Join me this weekend for a day of learning how to see with the longer lenses in your bag and discovering a way to cut through the busy visual landscape of Tokyo to reveal exciting details.

Update 22nd Jan: The event will now take place on Sunday. It proved to be the most popular day out of the two choices. Thanks.

I’ve been shooting with longer lenses (135mm and over) since I was about 18. I first started using them as part of the music photography I was shooting. These days I use them for everything, from portraits to architecture, travel to cars, fashion to food.

In the years I’ve been teaching, I’ve come across a lot of folks – from beginners to pros – who’ve bought a camera body that’s come with a couple of lenses: usually a wide zoom (24-70, 18-55) and a long zoom (55-200, 80-200 or 28-300). The longer of the two often languishes in the bag, rarely used and mostly misunderstood.

Not to worry if you don’t have a telephoto, we have a few….

On this workshop we’ll be aiming to either refresh your relationship with a long lens you rarely use. Or, to introduce you to shooting telephotos for the first time.

If you think you don’t have the gear to make the best of this workshop, we have some you can use. Just let us know when you sign up whether you have any long lenses or not. We’ll be bringing gear that people can use and share.

Not just about seeing a long way, but about isolating the action

Telephoto lenses aren’t just for seeing a long way. They are of course good at that but for me they are as much about picking out details in a busy scene, in order to give them more of a life of their own.

The city, especially a city like Tokyo, can be a busy and chaotic visual landscape. Sometimes the best thing is to cut through that chaos and pick out the details that catch your eye.

Longer lenses also compress perspective and flatten out the depth in a scene. This can be very useful for accentuating specific details and telling certain parts of a visual narrative.

Here’s a few photos of mine, all taken with lenses of 250mm or longer: these shots are primarily of things as that’s what we’ll be concentrating on during the event.

(scroll down for details of the workshop itself)

What’s this workshop all about?

We’ll be aiming to get you comfortable with the telephoto lens, encouraging you to use it more often, helping you see with it better. The goal of the event is to get you some great photos and help you start seeing the city with your eyes as if you’re looking through lens. Understanding the potential of your gear and pre-visualising is key to unlocking the picture you have in your head and allowing you to capture it with your camera.

But I don’t have loads of fancy gear….

If you’ve bought yourself a DSLR camera and kit lenses, chances are you have a longer, telephoto zoom lens. But, if you don’t have one and have never even tried one, don’t worry, we have a couple of spare Nikon camera bodies, 135, 200 and 300mm lenses. Alfie also has a 250mm lens for his Hasselblad. You’ll be able to use any of this gear under his supervision. Just mention in your signup form about needing to borrow our gear.

When we will be meeting and where?

I often find that if I schedule a workshop for a Saturday, loads of people say Sunday would be better and vice-versa. So, on the signup form below there is a box to check for Saturday or Sunday. If there are enough people for each, I’ll run the workshop on both days. If there are more for one day than another, I’ll mail you all asap and let you know which day the workshop will be.

We’ll be meeting at 10.30am on the day.

Meeting place will be Shinjuku Station, on the west side by the Odakyu Ground Level exit. The meetup location is marked on a map you can find by clicking here.

The ground level exit is as you see in this grab from Google Streetview:

Where will we be going and when does the event end?

We’ll take advantage of the free entry to Tocho and visit the 45th floor viewing gallery first, shooting from there for an hour before we move on. After that, we’ll do a little more around Shinjuku before moving by train to Tokyo. We’ll spend a few hours then shooting around Tokyo, Ginza and Shiodome.

The event will end just after Blue Hour, around 5.30-6pm.

Will there be any time spent together after we finish shooting?

For those that have time and who want to stay on, we’ll go to a large but cosy, traditional izakaya in Yurakucho for a drink and chat. The place is a favourite of mine, has large tables and lots of space and a great atmosphere. You can see some details about it here.

How much does the workshop cost for the day?

The cost for each person is 7000¥

How many places are available?

The workshop will have a maximum of eight people.

Please use this signup form to register and ask any questions:

10th February Workshop Signup
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Thanks a lot. Look forward to seeing you on the weekend.