Pics from a recent trip.
This oughtta blow your mind. Tokyo, Japan has a Statue of Liberty just like France and the United States do. Located in Odaiba on Tokyo Bay is Lady Liberty. Apparently back in the 50s or so, France lent theirs to Japan. It became such an awesome tourist attraction that when Japan had to return the borrowed statue back to France, they commissioned one of their very own.
You can get right up next to her so it’s basically a photographer’s wet dream. Now I’m not a very good photographer. In fact, I’m still learning (and have been for a reallllly long time now) but here’s my best recommendations for photography for Japan’s Statue of Liberty. During the day, you’ll most likely need just your camera because you can get right up next to her so your shots should come out tack sharp (unless you’re doing HDR or something like that then you’ll have to mount your camera on a tripod – see tripod notes below.)
If you’re shooting her at night obviously you’ll be on a tripod since you’re working with longer exposures. Do not set up on the walkway right next to her. You can feel every footfall as folks walk up to look at her resulting in ugly camera shake. Off to either side of her and still very very close, you can set up there to shoot Lady Liberty or swing around 90 degrees and shoot the Bay with Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo Tower and all the colorful tourist boats that come out at night (see yesterday’s post to view these pics.)
So here she is below, in all her glory….Tokyo, Japan’s Statue of Liberty
Now this was a truly cool place and if you are into photography and going to Tokyo, Japan this location is a must see!! Odaiba, Japan is a “suburb” of Tokyo in the Tokyo Bay area. It’s got awesome shopping, lots of scenic spots overlooking the bay, Rainbow Bridge, colorful tourists boats at night, a Statue of Liberty (yes, you heard me correctly,) and Tokyo Tower off in the distance.
Photographers – bring your longest lenses, good UV filters and your tripods. In my next post, you’ll see the shots I took of the Statue of Liberty there with instructions specifically for shooting it.
One of the best kept secrets is the view from the Tokyo, Japan Metropolitan Government Building.
For great photography shots of the city from 45 stories up, you can’t beat it! PLUS IT’S FREE. Go up in the Tokyo Skytree or the Tokyo Tower and you’ll pay $15-20 dollars for the privilege of seeing the same thing. Get there early because the line gets longer as the day goes on. One of the only good parts about jet lag and the time change (America to Japan) is that you wake up at 0400 (4 AM) in the morning. That means you’ve breakfasted and arriving at your first tourist destination as soon as they open. Hooray for no lines and the least amount of people who can possibly screw up your very important photographs.
To shoot at the Met, bring a set of barn doors to avoid reflections off the windows. If you’re hardcore, bring a small towel so you can wipe any smudges off the glass before you start shooting. Turn off any flash settings (the exception to this is when taking pictures of people posing in front of the windows.) With nearly a 360 degree view of the city, you have a myriad of choices to shoot from. On bright days shooting people in front of the windows is a challenge because of the super bright background behind them. Focus your camera on the people in your subject matter then lock it in by keeping your finger half depressing the shutter button while you reposition your shot to include the background. For simple point and shoot cameras, shoot at a more oblique (45 degree angle) angle to avoid exposure confusion by your camera.
There is some cool architecture that lends itself to photography so make sure you check all the windows for possible compositions.
One final thought. This is a working government complex so they close at 17:00 (5 PM). Plan your visit accordingly and add in the time you will be waiting in line.
I found the sign in the toilet way humorous so I included it here. Sit down toilets versus squat over toilets are a ubiquitous battle in Japan. Country folk come into the city and being less familiar with sit down toilets can become confused by them. Hence this sign.
And here’s a sneaky little tip…… Take the stairs down one floor to the restrooms and you’ll find another window to shoot from nearby. It’s a smoking area so you don’t have to jostle about with other photographers but you do get to enjoy some fine second hand smoke (laughs weakly). Don’t sit on the built in ledge. They’re watching you on CCTV and will come make you get down. This is a picture below from this window.
Some of my best moments were spent in subways in Japan. I found it the singular most fascinating place to people watch and come to understand the idiosyncrasies that typify the Japanese. There are so many rules both spoken and others that were merely social norms, it was inevitable I broke them. And believe me, I probably broke all of them. Some of them are: do not talk on the train, do not put makeup on, do not eat, do not drink, and especially, never, ever make eye contact with anyone else. They hate that!
However, as a foreigner living there I was something of a curiosity to them and they really wanted to stare. Staring is considered sooooo rude in their culture though. One of my favorite games was watching them watching me trying not to get caught at it. The best way to do this was for me to face the windows as if looking outside the train. The windows are reflective though so I could see them very well. If I turned around to look, they would always be looking away. Facing the window though…..well…you get the idea.
Another anomaly I would experience was the occasional prejudice against me as an American. I didn’t take it personally. It’s just the way they are sometimes. Most often that meant no one would sit next to me on the train. Frankly, I loved and exploited this when it would happen. The train could be wall to wall with riders but no one would sit next to me. What a convenient place to set my purse and belongings! This never bothered me. Moreover, mothers with children would usually have one of two reactions to me getting on the train. They would either take their children and go as far away as they could from me, or, conversely, push their children at me while saying “Engrish, Engrish….practice Engrish.” This always brought a smile to my face.
Another peccadillo of Japanese culture is the premise of pretending to sleep. This is an extremely common and socially acceptable way to avoid having to look at or talk to anyone else on the train. One out of three riders would pretend to sleep. The instant the train stopped at their stop though, they jumped up and were off the train.
The Fuji Television Station in Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan is a must-see for visitors to Tokyo; it is an architectural feast for the eyes. For photography lovers, this is one of the best places to set up shop as it offers some of the best photography in Tokyo, from Fuji TV to Rainbow Bridge, or from the harbor at night lit up in the water with skinny neon tourist junkets painting the water with color, or their very own Statue of Liberty. That’s right, the Japanese also have a Lady Liberty Statue. More on that in later posts though.
Today’s focus is on Fuji TV. For photography tech, try to shoot Fuji TV on a cloudy day so you can use the sky as a giant softbox.