Since I have a lot of photos and text I am going to break this post in two sections . I’m now back in Japan for 3 weeks for work and one week for vacation. Yesterdays flight was brutal, the flight itself was good, but was unable to sleep because the person sitting next to me was passed out for the entire flight and snored the entire way even overpowering my ipod.
This will be my 14th time to Japan, but I’m almost bored with Japan now, Tokyo been there done that. If I go again for vacation, I’m going to attempt to pack lite and see more of the country aside from the bid cities. I already have a 10 day trip planned, where I’ll go to see some of the World Heritage Sites, Onsens, basically more of country that’s not a big city. When I travel for fun I’m not really a be on a schedule person but this next personal trip I’m going to plan it well to get the maximum time to get images I want that I haven’t been getting in the past few trips. There are also a few photo stories I want to do. I’ll leave it at that, don’t want to give out my ideas but it has nothing to do with cars.
I arrived in Japan 3 days before my main assignment the Tokyo Auto Salon. Since I was shooting it for 4 magazines I had to try and shoot everything to give my editors as much variety as one can get from a trade show. Anyway, first couple days just had to get situated and get my sleeping pattern to Japan time.
First couple days I stayed at the Conrad in Shiodome, I like Shiodome, since its mostly office buildings Shiodome is quite a contrast to the rest of Tokyo. There are very few people in the stations and even just walking around
Oedo line at the Shiodome station. Its always this empty even at rush hour
The Breakfast bar at the Conrad, the food is great, amazing view and its quiet
On Jan 15 was the press/vip day, well not really a day it was from 8-1. Then they let the hoards of unwashed masses in. So I try to get as much of the show covered as possible before 1, then spend the next 4 hours getting whatever I could. As the models come out the crowds get insane, the problems that the pervs will clog up an aisle with dozens of people taking photos of the models. The way they react to the models one would think these Japanese guys have never seen a woman before.
press registration for Tokyo Auto Salon
Tokyo Auto Salon
One of the aisles, they get even more crowded when there are some models
It amazes me each time I go to the Auto Salon how many of these creepy “photos” are lurking around the models taking dozens of photos. its like they all have just seen their first woman.
After TAS I was scheduled for the next 4 days to shoot for Super Street, but they didn’t have any shoots for me, so I was basically on call, not really able to plan or do anything as I was waiting for the editor to assign me something. So when I didn’t get an assignment I would just do some sightseeing. Still don’t understand it, oh well…
The Tokyo subway/train map. First time I saw this I was thinking WTF
Edo Museum, this place was interesting. I want to go back and spend more time there
At the exit of every train station there is a local map with major destinations indicated. These are very helpful as long as you have the name of where you want to go.
Salarymen, slurping ramen in Shinagawa
Amazing cheap sushi, Midoria in Shibuya, near the train station there is always a line unless you go to eat at off hours
On Friday the 22nd I met my translator for next two days, Kenta from at Ueno station. First we took the Shinkansen to Boss Auto Produce in Nagano to shoot two cars, it was pretty easy but not very creative as we were limited for a location. After the Boss shoot we went took a couple more Shinkansens about two hours worth to Niigata. By the time we got to the hotel near the station it was already getting late so we went to get some food. by the time we left the Itza kaya it had been snowing and there was several inches on the ground. I know what those of you will say who have to deal with snow yearly, but Im from California where we don’t get too much of the white stuff. So we walked around for a bit then back to the hotel.
On the 23rd we had a photo-shoot to SS Works in Niigata. this was a pretty important car as it holds several records. Since it had snowed about 6 inches the night before. I already knew I was going to have to shoot this inside, in Japan that can be a challenge since most shops are very small. Luckily this one was pretty big but narrow and very cluttered at the same time. I had my lights with me, so I could light the car and underexpose the background letting it go black. All in all I’m happy with the results. One thing I hate about shooting in Japan in the Winter is that with all the extra layers of clothes, shoots take longer
After the shoot at SS Works the owner took us to a fantastic Ramen shop where I had some very spicy ramen, perfect food for a snowy day
Part 2 of the Japan trip to come in a couple days
Oct 24th went home and was home for one day till I had to fly out again. On Monday Oct 26th, I left John Wayne for the east coast for 8 days. This trip was for European Car, Honda tuning and Super Street magazines. As usual I stayed at the Hampton Inn in Willow Grove, PA. not the fanciest hotel but its convenient to a lot of places that I need to go. I can just leave my luggage and make day trips to my photo shoots.
