Japanese history is named after it.

Kamakura today is popular for the giant buddha and for the countless shrines. It’s also a popular seaside resort but less so, perhaps, than the nearby island of Enoshima – to which it is joined by the charming ‘enoden’ train.

I first visited Kamakura in 2002 but it wasn’t until around 2009 that I discovered the route I’m going to map out for you below. Since finding this more tranquil side to the city, I rarely go back to the overcrowded areas which are popular with most visitors: the main shrines, the giant buddha etc. This is just my personal preference. There’s plenty to see on the main drag and also up in the charming satellite of Kita-kamakura. I just choose to stay away from the throng.

The route starts at the station and after wending your way a little out of the main part of town through a couple of curious shrines, you find yourself on a walk up into the forest which brings you to the first main stop on my route: Myohon-ji Temple.

I’ve spent hours at Myohon-ji. It’s a beautiful place in any season but autumn and spring are when you’ll see it at its best. In summer, though, the deep cover of green trees provides welcome respite from the heat.

The folks who tend to and run the temple are pretty laid-back. I’ve shot fashion and portraits there, some of which you can see in the galleries below. And as long as you’re not using stands or tripods up on the temple walkways, there’s really no problem with shooting there.

From Myohon-ji the route winds its way gradually towards the bottom of a large hill, where you’ll find the pretty temple of Chosho-ji.

Spend some time here as there are plenty of nooks and crannies to photograph, before heading up through the graveyard and over the hill.

At the top of the hill the route get a little complicated to follow, as the path narrows to what looks like an entrance into someone’s garden. But, shortly after that it widens out again and you’ll find yourself on the little road that heads all the way down the hill.

The residential areas at the bottom of the hill can be a little confusing to find your way out of but aim for Komyo-ji Temple, which is fairly easy to find.

Komyo-ji is quite a sprawling site and has a beautiful outer gate. Inside there are two quite distinct sections of the temple, both beautiful. At one side of the back of the temple is a large pond. On the other side, a stone garden.

It’s a place that, again, I’ve spent at least an hour photographing.

The map of my walk, with key waypoints marked:

Photowalk in Kamakura

Click here to visit the map on Google Maps.

From there it’s a five minute walk onto the North Beach which, in the summer, is covered with pop-up restaurants, bars and places you can rent a deck-chair and parasol.

I’ve generally started this the walk about 10am, taken it a relaxed pace, stopped at Myohon-ji for at least an hour, broken for a lunch bought from the Lawson convenience store in between Myohon-ji and Chosho-ji temples and it’s got me to the beach for sunset in the autumn and spring. Summer setting sun is a little later but in the summer there are plenty of ways to kill time on the beach until the sun drops…. with a drink or something to eat.

The sunset from the beach here is stunning if you get it on the right day, which I have been lucky enough to do a couple of times in my life. The view of Fuji across the bay is great, it’s a peaceful place [a little less so in the height of a summer weekend] and from the beach it’s an 40mins walk back to the station through some funky little backstreets.

Gallery of miscellaneous shots taken on the route:

kamakura_MMFC0021a kamakura_august2012_003 kamakura010510ALF_2624a kamakura_august2012_004 kamakura_august2012_001 kamakura_ALF0062a kamakura-ir-DSC_4586a kamakurawalk_1110_MMFC0050 kamakurawalk_1110_MMFC0041 kamakura_august2012_002 kamakurawalk_1110_ALF_7631 kamakura-ir-DSC_4614bsm kamakurawalk_1110_MMFC0002 kamakurawalk_1110_MMFC0001 kamakurawalk_1110_MMFC0011 kamakura_ALF0077 kamakurawalk_1110_MMFC0045 kamakurawalk_1110_MMFC0040 kamakurawalk_1110_MMFC0052 kamakurawalk_1110_MMFC0023 kamakura290410_MMFC0018 kamakura_august2012_005

Gallery of shots made with Mari at Myohon-ji, Chosho-ji, Komyo-ji and then at Hayama [about 20mins drive from Kamakura]:

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Fashion photography in Tokyo: Mari, one speed-light and some gels]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1065 2016-04-29T06:52:46Z 2016-04-29T06:47:16Z

It’s been quite a while since I went out shooting with Mari. We put that right yesterday, with a quick trip to Yurakucho.

I used to hate flash. Part of that is because, after something like 13 years of shooting only music photography, I was fed up with being told not to use it. Pretty much every gig I ever shot would be preceded by someone from the band’s PR or the venue coming out and saying ‘first three, no flash’. So I learned to shoot everything without flash.

