Mother and child battling strong winds and snow in Tokyo's heaviest snowfall, since 1969
© 2014 Alfie Goodrich. All rights reserved.

Tokyo’s biggest snowfall since 1969: battling home with mum

I got to Roppongi about 4.30pm, holed-up somewhere for a coffee for about 45mins and then headed out again.

I'd basically stopped using anything other than my old 20mm manaul-focus Nikon lens. I've had it since I was about 20 years-old. It's an old friend. Very small. Great for zone focussing [setting a range of distances on the lens according to which aperture one is shooting at], it's old and it's manual... so there is nothing to go wrong even if it gets totally soaking wet... which it did.

This spot outside the station was perfect for shooting the people battling the strong winds and snow, as there was a lot of light coming out of a nearby shop and there was a good flow of people.

Backlight or just good light really helps illuminate the snow at night, making it appear more dense. That's why I was there.

I spent about 2hrs in this spot and got about 6 or 7 great shots.

Details of this shot?

Nikon D800E
Nikkor 20mm f/3.5 AiS
In-camera monochrome [super high contrast, red filter setting]

I use Nikon's ViewNX software as the first part of my workflow, which unlike Lightroom [which displays all the RAWs as colour] shows me the files as-shot. I then convert from RAW to TIFF after making a few basic adjustments [shadows, highlights etc].

Why not just convert to monochrome afterwards? Because like the old film days, when I chose the type of look I wanted - with a specific film - I like to shoot in a style that suits my subject or my mood. It helps me pre-visualise the scene just as I want it and it helps me choose subjects that suit the style I am shooting in. It also cuts down on post-processing time.


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  1. I liked it when I saw it on the back of your camera. You can see the struggle on her face.

  2. Thanks man. Happy with this shot. Just posting a load more from Saturday, in a post on Japanorama.

  3. Great capture, really really like it +Alfie Goodrich ! Patience pays off I guess.

  4. Patience pretty much always pays off. Patience and putting yourself in the right spot, with the right gear in the first place… 🙂

  5. Fantastic shots as always +Alfie Goodrich. Even if we got this snow every week they make it feel important. 🙂 Sadly, the snow got to my camera … just some buttons, but I'm taking it for repairs tomorrow. I like to think it was worth it though!

  6. This is a masterful shot. I enjoyed the commentary as well. Thanks for that!

  7. Thanks, +Leslie Taylor. Saw your post about the camera. D7000 is supposed to be sealed but in my experience the four-digit Nikons [7000,3000 range etc] are never as well sealed as the cameras higher in the range. The D800E and D800 I have are good. The mic and speaker holes [an addition with the video from my D700 days] had me a little worried but the camera held-up well on Saturday.

    My advice, if you really want a rig you can abuse, is to get a used, good condition D700. Bulletproof camera in terms of weather. Had mine out in storms, typhoons, snow, dropped it [very momentarily] in the sea…. survived all of it. 

    Thanks +Eric Seaholm. Was going to write more of a commentary… may get around to that soon. Starting a podcast soon though as I prefer talking about stuff. Typing just does my head in after a while. My wife has started life as my assistant recently so I may also get her to make some little videos with me explaining stuff.

  8. Agree with +Alfie Goodrich a used D700 is gold. But the used ones seem to be going up in price these days…

  9. +Alfie Goodrich. Lovely image. I am in the market for a 800e after not owning a camera since film days. I was a commercial photographer with EOS film gear. Can you comment on your 800e experience?

  10. +Alfie Goodrich +andrew gram I've been looking into a D600 (or 610 now I guess) sometime later this year. I've thought about D700 as I've heard good things but my issue is the smaller image size. Primarily because I've been doing more for Stocksy United, the extra pixels give me room to crop as needed and still have a large enough image to sell in the x-large category. Of course the D800 is in a whole different world there but that's part of why I like the D610 as it's a nice middle ground. Not sure about weather sealing and all though. Of course it's not a huge issue for me usually. Next time I'll have a cover handy I suppose!

  11. great capture, beautiful!

  12. Love your presets and still use them. A fantastic technique

  13. Cheers +Dave Krugman . Glad to know you are getting some use from them. 

  14. So beautiful picture! Amazing!

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