Now, for the last year or so, I have been staying near Meguro JR whenever I visit Tokyo on business. And 2008 this was a little more than a third of the year! To be specific, the area around the hotel is also called Shironakedai (I believe, but it could be also Shirokane) and there is a Tokyo metro with the same name. Over time I have grown to know this area quite well.
I would say it is an upscale place, since there are all these embassies near by (Gotanda and Ebisu is one JR station away) and most people stay in houses. Sometimes from the JR station, I would take a long walk, around 30 minutes, to the hotel and since this is Tokyo, I sometimes take the small lanes at night just to see what it looked like. Most of the time it is serene, no one on the street, fresh air and there is this look to it that I wanted to capture on film. In the morning, I have found a few route through the hilly pathways and lanes here and this has turned into a routine for me whenever I stay in Tokyo.
The pictures in this series are taken in the area labelled Kamiosaki in the map.
There is something about shooting a nocturnal scene in black and white. The human eye uses a more sensitive cones for seeing in the dark, and if I remember my biology well, that is why dark scenes usually look black and white to us, thus a night scene shot in b&w look more realistic, at least to the mind. Personally, the best setup for night photography – now this is very personal – is a rangefinder because the viewfinder is not depending on what lens you use, a fairly fast lens, f1.4 say, and I’m now reluctant to say you need a Noctilux f1 or f0.95 in order to shoot scenes with only street lamps for illumination. Next you need a fast film.
Experience shows that my equation consists ideally of a Leica M-series RF, 50mm f1.4 (for this series I used a Leica 50mm f1.4 Summilux ASPH with the Leica M6) and for film, Neopan 1600. This combination allows a regular sodium lamp lit scene to be shot around 1/60s and worst case 1/30s at f1.4, just nice for moving around without a tripod.
Anyway, won’t go on too long on this post. Enjoy the pictures.
*end of post*