Learning lighting at college was first done with constant lights which is a great way of learning. The flash work came after you’d got used to seeing the light, seeing the shadows, getting the angles right.

College was mostly about using flash in the studio. I don’t mind the studio but I much prefer working on location. The buzz for me is walking into a location with a model, clothes, the camera, a light or two and quickly coming up with the best way to use all of it to create something cool. Approaching a location that millions of folk might walk through every day [on their way to work, to go to the shops] and to turn it into something completely different, that makes people go ‘eh? that’s that place? I’d never have guessed…..’.

Mari and I met primarily for me to give her a few copies of the Housing Japan magazine, which she features in twice. As we find it impossible to be together and NOT shoot some photos, we decided to do that to. I never have to worry about telling Mari ‘to wear something that’s good to shoot in’, as she is the consummate professional and will always turn up in exactly the right ‘something’ anyway.

I was feeling slightly lazy and knew  that by the time we met I’d have a stack of heavy magazines in my bag, so I packed light on the gear front: Nikon D800e, 28-80mm G series variable-aperture zoom [the ‘plastic fantastic’, I call it], one SB-800 speed-light, a monopod, a clamp to mount the flash onto things, some gels.

There’s nothing like limiting your gear choices in order to squeeze out the creativity.

There were a few spots in the Tokyo International Forum that I’d wanted to shoot in with Mari and I’d recently sent her a photo of one, that I’d shot with my phone.

She came along yesterday dressed in a nice white ensemble: trousers, jacket and t-shirt. It sort of looked a little ‘Jedi meets couture’. Turned out that the lighting we used really helped the ‘sci-fi’ feeling.

We shot in five spots around the Forum, inside and semi-outside. Mostly inside as it was raining all day yesterday,

I either used the SB800 mounted on the clamp or on the monopod. Stands aren’t allowed at the Forum. Nothing resting on the ground, in fact. So when the security guards were close by, I had the foot of the monopod rested on my leg or foot. You can see the placement of the strobe on the clamp in this shot below: clamped onto the glass partition between the escalators. These clamps are great. Cheap, light and with a ball-head on them. I also had a 15degree grid on the flash. Ideally it would have been nice to have a higher angle on the light, clamped on the wall where I was shooting from. The SB800 just doesn’t have the throw for that, though.

strobe-position-ALF_8237

The monopod is fairly tall and makes for a great one-man-band rig. You can get it high above the model and lean it in to get a nice down-angle on the light, all with one hand whilst holding the camera in the other.

The gels are a set of Selens gels; about 25 colours in a wallet. I got them super cheap from Meking Studios’ store on ebay. Super easy to use, great variety of colours and colour-correction gels.

The whole set you see below took us just over an hour. Lots of fun.

How come the blue and red in some shots?

I work a lot with custom white-balance in the camera, usually beginning by using the Live View on the camera, setting the white-balance to the ‘Kelvin’ setting and then scrolling through the colour temperatures, whilst eyeballing the way the world in front of me changes colour on the screen of the camera.

Yesterday I was using colour temperatures of between 2500K and 3500K to get the ambient light a nice shade of blue, with a red gel on the flash. Red and blue are always good bed-fellows. The coour combo and Mari’s clothes really made for a nice sci-fi feel.

If you’re interested in booking me and a model for your own personal ‘use Tokyo as my studio’ session, drop me a line. I do lots of those sorts of lessons and ‘location shooting photo tours‘, exploring some cool spots across the city and using them all as locations for the model shots. It’s a lot of fun and usually teaches folk all sorts of things about how to see the potential in even the most ‘normal’ of locations. We usually shoot ambient and some flash.

Here’s the set of shots from yesterday’s outing with Mari:

mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8377a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8247a mari-hirao-internationa-forum-ALF_8308a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8319a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8340a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8380a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8270a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8326a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8275a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8237a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8349a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8398a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8392a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8355a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8337a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8336a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8365a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8351 mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8257a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8315a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8384a mari-hirao-international-forum-ALF_8247

 

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Creating a magazine for print: art-directing, shooting & designing for Housing Japan]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1055 2016-04-26T02:21:45Z 2016-04-26T02:11:27Z

Towards the end of 2015, I was asked by a Tokyo real-estate company I was shooting for to get involved and design the next issue of their magazine. It’s been a journey of a few months, but at the beginning of April the magazine was released and everyone’s happy with it. Result!

Prior to taking on the job of re-designing Housing Japan’s magazine, I’d made dozens of e-magazines and worked on components of the print magazine design process. So I knew how everything worked but hadn’t ever done it all myself.

