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Great places to shoot in Tokyo - Shibuya

For this article I was intending to photograph Jiyu Gakuen Myonichikan, a school near Ikebukuro that was designed by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  It was a disaster! I took off the lens cap, lined up for my first picture and noticed a really big, dark spot on the screen. I turned the camera around and looked at the lens, and was horrified as I saw something very sticky on it.  What was it? I had no idea, but I tried gently wiping it with a towel. That was a big mistake - the stuff ended up becoming more smeared over the lens.

This intersection in Shibuya, in my opinion, is a great place to do some long exposure photography

In a panic I headed home and dealt with it properly.  Using distilled water and lens paper from Fujifilm, it got a good cleaning.  It looked good again, but I had lost a lot of time. What was I going to do? The afternoon was already half gone, so I thought I would do a night shot.  Shibuya popped into my head! 

I thought of a crossing I liked, not the ultra-famous one near Hachiko, but one on the other side of the station.  If you walk out of the south exit, you’ll see some pedestrian bridges not too far away, and that is the spot!  And the road you’ll be shooting is the Shuto Expressway, Route 3, one of the busiest roads in Tokyo so you’ll be guaranteed good traffic.  It’s a great looking place but it is the centre of Shibuya, so there will be a lot of people passing by and that means keep all your bags where they won't be tripped over by someone.

I actually didn’t spend too long there, only taking eleven shots in total with some of them using a LEE ND 9 neutral density filter (for one minute exposures).  When I got home I decided on the two best exposures that used the filter, and imported them into Lightroom where the white balance, along with some other things (exposure, contrast etc.) were adjusted.  Those pictures were then exported to Photoshop, where they were aligned and blended together. Finally, exported again to Lightroom for final touches and exported as the finished JPEG. I hope you like the shot.

If you ever decide to shoot there, I’d love to see your version!  If you use Instagram please use the hashtag #tokyoinpics so I’ll see it.  And of course, if you have any comments or questions, please post them below.

Equipment used

Camera - Fujifilm X-T2

Lens - Fufjilm XF 16-55 mm f 2.8 R LM WR

Filters - LEE 100 mm Pro Glass ND 9

Tripod