Tokyo in Pics


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

Tokyo in Black and White - Shinjuku Gyoen

I’ve always liked Shinjuku Gyoen.  It is one of Tokyo’s most popular parks for good reason as it is within walking distance to one of Tokyo’s busiest train stations and has something for every season.  In spring, there are the cherry blossoms; in autumn the changing colours of the leaves; and, in summer, it is a great place to walk especially at the beginning or end of a day.  In winter though, even on the coldest days, Shinjuku Gyoen is an awesome place to experience some peace and quiet in one of the world’s biggest cities.

Just like Yoyogi Park, on a cold winter’s afternoon, it becomes deserted and empty.  You’ll find a few people there, but not many. It can be very cold at times but I’ve always loved winter at Shinjuku Gyoen.  To especially stand in the middle of its English Landscape Garden on a cold day in the middle of the silence, is a great experience.  I enjoy it a lot.

For this shoot, I decided to do something a little different.  For places like Shinjuku Gyoen I like to use wide lenses to capture the space, but this time I didn’t.  I used a zoom, the Fujifilm XF 55-200 mm. The different focal length, I thought, would be fun to work with.

In hindsight though, I’m not sure if I used the lens to its best effect.  I’m pretty much filled with doubt with this series of pictures. Did I try to use the 55-200 like I used the 16-55, which would probably be my bread and butter lens.  Should I have got closer to my subjects, fill the frame and get more bokeh in the background. I don’t know to be honest. Once again, it’ll be something I have to work on and gain more experience.

I enjoyed my time there though, as I enjoy my time walking in any of the parks in Tokyo during winter.  So few people, the trees around the perimeter blocking out most of the sounds of the city. Most relaxing.

The greenhouse in Shinjuku Gyoen

It was great to walk through Shinjuku Gyoen in the cold under such skies.  Hopefully the weather I experienced on the day will continue for a few weeks more at least.  I love doing these shoots so I hope I can get a few more in before the end of winter. Next time, I think I might do Hama Rikyu Gardens or Koishikawa Korakuen.  If you have a preference, please let me know.

Gear used for these pictures:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T2

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

Film Simulation - Acros