There were some fairly targeted goals for the new mag, foremost of which was making it look more ‘editorial’ and less like a promotional publication. There’d been one key distribution location for the previous magazine where they’d felt it looked ‘too much like a catalogue’ to want to have it on display. Having them accept the re-designed magazine into their establishment gave me a huge sense of satisfaction.

Incorporating Housing Japan’s corporate colours into the magazine in a new way was something I wanted to do first. The multi-coloured swatch of purple, two shades of both blue and green is a nice palette to work with and my first thought was back to the Realworld music label created by Peter Gabriel, with whom I’d worked a lot during my time in the music business. Realworld releases were always very easy to spot on the shelves of the music store, even if you only had every piece of product displayed spine-on. The Realworld ‘colour bar’ was something that had always struck me as a great piece of very simple branding.

hjmag-spine

So the spine of the HJ magazine has a colour bar just like it. Thanks, Peter Gabriel and Realworld for the inspiration.

Next I went through a few font auditions. I like fonts. I’m a bit of a type geek.

We ended up with Lato for body text and the rest of the family was Raleway, Montserrat, Minion Pro and Varela Rounded.

For the features inside the magazine we had a long list of possible topics, subjects and people in our sights. That got paired down and modified over time but we still ended up with a nice blend of lifestyle, food, fashion and travel. Over the past two years I have shot for a lot of inflight magazine clients. They tend to ask for a lot of pictures, to cover a massive swathe of subjects around their core focus. Those shoots had left me with a lot of awesome material that they’d never used. Some of that has finally, now, made it out into the light inside of the Housing Japan magazine. There’s lots more left to publish, too… which is great.

Feature on Kobe beef and the chef at the Park Hyatt The inside of the feature about Norie One of Ben Torode's fabulous aerial images

To keep the production process as streamlined as possible for the first issue, it transpired that most of the photography inside was mine.

As well as items from my back-catalgoue, we shot some new material too: the feature on Norie is one that incorporates new shots and some from before. The cover was a new one, the first shot of a shoot that we did across Zojoji and Roppongi in three hours one recent morning.

The cover shot was very simple: Nikon D800E, Nikkor 36-72mm E series manual lens, one SB-800 flash on a monopod and shot through a 20degree grid.

The red there at Zojoji’s front gate is awesome. The top that Norie wore was chosen especially for this shot, adding a nice swatch of complimentary colours.

So that’s it really. Less writing, more chance for you to see the magazine for yourself.

At the foot of this page there’s an embed of it at Issuu.com. You can flip through it here or click to go direct to the Housing Japan magazine on Issuu.com

I’d like to take this last section to thank some key people:

Hashimoto-san at Housing Japan for commissioning me to do the work.

Adam German at the company, for taking a quick conversation outside over coffee and turning it into a commitment, for his support throughout the production process and for writing some of the key articles.

Robin Sakai at Housing Japan was my partner for the whole process, including helping out on the shoots we did. Robin’s been tireless in assisting me turn this magazine around and keeping me focused on all the key points.

Thanks to Ben Torode for letting us use two or three of his awesome aerial shots of Tokyo.

Thanks to Norie for the shoot and for being our cover girl.

Thanks to all of our advertisers.

Thanks to all of you who have picked up the magazine and read it so far.

I’m looking forward to making the next one!

Click here to visit Housing Japan magazine on Issuu.com

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Photo walks in Tokyo: the Old Tokaido Road, Shinagawa.]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=686 2016-04-26T00:15:05Z 2016-04-25T09:32:37Z

The Old Tokaido Road is the ancient route between Tokyo and Kyoto, which comprised of 53 stations [stages]. Stage 2 runs from Shinagawa to Suzugamori, where I live with my family. It’s an area I have explored a lot over the past 16 years and makes a wonderful photo walk.

There’s  a link at the bottom of this page, to a Google Map that I made, with the whole road and several of the key shrines marked,

The photos in the galleries below run from about 2002 all the way through to some I took a couple of days ago. The Tokaido Road from our house in Suzugamori is a superb route to walk, taking you through a lovely network of shrines, past small family-owned shops, a canal, over two rivers and into the glassy skyscraper district of Shinagawa Inter-City. It’s a route of visual diversity and contrast; peace and quiet and city bustle.

