Hiroshima

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Atomic Dome, Hiroshima

Most visits to Japan will include a trip to Hiroshima – to the Peace Park with the Atomic Dome and the various monuments, and to the museum.  Like many war and memorial sites, they’ve been photographed countless times but it’s still the best way of recording your own visit, your thoughts and having an aide-memoire as one gets older.
All pictures taken on Kentmere 100 in the Nikon F60.

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Atomic Dome detail
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Atomic Dome – rear view
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Memorial by the Motoyasu river

There are a number of peace activists and displays around the park.  This is an in-utero survivor from the bombing meeting with tourists.

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In-utero survivor
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Eternal flame – possibly colour would have been a better choice
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Students memorial
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Workers memorial
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More riverside statues
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Memorial Hall
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Children’s Peace Monument
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Inside Memorial Hall
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Museum

A few practicalities.
The best way of getting to Hiroshima is by the fast JR train – the pass is great value
http://www.japanrailpass.net/en/

At the station there is a free bus that goes around the city including a stop at the Peace Park.  There are also Tourism Meeter/Greeters around the station who are really helpful.

 

Tokyo: Shinjuku and Ginza

It’s busy…acros_tokyo_shinjuku_shopping

Compared to Northern Ireland, Tokyo is an assault on the senses – the crowds, the skyline, the neon – and I love it. Another major difference is the abundance of camera stores and the availability of second hand kit and film. I stocked up on Fuji Acros 35mm – at about 60% of the UK price. (as news arrives of its imminent disappearance..)

Shinjuku and Ginza are districts that don’t seem to stop and are probably most like the image many people have of Tokyo before visiting.  There’s the architecture…

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Curvy Tokyo
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braided Tokyo

The taxis are classy looking 80’s styled Toyotas. They are however bloody expensive, so it was exterior shots only.

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Tokyo Taxis, Ginza

There are many eating options – local as well as global burgers

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stand up for the sushi, Shinjuku

And claw grabbing is a local pastime..

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restocking the minions

Of course, at some point Godzilla was going to make an appearance

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Cinema and Godzilla, Shinjuku

Kit was Fuji Acros 100 and the ever reliable Nikon F60.

Tokyo: Shibuya

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The Crossing:  Nikon F60, Acros100

There aren’t many places you visit just to cross a road.  We’ve loads of crossings in Northern Ireland  – press a button, wait until a green man appears then dander across the road.  Occasionally this will involve a car or two stopping and perhaps a few other pedestrians.  Certainly nothing for tourists.

The Shibuya district in Tokyo has one of the biggest crossings in the world.  Roads from all directions get a red light and then it’s a pedestrian free for all.

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Crossing the crossing.  Nikon F60, Acros 100

It is of course best seen from above  – there is a ridiculously packed Starbucks overlooking the crossing  – the phone is best to record this this.

There is of course more to the Shibuya district than a pelican crossing no matter how big assed and busy it is.  It’s a vibrant shopping, eating and socialising area making it great for street shots.

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Marlboro Men of Shibuya. Nikon F60, Acros 100
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Queueing for a traditional Japanese Wendy burger. Nikon F60, Acros 100
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Signage. Nikon F60, Acros 100
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Bunting. Nikon F60, Acros 100
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Shibuya street scene and a Barcelona FC fan shop…    Olympus Trip 35 / Fomapan 100
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Tokyo Taxi . Olympus Trip 35 / Fomapan 100
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Shopping Nikon F60, Acros 100
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Night shopping Nikon F60, Acros 100
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Struggling handheld at night on 100 ISO.  Nikon F60, Acros 100
no music
True.  Olympus Trip 35 / Fomapan 100

 

Contains Flash Photography

Every so often it’s good to do a studio shoot using a few flash heads.  I’ve nothing grand – a cobbled collection of eBay-sourced Interfit units with cheap backdrops and stands. It’s a basic setup with a soft-box facing the sitter and two units at 45 degrees on to the white cloth, then using a black backdrop with a soft-box and brolly two-light arrangement.

Lighting setup
the budget setup..

To make things interesting, the session with my good friend and singer/songwriter/guitarist Thomas, was to be captured on full-frame digital ( Canon 6D) and on 35mm black and white film (Kentmere 100) using mid 70’s basic manual camera, the Ricoh KR-5.  Without a flash meter, the plan was to get a setting on the 6D that looked ok, then set something similar on the Ricoh.  So 1/125 at f8 – then play about with the lights.

First up – some low key against the black backdrop,

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softbox, brolly fill and 85mm lens
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single light with soft-box

Then a white backdrop with the softbox straight on.

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key – no guitar
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and with guitar

Next up was a repeat of this lighting with the Ricoh. It’s a very basic but solidly built mechanical SLR. And it did ok

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tones ok  – but scanning a bit off round the face
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look forward to the darkroom print…
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getting there…
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35mm close up glory

As is often the case, scanning a low key image is a bit tricky  – the real test will be darkroom print – but the high keys portraits on the Ricoh were near the mark with the full frame Canon digital.

So a quick photo shoot to compare digital and 35mm black and white film.  Next will be to compare negative scanning with a darkroom print scan as well as an indepth look at using the Ricoh.

Indiana Wants Me

I’ve had the good fortune to visit the US on 3 separate occasions in recent years – and most of that time has been spent in Indiana.
These were working visits – it’s one of the more unlikely holiday destinations if you’re heading across the Atlantic but it has a quiet charm and warm feeling that makes me want to return.

Indy

The city of Indianapolis is a smart place with an accessible downtown area, the speedway and is home to my weekly dose of NFL.

P6273270View from Monument Circle
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Capitol Building
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Monument Circle

Upstate (Downstate..?)

I spent quite a while at two of the state’s Universities – Ball State and Taylor – and travelled around some unheralded places.

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Headin down south. Upland, IN
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A poor man’s Stephen Shore. Muncie, IN
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The Middle. Surrounded by corn
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another photogenic gas station (petrol as we call it..)
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The big sky around Matthews Restaurant, Matthews, IN
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Welcome to Matthews
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Old trucks and primary colours. OK, ‘colors…’
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Grain Truck, Matthews

Gas City – the smallest ‘city’ I’ve ever been to, but home to Friday speedway. Noise, fumes and fried food.

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The home of motor racing
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Gas city Speedway
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Gas City bunting

One of the most striking visual features I noticed was the signage. Sometimes grander than the actual place, sometimes unintentionaly funny but something we’ve lost over here.

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The King of Pizza
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It was closed, but I would’ve had a good time here
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Free panties on Friday night, Fort Wayne, IN

Baseball. If ever a sport is more enjoyable watching live rather than on TV, it’s baseball. This was my first experience at Fort Wayne.

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Parkview Field, Home of the Tin Caps
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Uncontroversial kneeling

I hope to go back to Indiana next time I visit the US. It’s an unassuming place with warm, friendly people, incredibly photogenic and seems to exude a laid back form of conservatism. Sometimes, though you have to be immodest, especially if you are the best damn sports bar.

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Simply the best. Blu 49