I’ll post the next installment of the Great Western Japan Autumn Roadtrip soon, but for now, a quick interlude of some rainy pictures from Ameyoko in the Ueno neighborhood of Tokyo.


Not too much to say about these pictures – the previous day the weather was amazing: blue skies, fluffy white clouds, bright sun, the whole deal. Well, as luck would have it, I didn’t have my camera with me that day, but I vowed to go shooting the next day.


Of course, the next day it rained and rained and rained. Ugh. In a way it matched well with the run down, gritty atmosphere of Ameyoko, so I guess it wasn’t too bad in the end. These pictures look pretty much how I felt – gloomy, dour, gray and just overall…. damp.


But things are better (though still rainy as heck!) this week, so on and on we go. A few more pictures after the Keep Reading link below.






Now listening to: “Nas – Hero (feat. Keri Hilson)”

26 Reactions

  1. SabineM

    Fabulous as always.
    The one of the buildings looking up almost looks like a Swiss cross

  2. momolo

    Wow, is this with a new lens or with photoshopping?
    The photos look good with that darkness to them.

  3. michaelpanda

    @SabineM: Thanks *blush blush* and I never noticed it, but you’re right, it almost does look like the swiss cross, huh? You’re showing your roots, picking that up right away! :)
    @Momolo: Thanks. It’s not photoshopping, but it’s not a new lens either (these were all taken with my wide angle 10-22mm, which I use for most of the pictures on the blog). Part of it is that it was just dark and overcast that day. The other is how I chose to develop the RAW files (I shot all of these in RAW and did my post-processing in Adobe Lightroom 2) – I deliberately kept things dark and “gritty” looking (so I didn’t bring up the exposure or smooth out the contrast, etc. like I normally would) and I increased the lens vignetting in the corners (usually you would use that setting to reduce vignetting in corners, but there’s nothing stopping you from moving the slider the other way), and kept the white balance a little on the grayish/yellow side.
    So, I’m not sure you could call that Photoshopping or not since I didn’t do anything to the JPGs themselves, but rather, just produced them that way by how I chose to work with the RAWs. Of course, it’s possible to recreate most of the effects in Photoshop (specifically the lens vignetting), but I guess one could do that “physically” too by shooting with a crappy lens that tends to vignette in the corners and deliberately underexposing things. Oh man, my mind is reeling right now. When does it cross from the realm of “this is how i shot it” to “this is how i photoshopped it”? *panda’s brain boggals*
    but anyway, it really was a gray, gloomah day! LOL kind of like today :(

  4. Ben

    Yo Panda.
    Nice photos as always. I was just wondering what lens do you recommend I should buy since I just bought a Nikon D90. I am think of a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4. What do you think??

  5. Emily

    Man…im definitely on my way to Japan one of these days..I miss it so much! I havent read your blog in such a long time..(*tut tut* i can hear you saying) and now all these photos are making me feel homesick (in a sort of japanese way)

  6. michaelpanda

    @Ben: Well, I shoot Canon so I don’t know much about Nikon. But I do know that a 50mm prime (especially one that opens up to f/1.4) is an awesome thing, no matter what. It will open your eyes to the possibilities of photography in a way the kit lens never will. I love my wide angle lenses something fierce, but some of my best shots have come from my $80 50mm f/1.8 prime. You can’t go wrong buddy ;)
    That having been said, that’s quite a bit of scratch (like $350 or so, right?) for that lens. If it were me, I’d go with the 50mm f/1.8, which only costs $120 bucks or so. It’s true, you lose about a half stop on the aperture, but the truth is, you will rarely have need to shoot at f/1.4, at least not in the very beginning. Seriously, the field of depth is so shallow at that point you would end up focusing on a nose and blurring the face behind it. I usually shoot around f/2.2~f/3 when using my 50mm, even though it is capable of going down to f/1.8. Anyway, something to think about if you’re not made of money. Either way, you’re gonna be a happy camper! ;)
    @emily: well you should come visit sweetie ;)

  7. Andrew

    At least it is only a cloudy and a little rain.
    I am visiting friends in Fukushima, and it is supposed to snow later today and tomorrow.

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