A mixed collection of photos from the Old Tokaido Road, from 2002 onwards:

honey-willy_MMFC0037 kitashinagawa_ALF3728c _ALF3372_blog_620 keihincanal_tachiaigawa_001 snow_kyutokkaido_iphone_IMG_3760 kitashinagawa_ALF3716 150113-snow__ALF1843_620px keihincanal_ALF7457a kitashinagawa_EPS6803_blog keihin-cosmos-nov2010_MMFC0039a chevycamaro_samezu aoyomonoyokocho_09100020-a keihincanal_tachiaigawa_003 keihincanal_tachiaigawa_005 aomonoyokocho_kagamimochi keihincanal_09100025 keihincanal_tachiaigawa_002 hosenji_bhuddas002a shinagawa-matsuri2011_MMFC0016 keihincanal_ALF4387bsm_a kitashinagawa_EPS6809_blog aomonoyokocho_shopsign0001 150113-snow__ALF1801-diptych kitashinagawa_EPS6806_blog that_coupe_001 hosenji_statues_yakuzabenz honda_n600_tokyo_001 shinagawa_jinja002 aomonoyokocho_shrine004 mita_ALF3537_01

Up until fairly recently, in the early 1960s when land reclamation to the east took off apace, the road was right next to the sea. You can still find remnants of that seaside culture: a piece of the old sea wall, carvings on a shrine that mark where once there was a fishmarket. Before Tsukiji Market, the main vendors of fish on Tokyo Bay worked around the Tokaido Road area. It was where the emperor came to fish. Place names like Samezu and Omori-kaigan hark back to a coastal culture. Some of the best seaweed was farmed in the area, all the way up the late 1950s.

A few photos of the glass, steel and modern textures of Shinagawa Inter-City and the area around the Konan exit of Shinagawa Station:

rb67-127mm_ALF_6360 shinagawa-intercity-ALF_8570 rb67-127mm_ALF_6348 shinagawa_EPS6846a_blog rb67-127mm_ALF_6344 shinagawa-intercity-DSC_5430_sq_620px shinagawa-intercity-ALF_8561_sq rb67-127mm_ALF_6300_620px shinagawa-intercity-DSC_5404 shinagawa_EPS6834_blog shinagawa_EPS6837_blog shinagawa-intercity-DSC_5430_sq shinagawa_EPS6856_blog shinagawa-intercity-DSC_5415 shinagawa-intercity-ALF_8609 shinagawa-intercity-door-diptych_780px shinagawa-intercity-DSC_5429 shinagawa_EPS7222 rb67-127mm_ALF_6371 shinagawa_EPS6824a_blog shinagawa-intercity-ALF_8588 shinagawa-intercity-DSC_5430_sq_780px shinagawa_EPS7200 shinagawa_ALF1583 shinagawa-intercity-DSC_5438 shinagawa_EPS6819_blog shinagawa-intercity-DSC_5405 shinagawa-multi_ALF4342

I love the walk and do it often. Along the way to Shinagawa are several of my favourite local spots to relax and chill-out: the Keihin Canal near Tachiaigawa and farther down the road, Ebara Shrine which sits on the Meguro River.

At New Year, my family and I walk the shrines of The Seven Gods of Good Fortune. Our new year’s eve is often spent, around the turn of midnight, at one or other of two special shrines which are both on the Tokaido Road.

A collection of fashion pictures made on the Keihin Canal & inside Shinagawa Inter-City:

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Fishmongers, vegetable shops, bicycle repairers and shops selling rice-crackers rub shoulders with a few new cafes, traditional guest-houses, dog-grooming salons and a host of characterful restaurants.

It’s a ‘down at home’ sort of place, quiet and peaceful but never more than two streets away from the main road to Yokohama: the Dai-Ichi Keihin.

A collection of photos I took a few days ago, whilst doing a photo tour with someone:

_DSC6203_blog _DSC6212_blog _DSC6213_blog _DSC6215_blog _DSC6224_blog _DSC6227_blog _DSC6229_blog _DSC6234_blog _DSC6235_blog _DSC6236_blog _DSC6241_blog _DSC6242_blog _DSC6244_blog _DSC6246_blog _DSC6248_blog _DSC6249_blog _DSC6253_blog _DSC6254_blog _DSC6257_blog _DSC6258_blog _DSC6259_blog _DSC6261_blog _DSC6262_blog _DSC6264_blog _DSC6267_blog _DSC6268_blog _DSC6269_blog _DSC6271_blog _DSC6277_blog IMG_0944_blog IMG_0953_blog IMG_0956_blog IMG_0958_blog IMG_0959_blog IMG_0969_blog IMG_0976_blog

Here’s the Google Map I made, which shows the route of the road all the way from Shinagawa to Suzugamori. Click the pic below to reach the map on Google.

