Just Leave It Open pt. II

A follow-up post showing various attempts to do something with this space using the XPan. Going from wide, wide w/train, wider…




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This started back in 2007 with a digicam shot taken in Yoyogi (on the crossing near the NTT Docomo syringe tower). As noted in that post, it wasn’t something i’d thought of as square, but became that way due to the camera strap being in the top part of the frame. Oops.

Apparently it made quite the impression on me, and getting the reflection of the overhead cables in the rails became a minor obsession. The example above isn’t my favourite, which is probably why it languished unseen for five years. Even though the cables make an interesting pattern in the sky, and the reflection in the rail is clear, the shot is probably a little too wide, therefore lacking the density that would give it more impact. There are several other examples that work better.

Taken (literally!) on the Sangenjaya line (三軒茶屋線) on the way back from a pizza lunch at Tonino‘s in Shimotakaido (下高井戸). The pizza was good, cheese-less(!), but often accompanied by a few beers that needed walking off…

Stumble In


Another one of those shots where nothing is in focus, maybe there is camera shake, and it shouldn’t really work. Yet, somehow, it evokes a mood which i really like. So, er, “works for me!”

Going solely off the file name, it was taken in Hibiya, or between Hibiya and Yurakucho, in 2009. There is a little row off shack like izakayas, near where the railway line cuts across the main road at an angle… i could be describing just about anywhere in central Tokyo.

Red Shift


According to the original file name this somewhere out on the Arakawa line, and given the skyline, over in East Tokyo.

It’s taken with Ilford SFX 200, a bit of a gimmick (is that the second time i’ve used that word today?) film, which is hard to use without a rangefinder. At the time i didn’t really understand how best to focus to compensate for working at a different wavelength… Consequently a lot of the pictures have this “mysterious” soft look, which leaves you searching for the point try to be made. In this case you’d have to hazard that it was in someway related to the pointlessness of life, and the inevitability of death. Or something equally existential.

Live and learn. As someone like Goethe would no doubt say, “Bildung!”



Dread to think how many of these shots i’ve taken. No doubt most find them dull / uninspired. For me they are endlessly intriguing (when they go right…) With inspection the wash of blur gives way and yields up all sorts of little details, and fragmentary glimpses into other spaces. In this one, the passengers of the stationary train on the next platform, the elongated shadow, the hard lines of the door… yeah, i guess it’s just me!



Old unpublished shot from 2008.

Taken along the counter, presumably with the standard hassie 80mm lens. Given the volume of the mirror slap it’s pretty much impossible to stealthily sneak a shot. The best you can hope for is a lot of background noise, and looking the other way.

Aka Oni (a sake bar / izakaya) in Sangenjaya was for many years one of my favourite treats. Everything was expensive, but the dude running the place really made an effort to make it worth it – and generally it was. I’d guess he left about five years ago, and it was never really the same. The focus on quality turned into a more gimmicky attempt to try new things. Oh, Japan! You never seem to be conservative about the right things…

[Aside: take the 三軒茶屋 challenge – on a Mac (using Kotoeri) work out which kana to type for ‘sangenjaya’ such that all four kanji are the first choice!]