Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘tokyo

Beautiful (but cold!) Tokyo

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Spent this past weekend in Tokyo, and it was freezing! The cold weather made touring at night pretty difficult, but we and our very nice friends from Chiba went out and braved the cold anyway. On our last night in Tokyo, we went to the Tokyo tower, where I took this shot. Normally, the tower is lit orange from top to bottom, but my friends tell me that during Sakura season, they light the tower in the color pattern you see above.

I was hoping to blog about my trip often and chronologically, but I’m so busy enjoying Japan, that I decided the less time I spend at the computer the better. I’m in Kyoto now, and it’s beautiful. Much much warmer weather, which means tons of cherry blossoms to see and photograph!

Top: Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/2.8 ISO1000 1/10 Second (handheld)

Bottom: Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC at 17mm f/2.8 ISO1600 1/8 Second (handheld)

Written by Jonathan

March 31, 2010 at 6:33 am

In Japan Again

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Canon S90 6mm f/2.0 ISO160 1/30 Second (JPEG)

Well, seems like we were just here, but we’re back in Japan. First stop is Tokyo. After a loooooong flight on JAL, we arrived at Narita airport late this evening. We are absolutely exhausted! So here are a quick couple of images I took coming right out of the Shinjuku station in Tokyo, where our hotel is located. I used my brand spanking new Canon S90, which within minutes of using, has completely stolen my heart. It provides a level of control unsurpassed by any other compact out there. In fact, some functions are easier to set using my S90 than my D300s, which I haven’t even taken out of its bag as of yet. Uh oh…

Canon S90 6mm f/2.0 ISO500 1/30 Second (JPEG)

Ok, so it’s not dethroning my D300s any day any how, but this is a killer compact and is incredibly fun to use. Quick access to fully customizable white balance?! Oh yes! I can’t really say much more about the camera than that right now. Gotta post and run. Actually, I’m posting and sleeping. I’m so jet lagged!

Written by Jonathan

March 26, 2010 at 4:52 am

More Memories of Japan

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Nikon D90 + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8

Nikon D90 + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 at 22mm f/4.5, ISO640 1/80 Sec

Yummmmmm. The dessert above is a mango sorbet, which was a perfect finish to the Sushi and Shabu Shabu dinner we had with friends at a restaurant in the Gion area of Kyoto, Japan.  I never saw the bill for this meal, or any meal for that matter during our stay with our hosts. My friends never let me pay for anything when I was with them! If they ever visited me in the States, you can bet I’d return the favor.  I can’t remember ever being treated so nicely by anyone…

You know what one of my favorite things about Japan is? Don’t laugh! The vending machines:


Nikon D90 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 at 17mm f5.6 ISO200 1/123 Sec

There are literally thousands upon thousands of vending machines like this one sprawled out all over Japan. You can’t hide from them! I even saw them standing alone, often on unpaved roads, in the more remote areas I stayed at, outside of any major city. When I first arrived in Japan on vacation this year, I didn’t pay much attention to them. I quickly discovered, however, that the machines serve up cans of cold AND hot drinks. Yeah!

It was an unusually cold spring in Japan during our visit, and so nearly every time I’d walk by these vending machines, I’d reach down in my pocket for my 120 yen and grab me a hot little can of coffee.  My Japanese friends found this to be pretty amusing, and every time they’d see a machine, they’d say “Hey Jonathan, time for coffee!”

Of course, all this coffee drinking meant more trips to the restroom. No problem! Seems like the restrooms in Japan are as easy to find as these vending machines. They’re everywhere! Very convenient.

What really amazed me though, were the lack of public garbage cans. We have them all over the place in San Francisco, and they apparently don’t help much because there’s a ton of litter on the streets here (and in most US cities for that matter).  When I was in Tokyo, however, every time I’d buy something and eat/drink it on the go, I’d have so much trouble finding a place to throw the trash away,  and would usually end up carrying whatever it was with me until I got back to my hotel room.  You’d think that the lack of public garbage cans would mean lots of trash on the street right? Wrong. At least in the places I visited, I saw little to no litter, especially compared to what I see on the streets where I live.


Nikon D90 + Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 at 50mm f/10, ISO200 1/400 Sec

Kinda random, but I spotted the image above in my archives and wanted to post it. I love Japanese sports cars! This one was parked outside my friend’s house in Osaka.  Honda sells a similar car in the US, but with a different front end design that, in my opinion, is not nearly as cool as this one. Do you see any trash in the gutter to the right? Me neither!

Written by Jonathan

November 4, 2009 at 7:39 pm

My First Model Shoot

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Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 60mm f/2.8 Micro at f5.6, ISO200 1/60 Second, CLS triggered SB-800

Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 60mm f/2.8 Micro at f5.6, ISO200 1/60 Second, CLS triggered SB-800

Man, I scored a gig with an awesome and beautiful model yesterday by the name of Barbie. Have you heard of her? Ok, what really happened was that the weather was terrible for the city and landscape photography I planned for last night. But the photography bug bites in all weather conditions, so I had to shoot something!

The wife recently got into collecting vintage Barbies, and in fact, I bought her a vintage reproduction of the wedding Barbie and Ken from 1959 recently. Working with Barbie and Ken was actually a quite interesting experiment in portrait lighting. Due to their small size, I had to use my 60mm 2.8 Micro lens to get the portraits looking more human and less toy-like.

Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 60mm f/2.8 micro at f/8, ISO200 1/60 Second

Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 60mm f/2.8 micro at f/8, ISO200 1/60 Second

Adding directional light to the shot was the fun part. I used a single SB-800, diffused with a small light modifier and triggered wirelessly via the pop off flash on the D300s. A small, rather harsh light source for a real human being, but a huge and flattering source of light for a Barbie.

Since Barbie doesn’t move or get tired of standing completely still in the same exact pose for as long as I see fit, I really got to play with the size and direction of the light source, and it turned out being a ton of fun for me. Plus, look at her! Isn’t she absolutely incredibly gorgeous? The camera loves her!

At the end of this month, I’ll actually be shooting a real wedding. I’ll being doing it for free as a gift to the groom, a close friend of the family. Well, free for him anyway. Getting a few things to get me ready to take good photographs at the event will actually cost ME money, but hey, what I lose in money I’ll gain in experience! My father was a professional wedding photographer for nearly two decades back in the film days, but for some reason, photographing weddings hasn’t ever really been a desire of mine.

Agreeing to photograph this upcoming wedding, however, has sort of forced me into an interest in wedding photography, and now I’m actually really excited about it (I freaked out when I was first asked last week). Part of the excitement, I think, comes from an increase of confidence that has come from a tireless study of wedding photography technique over the last week. Yes, I’m cramming, because even though this will be a freebie for the bride and groom, I want to do the best job I can possibly do, for ME.

So for the next three weeks, I’ll be reading reading reading and shooting shooting shooting. My goal for this wedding will be to work creatively with directional light to make some pretty photos of the new couple.

Who knows? If it goes well, perhaps my next gig will be paid ;)

Click below for a couple more shots of my little “model shoot”

Written by Jonathan

October 12, 2009 at 5:30 am