Posts Tagged ‘Osaka’
One thing about Japan, there are plenty of trains to look at. From quaint narrow gauge systems that take you up into the mountains to the very latest “Bullet Trains”, one is never bored looking at and shooting trains. And people that are naturally found around train stations. These photos were taken earlier this year and are good examples of addressing perspective. By virtue of their length and narrow footprint, trains naturally draw your attention to the subject of your photos. When shooting trains, quickly figure out the subject of the shot and use the train’s vanishing point to focus attention on the subject. Of course, the same goes for any scene with strong bold lines.
All photos were shot with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24mm f/1.4 lens or Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.
Bicycles are still a way of life in Japan. For all the technological sophistication in Japan, Japanese are still practical when it comes to transportation. And since bicycles are one of the best ways to get around in crowded streets, you see bicycles everywhere. I like photographing the haphazard way bicycles are sometimes parked. These photos were taken in a ten square block area near my hotel.
And remember to use light and shadow to your advantage. And experiment when composing your photos. Digital photography allows you to shoot to your heart’s delight.
Most visitors to Japan go to the major temples and shrine as these locations are suggested by hotels, tour guides and others. However in nearly all neighborhoods in Japan, there are local shrines and temples that can be interesting to visit and to photograph. Ohatsu Tenjin Shrine is such a place.
When I asked the concierge at my hotel for the nearest shrine, he said that there are no interesting shrines in the area and that I should visit Nara or Kyoto, both of which are some distance from Osaka.
After I suggested I wanted to visit a local shrine, he pointed me to this location. It is situated in the boisterous entertainment zone near the Osaka train station yet retains a quiet almost meditative sense in the midst of Pachinko parlours, nightclubs and bars. It’s worth a visit if only to take photos.
I believe that the best lenses for the M8 are wide angle lenses. Because the M8 has a 1.3 crop factor, for me, the 35mm is not wide enough. As a result I rely on Carl Zeiss Biogon lenses, the 21mm f/2.8 and the 28mm f/2.8 to fulfill my wide angle needs. I also have a Voightlander Ultron 28mm f/2 and a a Voightlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5 that perform some duty.
My favorite of the quartet is the 21mm as I find the resolution very sharp and the wide depth of field very useful. Of course, the Heliar DOF bests the Carl Zeiss but its widest aperture at f/4.5 leaves it just a tad short.
Now, there are obviously more scholarly analysis and testing of the 21mm and if you search the web, you read to your heart’s delight about this lens.
The following photos are an example of the capabilities of the lens (and the Leica sensor).
Before a recent journey to Osaka, I spent some time researching used camera shops that I might be able to visit. Osaka is not Tokyo when it comes to used cameras, however, it does have a thriving business that will not disappoint you should you find yourself in Osaka. And as luck would have it, I was staying within three blocks of most of the used camera shops in downtown Osaka.
I had contact with Kazuki Matsumoto of Matsumoto Camera several months ago when I was looking for a Leica 21mm lens. At the time I was in Tokyo and hadn’t realized that he was located in Osaka until I spoke with him. By the way, for those of you who are not Japanese speaking, Matsumoto-san speaks fluent English. (However his website is strictly Japanese.)
After I arrived in Osaka, I called Matsumoto-san and found out that he had sold his Noctilux. He did have a 75mm f/1.4 Summilux in stock which was my second choice.
I ended up visiting and calling ten shops in the immediate area and ended up at Ohbayashi Camera, which by coincidence, is in the same building as Matsumoto Camera. (Note that Ohbayashi’s website is also in Japanese. Additonal information in English can be found here.) Ohbayahsi is a larger store that also sells new cameras and photographic equipment. However, their selection of used Leica, as well as, other gear is huge. You will find it hard to leave the store without buying something.
Well, I ended up buying the Noctilux at Ohbayashi. They even had the Leica IR/UV cut filter in the 60mm size for the Noctilux. As that particular size filter has limited duty with Leica lenses, the fact that they had one in stock speaks volumes about their inventory.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening shooting everything in sight. Although the Noctilux is known for its bokeh, where it really shines is nighttime shots what with its f/1 lens.
The only difficulty in using the lens is its narrow depth of field wide open so that it can be a bit hard to focus. It came into its element at night when almost every shot, no matter how dark could be made handheld. Check out the photos and their specs below.
Ohbayashi Camera is easy to find as it’s on a prominent ground-level corner of the Osakaekimae Dae 2 Building. Matsumoto Camera is located on the second floor at the back of the same building.
Also in the area are many shops selling less expensive used equipment. Just prowling the area may lead you to a bargain or two. Just on the ground level of the Osakaekimae Dae 2 building are three additional shops selling vintage gear. There is also shops in Dae 1 across the street.
(Note that this area of Osaka is within walking distance from the Ritz Carlton, Hilton and Crowne Plaza Hotels.)
A short distance from the main Osaka JR station and adjacent to the Higashiumeda subway station is an entertainment complex that runs for several blocks. It is replete with many Japanese slot machine outlets, referred to as pachinko parlors, that offer prizes that you later exchange for cash (because gambling is illegal). But this area is not one-dimensional as there are many restaurants, bars, and other sorts of businesses that are popular afterhours activities in this area.
The area is well-lit and garish and for that reason is an interesting place to photograph. I used a M8 with a Voightlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5 for all these photos. It is an excellent choice as the depth of field at f/4.5 is .8 meters to infinity. You don’t have to be concerned about focusing your lens and you can bring the camera to eye level and shoot quickly. For this reason, this lens is one of my favorites.