Photo tours of Tokyo: The Old Tokaido Road

If you are interested in doing a photo tour of the area, drop me a line.

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Tokyo Is My Studio: feature in InTokyo magazine]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=426 2016-04-26T00:15:38Z 2016-04-18T05:46:08Z

New magazine from the creators of GaijinPot showcases work by Alfie Goodrich in its second issue.

“InTokyo is the new magazine from the creators of the GaijinPot website and they asked me to put together a feature about using Tokyo as a location for fashion shooting,’ comments photographer Alfie Goodrich.

“Since moving to Tokyo from the UK, I’ve been shooting a variety of material here but portraits and fashion using the city as a backdrop is definitely one of my favourite things to do.

“The cover photo is from a shoot I did with Akiko DuPont back in 2011, commissioned by a client in the USA who wanted a large mural for his sushi bar in Nashville, Tennessee. The final piece, shown below, used several photos we did during a shoot on a busy Tokyo station at rush-hour.

“We did the shoot with a mixture of Nikon and Mamiya digital cameras. No tripod or flash were used.”

zumi-zushi-mural

“The rest of this new magazine feature is put together from various shoots I’ve done together with Shinyong Lee, a singer, model and performer with whom I’ve worked a lot over the last few years.”

From the magazine:

Tokyo is a city I have known for 16 years and lived in for almost nine. My photography work here is varied, from events to fashion, cars to editorial, portraits to news. The one thing that is a constant is the city. For me Tokyo is like a movie lot, full of sets of various types and moods, styles and colours. All waiting for the actors to be ushered in. 

intokyo_02_akiko Tokyo oas my studio: InTokyo magazine featuring Shinyong Lee

Tips for shooting cinematic: think of all of your shots as telling a story. If you are using a model or shooting a friend, put a storyline in their head for them to imagine. Think about the background as much as the person. Shoot in the morning or in the 90mins around sunset, as the light is more dramatic. Look for patches of sunlight reflected from buildings. Shoot in contrasty monochrome or experiment with different colour spaces; a lot of cameras have film presets or allow you to load picture controls to do this. Long lenses compress perspective. Large apertures create shallow depth of field: both can look cinematic.”

You can pick up InTokyo, free, at various locations around Tokyo.

InTokyo Magazine: link includes a PDF download of the entire publication.

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Photographing Tsukiji Fish Market]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=231 2016-04-26T00:15:55Z 2016-04-16T13:19:25Z

 

Tsukiji is somewhere I’ve been visiting for about sixteen years, ever since first coming to Japan. Later this year it will move to a new site in Toyosu. Whilst there are many advantages of the market moving, the charm of the streets in the neighbourhood that surround the market itself will be lost forever when the traders take to their new home.

Part of the reason for the move is to provide a new, up to date home for the stallholders. On top of that, a new section of the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway will cut through the area. The absence of the market will also clear a huge area of land for new development. Construction is a massive business in Japan. Even at the time of the Bubble bursting in Japan’s economy, back in the 1990s, the country still spent more on concrete than America.

New development opportunities, the Olympics, progress… all publicly, officially cited reasons for the market moving. But one can’t deny that it’s a shame. And whilst Toyosu provides a shiny new home for Tsukiji and a chance for the neighbourhood there to flourish, the old streets of Tsukiji will change and die.

If you come to Tokyo this year then visit the market. Observe the rules, please, and remember that it’s a busy workplace for many.. not a theme-park for tourists. Be polite, considerate, enjoy the place in its last burst of life.

Here’s a small magazine I made some years ago, from some of my early shots at Tsukiji.

The gallery below contains a selection of shots I’ve made at the market over the years. Some go way back to the first trip, shot on film and here in the gallery as tiny scans.

A lot of the recent ones have just come straight out of the camera. I’ll probably get around to editing a lot more of the Tsukiji shots this year, as I’m trying to put together a few articles commissioned by various magazines.

A large chunk of the shots in the gallery were shot for The Wall Street Journal some years back, when I followed a leading sushi master around on his morning shopping trip and then back to his restaurant to shoot his team preparing lunch.

