As a photographer, you must get comfortable with compromise. For example, I wanted to use a crane to hoist a Tokyo taxi up into the air above Shinjuku.
I then wanted to lean out a window and photograph it, lit only by the ambient lights of Kabukichō’s iconic signage and the street below.
Reality check: I have no taxi and no crane. I’m also not in Tokyo at the moment. What I do have, though, are a toy taxi, a portable hard drive, some white paper, my phone, and my bathroom.
I turned out the lights, and used my phone to light-paint the front aspects of the toy taxi. Then I slowly moved the phone around behind the taxi to approximate the signage.
I held the phone still in a few spots to get some of the busy-ness of the screen to approximate the aggressive signage of the actual street; otherwise it’s quite easy to create a smooth, streaky background by simply sliding the phone (or any light source) behind the model.
I guess my point is, should anyone in Tokyo be able to hook me up with a crane and a taxi, I feel I’d do a great job with that shoot.
Paid the cost to be the boss
He insists that I touch his index fingers. “Calloused” does not even begin to cover it. They feel like the fingers of a mannequin, toughened by countless turns of wooden sticks over a barbecue grill. This dude cooks up yakitori at a little bar outside Senjuohashi Station in Tokyo.
It’s an occupational deformity, physical proof of his work experience.
By way of demonstration, he taps at his iPhone, whose touchscreen does not register his index fingers as belonging to a person. He uses his middle and ring-fingers to navigate the phone instead.
At this point, I’ve been in Japan for a total of two hours, counting the 70-minute ride from NRT along the Keisei Electric Railway. I had stopped for a quick bite before meeting my airBNB hostess at the station.
After dropping off my bag (carry-on only, of course), I found myself perched on a plastic milk crate, devouring yakitori and sipping beer with a gregarious bunch of locals, all of whom were keen to test out their English, and all of whom did better than I did with my woefully meager Japanese.