Tokyo in Pics

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A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Tokyo in Black and White - Yoyogi Park

Yoyogi Park is a great park.  As it is right next to Meiji Shrine and Harajuku Station, it is a very popular place during the warmer months.  It is a great to have a picnic, take a walk, do some busking or even sunbathe. In April, huge numbers of people go there to enjoy the cherry blossoms.  However, the park transforms into something very different in winter.

In winter, most of Yoyogi Park’s benches are empty

On a cold winter’s afternoon, it becomes a deserted, empty place.  You’ll find some people there but not many. It can be very cold, even bitterly cold at times.  Crows grossly outnumber humans there.

The people who are there though are rugged up in long coats, gloves, scarves and many will wear a hat and mask too, to protect themselves from the cold.  Actually, for many people are a daily necessity as they keep the breath warm. The cold and extra layers of clothing effectively shut the world and everyone else out.  Colour photography just doesn’t do it justice. Black and white can convey a great sense of personal isolation.

The sign says no dogs unless you have them on a leash

And the very landscape changes too.  Yoyogi is quite barren in winter. Most benches are empty.  The leaves on the trees are brown and dead. If there is a strong wind, dust clouds blow across the ground.  There isn’t much to look at till spring returns. It becomes a very simple place that looks fantastic in black and white.

You’ll often see huge flocks of crows in Yoyogi Park

I really enjoyed shooting it with my X-T2 in black and white.  The reason for it was its film simulations which are inbuilt to Fujifilm’s X-series cameras.  Simulations give your pictures the classic look of Fujifilm photographs from the analogue era.  For this shoot I chose Acros and upon choosing it I instantly saw the effect it had the electronic viewfinder.  While it can’t be applied to RAW files, it’s no problem as the simulation can be applied later during processing.  It is a great feature especially when it is combined with an electronic viewfinder. I think most people would rather see the shot their going to get while they’re taking it, not when they get home.

In the warmer months, this path would be filled with people, but in winter it is only filled with shadows

In winter, Yoyogi Park can be a very cold place for a walk

Probably the thing I enjoyed most, was shooting fairly late in the afternoon which gave me to lots of chances to gets shadows.  The shadows create such mood and contrast. I’ve shot black and white many times before, this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of being able to take advantage of the shadows in my work.

I had a fantastic time at Yoyogi park, in the cold.  Hopefully the weather I experienced on the day will continue for the rest of this winter and I can do similar shoots elsewhere.  As always, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below.

The building in the distance is Opera City in Shinjuku

Gear used for these pictures:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T2

Lenses - Fujifilm XF 10 - 24 mm f/4.0 R OIS

   Fujifilm XF 55 - 200 mm f/3.5 - 4.8 R LM OIS

Film Simulation - Acros

When the pictures for this article were taken, Google Stream in Shibuya was still under construction