Bullet train goes through Tokyo
© 2013 Alfie Goodrich. All rights reserved.

Tokyo in a Nutshell: I love it when a shot works out

I'd done a photo tour in Tsukiji yesterday morning and was on my way to teach a three-hour class... and was just killing a little time around the Shimbashi area of Tokyo.

There are a few spots in town where you can get pics of the bullet-trains at track-level. There aren't many where you can get people into the shot at any sort of close-up. I've walked past this one a few times but haven't had the right lens, the right light or the right moment. Yesterday I had all of them.

Re-visiting locations and making 'the shots that got away' work for you is one of the great pleasures of living in somewhere you love shooting. Tokyo and me is a long-term relationship, not a one-night-stand. So if I miss a shot one day, I just remember the exact ingredients that would have made it great and store that knowledge up for another day.

That other day doesn't always happen but sometimes it does.

What had I stored up about this scene to save for another day? Well, the train tracks and the place within the urban scene that the train would fit. Perfect. The other big thing is the Rising Sun flag. Next is the balancing element to that flag of the No-Entry sign: they are both red and white. The pedestrian crossing meant that, one day, I'd have people there in the scene - in the bottom right corner to balance the train at top-left.

So, yesterday it all came together.... happy me :-) One more shot in Tokyo ticked-off.

Gear & Processing?
Nikon D700
Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 @ 155mm
200 ISO
1/500th sec

Topaz 3's 'Exposure Adjust' to even out some of the areas of light and dark.
Nik Color Efex Pro 3's 'Brilliance and warmth' to cool down the shot a little and punch the colours.


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  1. Nothing better in street photography than when the elements come together. Like to see monochrome version of this as well.

  2. Actually, I shot it in mono Mark but the red just needed to be there.

  3. Fairly perfect integration of elements Alfie…do you have outtakes, or is this the only combination with an N700 and a couple in the crosswalk?

  4. Think so too! The red like on the flag is pretty important to this outstanding composition.

  5. +John Hoare It was a fleeting moment. Three shots of the scene with the couple. Could hear the train coming and see it coming…. and this, sir, is a 700. The N has a different nose. Sorry to get all train otaku on you for a moment 🙂

    Thanks +Thomas Jäger . The flag really clinches it for me. The old 1970s car tucked around the corner was a bonus 🙂

  6. Excellent shot! I know the exact spot but have never been able to get the timing right.

  7. Was the train travelling at full speed, or accelerating from a station?

  8. Decelerating for Tokyo Station, which is about 2kms from this spot. Another reason why it's a good place to shoot: the trains are slowing down, +CS Chua

  9. Love it ! Good spot … I'll have to make it a destination one of these days .

  10. Another good place to try is over near Tokyo teleport where the Shinkansen yard is, Akihabara station where the Nagano and Tohoku Shinkansen come out of a tunnel heading to Tokyo station, or the other side of Shin Yokohama station. You can get great eye level shots at all these places that will also show the surrounding neighborhood

  11. this is also great as an example of very basic travel (walking is as basic as it gets unless you're chairbound) and very advanced travel (bullet trains being as rapid as it gets while the traveller is still on the surface of the Earth, except for TGV and a few other exceptions).  It's a great commentary on the ways travel is changing.  Thanks, Alfie!

  12. Excellent!!! This brings back memories. There used to be men (porters) with poles to nudge people into the bullet trains to make sure the doors would close so the trains could be on there way.

  13. Great shot. Simply captivating.

  14. What a great shot! Amazing timing!
    It reminds me of Andre Kertesz's "Meudon" from 1928. He had followed the same philosophy about location and timing. Great tips!

  15. Love the composition, great detail!

  16. Great shot +Alfie Goodrich! Lots of circles and stripes in the frame! Always enjoy your shots on the streets of Tokyo.

  17. Nice composition ! Very cool shot 😉

  18. Great catch.for the day

  19. it's looks famiiar to me,,,

  20. I love this. Do you sell these shots anywhere? Either as downloads or prints?

  21. I did do, +Owen Buckley: temporary experiment with selling off of my own website. Unsuccessful mechanism. Looking to do it again. I have someone here in Tokyo who represents my work to galleries but that doesn't stop me selling direct. So, if you like this one then please drop me a message with your email address and we can figure something out mate. 🙂

  22. Great shot! I'd love to use it some time.

  23. Great, just great. And that Rising Sun flag does make it more special than it already is.

  24. I like your idea to make a good composition with moving people.

One Trackback

  1. By photopan: (via Tokyo in a Nutshell: I love it when a shot works… | Warehouse Careers 9 Apr ’13 at 8:41 am

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