If you fancy experiencing Tsukiji with me, then drop me a line and we can make a tour there together.

wsj_sushiDSC_9025sm tsujiki_001 ALF_0609 DSC_8957 ALF_2525 tsukiji_2009_diptych agoodrich_tsukiji007 wsj_sushiDSC_8903sm ALF_0357 alfie-g-_DSC8721blog wsj_sushiDSC_8660sm ALF_2616 tsujiki_010 agoodrich_tsukiji006 _DSC5533_tsukiji wsj_sushiDSC_9160sm hashi_270508 tsukiji_bw_006 agoodrich_tsukiji009 wsj_sushiDSC_8700sm wsj_sushiDSC_9076sm wsj_sushiDSC_8953sm wsj_sushiDSC_8832sm wsj_sushiDSC_8696sm ALF_0547 tsukiji_DSC5491 tsujiki_006 alfie-g-_DSC8718blog agoodrich_tsukiji005 ALF_4180 ALF_0686 wsj_sushiDSC_8715sm tsujiki_016 wsj_sushiDSC_8868sm DSC_8667a wsj_sushiDSC_8791sm wsj_sushiDSC_9004sm agoodrich_tsukiji003 tsukiji_001 tsujiki_009 agoodrich_tsukiji002 ALF_0597 tsujiki_014 _DSC5558_tsukiji wsj_sushiDSC_8698sm tsujiki_031 tsujiki_021 wsj_sushiDSC_8860sm wsj_sushiDSC_9013sm wsj_sushiDSC_8894sm alfie-g-_DSC8723blog wsj_sushiDSC_8854sm ALF_2541 ALF_2628 wsj_sushiDSC_9194sm ALF_0575 _DSC5587_tsukiji wsj_sushiDSC_8977sm tsujiki_015 wsj_sushiDSC_8917sm _DSC9528_tsukiji DSC_6043_tsukiji DSC_8658a ALF_0589 tsujiki_027 ALF_0571 DSC_3781 tsukiji_110809_002 _DSC5510_tsukiji DSC_5970 agoodrich_tsukiji000 wsj_sushiDSC_9000sm _DSC5547_tsukiji wsj_sushiDSC_8774sm ALF_4159 ALF_2531 ALF_2536 _DSC5537_tsukiji DSC_5967_tsukiji wsj_sushiDSC_9098sm wsj_sushiDSC_9028sm DSC_8807a ALF_4182 alfie-g-_DSC8720blog DSC_5997_tsukiji tsujiki_007 wsj_sushiDSC_9103sm ALF_2629 wsj_sushiDSC_9183sm wsj_sushiDSC_8887sm alfie-g-_DSC8728blog _DSC9519a_tsukiji tsukiji_DSC_2067 ALF_2520 ALF_0614 DSC_8730 ALF_4176 DSC_8785 DSC_7371 wsj_sushiDSC_8768sm agoodrich_tsukiji008 agoodrich_tsukiji001 wsj_sushi_spread ALF_0525 wsj_sushiDSC_9007sm agoodrich_tsukiji004 alfie-g-_DSC8722blog tsujiki_032 tsukiji_001 DSC_6006_tsukiji wsj_sushiDSC_9112sm wsj_sushi wsj_sushiDSC_8709sm wsj_sushiDSC_8961sm wsj_sushiDSC_8913sm wsj_sushiDSC_8883sm ALF_0396 ALF_4206 _DSC5591_tsukiji DSC_2743 wsj_sushiDSC_8717sm DSC_9180 ALF_4231 wsj_sushiDSC_9068sm wsj_sushiDSC_8911sm ALF_0688 crossing270508 wsj_sushiDSC_9187sm tsujiki_008 wsj_sushiDSC_8730sm wsj_sushiDSC_9097sm _DSC5511_tsukiji tuna_tsukiji agoodrich_tsukiji010 wsj_sushiDSC_8799sm ]]>
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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Photographing Sensoji & Asakusa]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=212 2016-04-26T00:20:45Z 2016-04-16T08:40:50Z

Sensoji Temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo might be one of the most touristy places in the city but it’s always a good place to go and shoot.

Asakusa is a place I typically only go when I am working, whether it is doing a tour for someone or shooting there for a commercial client.

Late afternoon light is the best, as it streams through the back of the incense burner and renders the area where the people wash their hands superbly, flooding it with great backlight with which to increase focus on the water especially.

It’s a very touristy part of Tokyo but it has its charm and it’s a place where there are some iconic shots to get. Re-visiting the spots I like best there, to try and get something different or just to improve on what I already have, is a constant pleasure.

The smoke of the burner is always a challenge and typically I am shooting with as wide a lens as I have in the bag, often putting the camera down into the ash pit to get the best angle.

The hand-washing area is somewhere I’d always usually shoot with the 50mm; the f/1.2 version if I have it on me.

Inside the temple you can always get some great shots of people throwing their money in and praying. The backdrop is superb and although the dynamic range is tricky, you can get some great shots using the backlight and still getting the shrine roofs of outside.

