I’m just going to put this out there. I love this image.

There are times when I process images after being on a trip somewhere and find that one image which justifies the trip for me from a photographic angle. This is that image, so far, from my time in Japan.

I like how we seemingly interrupt this macaque as we stumble upon this scene; he raises his head for a moment in nervous curiosity, deciding whether to take flight or carry on drinking.

Of course the reality is much different and there were people all around me as I took this image, I was simply able to use the full focal length of my 70-200mm to isolate this particular monkey at this particular time.

I can’t be sure why this little guy took that particular moment to stop drinking and look directly at me, but I can be for it.

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It’s day two of my week featuring images of Japanese macaques, or ‘snow monkeys’.

Today it’s the first day back to work after a long weekend for Easter, so I’m reflecting my feelings about this by sharing a dark and moody image of someone who looks like they may bite if disturbed.

Not that I bite, of course.

I used Perfect Mask by OnOne Software to get rid of the background for this scene and then changed it to black and white for further processing. I find this software hit and miss for backgrounds, especially where monkeys with lots of fur are involved, but it did an excellent job on this particular scene and has left me with an image I feel has quite an impact.

It’s not my favourite one that I will be sharing in this series, but it’s possibly a close second.

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Today I’m kicking off a series of images from a trip to the Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yudanaka, Japan. It’s a lovely spot, about 3 hours from Tokyo, and 45 minutes from Nagano, where the Japanese macaque (commonly known as ‘snow monkeys’) visit to warm themselves up in a hot spring.

I spent a couple of hours here one morning taking a lot of photos of a lot of monkeys who were playing, resting and grooming themselves in and around the pool.

It’s a little off the beaten track but if you are in Japan and have a day to spare it’s an excellent place to visit, and there’s an awesome little sushi restaurant near Yudanaka station that is well worth a visit also.

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Shibuya series – go

Shibuya series - go

I’m finishing this week long series taken from the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo with this image of a guy who was a little too preoccupied with his phone to care about the act of crossing the road itself.

He was dawdling along at quite a slow pace, and the traffic had started moving around him before he managed to get to his final destination, however it gave me an excellent opportunity to take a photo of him with the bright lights of cars and buses in the background.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, it’s certainly something a little different to my usual style of work. Next week I’m going to do another series from my time in Japan, and from the photos I’ve processed so far I’m pretty excited by it.

Hope you have a great weekend.

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Shibuya series – shi

Shibuya series - shi

It’s the penultimate day in my Shibuya series and for this one we’re taking a glimpse into a Japanese taxi.

I had chosen to stand/sit on a railing a little way back from the crossing itself while shooting this series as this gave me a good vantage point of people waiting as well as people crossing, and also allowed me to get some lights in the background (which have actually been quite scarce in the images so far, but tomorrow will change that).

Where I stood happened to be where taxi after taxi would stop and drop people off, so I had plenty of instances of a car pulling in and interesting people getting out.

I loved this shot as it was shortly after a rain shower and you can still see rain droplets on the windscreen of the car; I also like that the taxi driver is not quite the main focus.

It’s a bank holiday in the UK so we have Friday and Monday off work, however I’ll still be posting my usual images tomorrow and Monday. Tomorrow we’ll conclude this series, and I may start a new series on Monday if processing goes well over the weekend.

Have a great day everyone.

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Shibuya series – san

Shibuya series - san

Half way through the week already, and so here’s the third image from my Shibuya series.

This woman really stood out from the crowd as she was elevating herself slightly in order to take photos of people at the crossing. It was therefore quite easy to focus on her as she looked around in awe at the large screens in the surrounding area.

I cropped the image quite a bit to get rid of some of the surrounding distractions, which included other people, and then did a few curves adjustments to get the colours as desired. Zoomed in to the max of 200mm and, if I remember correctly, on f/2.8 with ISO set to 2000 I was delighted by the quality maintained in the image.

Hope everyone is having a great week.

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Shibuya series – ni

Shibuya series - ni

This lady was travelling around Shibuya with another woman of a similar age, but it was only as she raised her camera and rested on this post that I really noticed her.

It’s nice to be able to watch someone who is completely absorbed in what they are doing and so doesn’t notice the camera is on them. Her waiting friend was less occupied, and therefore more aware of me so she was watching on as I snapped this image and a few others.

I was ‘caught’ a few times while taking images for this Shibuya series, but I don’t think any of the ones where someone is looking directly at me made the cut for this short series. In the instant where they see you are taking a photo of them you seem to lose some of the naturalness in the image. At the same time, it’s often good to have the subject looking directly at the camera, I longed for it when photographing the snow monkeys.

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