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Sometimes Photography is just about Shooting to Learn

Sometimes, photography is all about shooting and learning.  What can look like a great idea, might not be that great when you look at the final picture.  For example, after taking pictures for an article about Tokyo Opera City I walked around the outside of the building and discovered a spot that I had great potential.  On the side of the building I found an enclosed pedestrian bridge that runs over to the NTT East Headquarters. You look over the side of the bridge and you can envision a picture filled with lots of light trails and leading lines.  It looks great, especially as you have an elevated road, the Chuo Expressway, right over your head and under, is Yamate-dori with lots of traffic. When I found it, I thought it looked very cool.

From the middle of that bridge you can place your camera on a little ledge to shoot the under part of a freeway and the long light trails on the road below.  This time though, when I took my picture, I wasn’t able to get a shot I was happy with. I ended up with something less than ideal.

When I set up my camera for the shots for this article, I discovered the bridge had a few problems, such as the reflections in the window.  The shot is from behind a glass window so you are going to get unwanted reflections entering your picture, which can’t be helped. Also, there are different types of lighting along the street, so white balance can be a problem, but that can be fixed in post-processing.

However, as I was using the 10-24 mm which has a really wide angle of view, there was one more problem for me.  As you can see in the original shot (below) there is a street light in a really bad position, on the mid-left. I didn’t realise until I got home that the light bloom from that light looked really ugly and I didn’t want it in my shot, spoiling it.  However, my skills with Lightroom/Photoshop were simply not enough to remove it. No matter how much I played around with the image, I couldn’t get the result I wanted.

What was I to do?  There was only one thing left to do.  I cropped it. Cropping, for me, wasn’t the most elegant solution but it was the only solution available to me.

In the end, I got all the leading lines and light trails I liked, but it wasn’t the image that I had envisioned when I set up my camera on the ledge.  I got a reasonable shot, but not one I’m overly happy with. So in this case, while I couldn’t get the shot I really wanted, I did get a shot that was kind of okay and usable. Next time I go, I’ll try the same shot with a longer lens to avoid that light in the corner.  Shoot and learn and keep repeating till you get what you want. Expect to see this shot here again in the future!

Here is the a map of the location (the green camera icon)  if you want to try it yourself:

Equipment for this shot:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T2

Lens - Fufjilm XF 10-24 mm f 4 R OIS