When I woke up on the Tuesday the 27th it was raining which is never good for photo-shoots. That day I was scheduled to shoot a slant nose Porsche at Fabspeed in Ambler, PA. Luckily the forecast for the afternoon was no rain but I still had them find a covered location in the event it rained. I shot the interior and detail photos inside their shop, I had stopped raining for a couple hours so we went out to look for a location. After several attempts we found a perfect location which was a tree lined long driveway to a golf course. It was nice because since it was fall there were a lot of fall leaves on the ground and in the trees. We did several passes and nailed the shoot.
For the over static shots the had found an abandoned parking structure which worked out great. Nothing special or eventful.
On the 28th I was scheduled to shoot a car for Honda tuning. I don’t think I’ve ever had as many emails form a car owner as this one. When I was trying to figure where to shoot this, I had asked him if he was located north, south, east, or west from Philly, his answer was I don’t know those things….yeh so much for for the intelligence of our readers. Anyway the shoot got canceled due to rain, one more car to add to the list when I go back in June of 10.
With shoot canceled I just stayed in my room the whole day and got caught up on work. Not sure what it is about hotel rooms, maybe it’s the lack of distractions but I always get a lot of work done when I’m on the road. But first before I attacked my workload I went to my favorite place to have breakfast, Daddypop’s in Hatboro, PA. Their breakfast is simple eggs, freshly made potatoes and sausage, nothing fancy just great food and low price. they never dissapoint and is truly one of the best breakfasts you’ll get anywhere.
On the 29th my shoot was for Honda Tuning in Newark, NJ. It was a couple civic wagons. Not too many people modify these cars, they are actually pretty cool. When I got to the location that the car owner directed me to, I was a little concerned as it just was not sure how it was going to work. It was an abandoned warehouse but not in the good sense it was a newer one, but oh well that’s what I do, create great images from whats handed to me. Once I met the car owner it all changed. He said that the location was actually inside the warehouse which was pretty cool because it was like a 20,000 square foot empty building, good thing I brought lights. With the overcast day we did the details and the and the rig shots outside.
Inside was pretty cool but without any power it was very dark inside, it’s a good thing we had several cars to put light on the background and just give some basic illumination. It was a good shoot and was happy. After the shoot we went to an amazing diner, Tops Diner in East Newark, NJ. Wish I could have stayed around the area just to eat there a few times, but I had to be in Baltimore the next day for Super Street. It was nice to have dinner with people who were pretty cool and interesting, not they typical car guy who the only thing they can talk about are cars…then off to the hotel off exit 11.
On the 30th I have two cars to shoot just south of Baltimore for Super Street Magazine. So ahead of me was a 4 hour drive and the threat of rain. Got down there and checked out the cars which were much more interesting than I thought. Rarely do I pay attention to the exact make and model of the car because it really doesn’t matter as far was what I’m going to do with the car. But these two were very interesting as they were a couple of old school corollas that are highly modified so they were interesting to shoot.
The final shoot for this trip was on Oct 31st again south of Baltimore for European Car Magazine. It was an older m3 that was highly modified. The owner of the car also happened to own an old Roadway warehouse so it would be a perfect place to shoot especially because of the pending rain. Not that interesting of a shoot but very happy with the results.
On that note this trip I got very lucky that 3 of my shoots were inside otherwise I would not have been able to get them done because of the rain. Usually I don’t go to the East Coast this late in the year usually due to the weather but I got my travel started later than usual..
The view from my hotel just south of Baltimore
On Nov. 1, I made the 4 hour drive from Baltimore to the Philadelphia airport. Once checked in I just packed up all my gear and did some editing and some paperwork. Nov 2, flight back home.
Off again for another assignment, destination Seattle for Super Street, and Import Tuner magazines. Two assignments this trip two models and cover Formula D and shoot a feature car.
The drifting is pretty straight forward just basic camera gear in a Domke bag. The car feature on the other hand is a little more complicated. I need to bring gear to light the car and my camera rigging. for the model its pretty simple just going to use the sunpak 120j’s in an umbrella with rim lights. Once everything is packed it all weighs in around 200 pounds. ill post a couple samples as they come.