A couple of shots in the gallery below go back 16 years, when I was shooting on film. Most, though, are very recent.

In the article about photowalks and tours in Tokyo, you’ll find a magazine I made with Shelly Han, who was in Tokyo last year when she took a tour with me. We concentrated on Sensoji and the areas between Asakusa and Ueno. Check her magazine out. Very nice work.

A Gallery of Shots From Sensoji & Asakusa

ag_asakusa_ALF9121_01 alfie-g-_DSC8770blog alfie-g-_DSC8760blog alfie-g-_DSC8803blog asakusa_ALF9452a prayers_asakusa alfie-g-_DSC8776blog asakusa_okiome_diptych_0612 alfie-g-_DSC8785blog asakusa_ALF9475 asakusa_DSC4754 alfie-g-_DSC8761blog alfie-g-_DSC8759blog alfie-g-_DSC8765blog uncibiru_006 alfie-g-_DSC8801blog ]]>
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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Shooting fashion photography with the Enevu Cube Light]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1051 2016-03-07T10:20:10Z 2016-03-07T10:20:10Z

The Enevu Cube light is a cool new product that I just got my hands on here in Tokyo. Being a snapper, I decided to try it out with some night-time photography. A couple of nights ago, Norie and I hooked up in Roppongi for a few snaps….

I recently got sent two Enevu Cube lights: one with the white base and one black. We’ve had some fun with them at home already. My daughter recently built a little den and the Enevu looks great lighting that up. I’ll get a shot of that soon; she needs to tidy it up a bit first!

We’ve also used the Enevu Cube for a bunch of other stuff: a reading light in bed [the light has a little hook to hang it up], a soft light for late at night mellow time in our living-room, both lights set to their ‘coloured’ mode on the table for some mood after dinner.

The Enevu Cube has three white-light settings: dim, medium and bright. Then you have a colour mode, with the light cycling through pink, red, orange, blue and green [and subtle shades in between each]. Once the light reaches a colour you like, one more press of the button on the base of the light locks your chosen colour.

Simple design, runs on AAA batteries, great colours, nice clean white light [especially for photography].

We’ve already absorbed the lights into our life in the house and outside.

Norie and I also had a lot of fun shooting with the one light. I wanted to get out to shoot with both… but my daughter has basically taken possession of the other one and won’t let it go!

I look forward to getting a few more and doing something more creative with them on location at night.

But, even with one light we had some fun.

All pics shot with the Nikon D3S, Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 Ai. The colour and monochrome settings were all done in-camera.

Tokyo Night Street Fashion Photography with Norie and the Enevu Cube Light

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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[iPhone Photography in Tokyo: a feature for InTokyo magazine]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=1049 2016-03-07T10:17:24Z 2016-03-07T10:17:24Z

I love using the phone to take photos of my world. It’s convenient, quick and as I usually post to Instagram only in square format, it has some great limiting parameters which are good for my eye.

I’ve been stopped in the street by one or two people; Hasselblad slung over my shoulder whilst taking a picture with my phone. It’s an odd scene, I’ll grant you. The question usually goes like this:

“Why TF are you shooting with an iPhone when you have a Hasselblad?”

There are sometimes other suffixes to the question:

“….you f**king idiot.”

“…you don’t deserve that Hasselblad.”

etc etc

There are several answers I give, depending on how the question has been asked:

“Typically I am walking around with the 80mm lens on my Hasselblad H4D-40. So there’s one reason for you: the Hassie’s 80mm [50mm equivalent] compared to the phone’s 28mm.”

“The Hassie isn’t connected to the Internet.”

“I choose to use whatever camera I want, whenever I want to.”

“Piss off.”

I was off Instagram for a couple of years. It was a ‘throwing my toys out of the play-pen’ thing. I’ve been back for a year and I’m enjoying it.

Apart from Instagram, I’m using the iPhone every day to collect things I want to remember for another day:

  • good light
  • interesting locations
  • spots to shoot with models
  • location-scouting pics of stuff I need to put on a map for clients

The latter is helped greatly by a superb free app called ‘Koredoko‘, which puts your pics on a map and from which you can outboard everything to KML and Google Maps.

So, enjoy your photography, enjoy your city and don’t let people give you shit about using the phone not being ‘real photography’.

