TrashTheLens
TrashTheLens

Shibuya: Motion and Stillness



We all need a moment of stillness in the world that hurries around us...

We all need a moment of stillness in the world that hurries around us...
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11 Comments | Report
adriansart
 
adriansart July 25, 2015
Terrific idea and love the outcome!
Pblais PRO+
 
Pblais July 25, 2015
Highly creative!
adityakunal
 
adityakunal July 25, 2015
love the motion.....Would like to know the exif.
SuzMDixon PRO
 
SuzMDixon August 27, 2015
Amazing!
barbarabrock PRO+
 
barbarabrock December 14, 2015
Awesome
kjer_mariano
 
kjer_mariano December 14, 2015
wow!
kathymoore_7476 PRO
 
kathymoore_7476 April 14, 2017
love it!!
laxman
 
laxman April 24, 2017
new concept I like it..
daviddebord PRO+
 
daviddebord June 10, 2017
Great shot!
Harilaos
 
Harilaos August 06, 2017
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
edrobson Premium
 
edrobson December 24, 2017
So cool.

Behind The Lens

Location
The photo was taken in one of the most famous spots in Tokyo, the Shibuya crossing. I came there with a preconceived idea of what I wanted: the motion of people hurrying across the street, contrasted with stillness of the buildings. I just had to figure out the angles.
Time
This is one of my favorite images from that trip because not only it all worked out as planned, but the reality exceeded my expectations. It was taken on an otherwise dull evening of November 11th, 2014 at 7:55 pm. I chose to go there in the evening because that's when the pedestrian traffic is at its peak. It took me around 15-20 minutes to figure out the vantage point, framing, proper exposure and to capture something interesting happening - the couple standing still and taking a photo themselves while the crowds are streaming around them.
Lighting
There aren't any streetlamps in the typical sense there. The scene is lit by all the advertisements and floodlights used to illuminate them.
Equipment
This was taken using a camera that would be considered laughable by many equipment geeks: a 5-year old, bottom of the lineup, Canon 1000d (a.k.a. Rebel XS in America and Kiss F in Japan). This just goes on to show that the body used is, in many cases, the least important factor in photography. Unless of course one needs some specific feature like quick auto-focus or high usable ISO. The lens I used was a Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 at 17mm because I needed the wide field of view for this shot. It is not a top-of-the-shelf model, but offers an outstanding value for money. Of course this kind of image wouldn't be possible without a tripod and a cable release. For the tripod I used a Benro Travel Angel A-068M8, but anything sturdy would do. My cable release is made by a company no one ever heard of. And it works.
Inspiration
I can't really pinpoint a single piece of inspiration for this photo. The general idea of blurry crowds moving through a concrete jungle was on my mind for a very long time and Shibuya seemed like the natural place to try it out. For me, this is the quintessential Tokyo: people streaming through the streets like erythrocytes through blood vessels. Despite their numbers, the flow is fluid and smooth, nobody bumps to anyone else, nobody moves faster than the crowd. You could stand still in a middle of a walkway and the crowds would stream around you.
Editing
This photo is composite of several frames due to the high contrast of the scene. The lower part of the image (the street, the blurry crowds, the couple standing still) is one frame, and the buildings and advertisements, which would otherwise blow out, are pasted from a few other exposures. My typical workflow, used also in this case, consists of processing RAW files using RawTherapee and merging them using a command-line tool called "enfuse". I then use the result as a base layer onto which I manually blend in specific parts of the different frames that came out of RawTherapee. For that I use layers and layer masks in GIMP. One specific thing I stared doing when processing the series of images from Japan was to selectively modify the white balance: warming up the bottom part where the people are, and cooling down buildings to provide visual contrast between the human and inhuman elements.
In my camera bag
I usually carry around the body, a Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 to cover my wide-angle needs, a Sigma 17-50/2.8 as an all-around lens, a Canon 50/1.8 for when I need the extra edge over the Sigma, and an old Pentax 135/2.8 m42 for use as a soft portrait lens. I also don't leave home without the tripod, cable release and a Lee filter system. I don't use a typical camera bag, but instead a foam insert and a small hiking backpack. I found it much more comfortable that way to be carrying the gear non-stop morning through evening, day after day.
Feedback
The best advice I can give anyone is: don't hurry and don't try to do everything at once. First, find yourself a vantage point you like and a framing that works for you. The best thing you can do is to scout your location during the day and come back to take the actual photos in the evening. Try to find something that will let you set you camera above the head level of the crowds: postboxes, trashcans, small fences can all come to your advantage. Second, take your time and don't get frustrated. If there is nothing interesting going on in your first frame, wait and take another one. If the photo doesn't come together as a whole, think about what works and what does not and correct it. If you feel you're wasting you time, stop and try again another day. And third: enjoy what you are doing. Photography is a creative process, every photo has an imprint of the photographer and his/her mood. If taking photos starts feeling like a chore, give up for a moment. If you don't feel good taking your photos, people won't enjoy looking at them.

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