The pages from the magazine

Feature on mobile phone photography for InTokyo magazineHere’s the piece I wrote to go with the pics in the recent InTokyo magazine:

As photography has become increasingly popular, so has photo gear. With a daily bag that could contain anything from a digital Hasselblad, three Nikon DSLR bodies and ten lenses, I might be considered the last person to be saying ‘it’s not all about the gear’. But it isn’t. Sure, great gear on top of a great eye can make for an amazing mix. But it really depends what you want to shoot, how and when. There are many times I’m out with the Hasselblad and I’ll go to the iPhone for a shot. Typically I have either an 80mm, 210 or 300mm on the Hassie. If I see something I want to shoot and need 28mm, then it’s the phone I reach for.

I also use the phone for all my location-scouting trips as, combined with a free app called ‘Koredoko’, I can record all the locations of the photos and outboard them to a Google Map. Great for showing clients the spots we’ll be shooting in or where we’ll be parking the van for the models hair and makeup people. I also use the phone to remember great spots that I want to go back to and shoot with other gear. I use it to record the light at certain time in specific places. I use Instagram and I love to shoot in squares as it takes me back to shooting with my old twin-lens Rolleicord and film Hasselblads. The phone is great for learning composition, too: a small piece of the world on the screen, easy to see how it looks when cut out from the rest of the world around.

The main thing is that taking pictures should be fun. So, get out there and enjoy Tokyo with your camera, whether it be a phone or a Hasselblad. The big thing is learning to stop great moments, frame up chunks of the world and to enjoy seeing the world frozen for a split-second. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that shooting with a phone is not ‘real photography’. It’s never all about any one thing, especially not the gear.

A gallery of all the shots featured in the article [and a few others], all made with the iPhone and mainly processed in Instagram

iphone_IMG_0671 iphone_IMG_0853 iphone_IMG_0567 iphone_IMG_0690 iphone_IMG_0369 iphone_IMG_0851 iphone_IMG_0625 iphone_IMG_0518 iphone_IMG_1440 iphone_IMG_3093 iphone_IMG_9540 iphone_IMG_0873 iphone_IMG_1390 iphone_IMG_1327 iphone_IMG_0075 iphone_IMG_2377 iphone_IMG_0325 iphone_IMG_9059 iphone_IMG_3404 iphone_IMG_1441 iphone_IMG_0566 iphone_IMG_3288 iphone_IMG_0576 iphone_IMG_2039 iphone_IMG_0304 iphone_IMG_2004 iphone_IMG_3286 iphone_IMG_3363 iphone_IMG_1323 iphone_IMG_1904 iphone_IMG_0646 iphone_IMG_2381 iphone_IMG_0356 iphone_IMG_9936 iphone_IMG_1043 iphone_IMG_2572 iphone_IMG_1015 iphone_IMG_0276 iphone_IMG_2460 iphone_IMG_2124 iphone_IMG_2747 iphone_IMG_0452 iphone_IMG_0448 iphone_IMG_0138 iphone_IMG_3118 iphone_IMG_0579 iphone_IMG_0403 iphone_IMG_2800 iphone_IMG_0749 iphone_IMG_1661 iphone_IMG_9404 iphone_IMG_0196 iphone_IMG_9338 iphone_IMG_0800 iphone_IMG_0824 iphone_IMG_0346 iphone_IMG_0786 iphone_IMG_0575 iphone_IMG_1011 iphone_IMG_0203 ]]>
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Alfie http://alfie.photography <![CDATA[Ambient Music by Alfie Goodrich: “First Steps Outside”]]> http://www.japanorama.co.uk/?p=942 2016-02-09T06:07:00Z 2016-02-09T05:59:41Z

After an extremely long break, I’ve recently started making electronic music again. It’s so far proving to be a lot of fun. 

In the late 1990s, I got my first home PC and with it copies of a few pieces of music software, including Reason, Acid Loops and one or two more.

As a young kid I loved messing around with my dad’s Betamax VCR which had an ‘audio dub’ feature on it. Taking bits and pieces of feature-films, cutting them and editing them into short trailers, then dubbing over music: one or two summers between the ages of 10 and 13, it became quite an obsession.

A couple of years ago I bought a Zoom H4n audio recorder.

More recently I got Garage Band for the Mac.

A few trips to the recycle shop here in Japan, Hard Off, added a really nice Roland A-49 midi keyboard and a fot pedal into the mix.

I’ve also been collecting samples and recording my own, with the H4n out and about in Tokyo.

A buddy has used a track I made for one of his time-lapse movies.

Mostly it’s just a bit of fun for me but I do plan, in the future, to get more into being involved with making short films and I can see the music as a very integral part of that experiment for me.

This track was made with some astronaut audio loops and all done via Garage Band.

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