It’s midsummer’s eve and apart from a couple of typhoons the Tokyo summer is really perfect this year – not too hot, not too humid! It’s going to be a great summer to spend in the city! Here’s Rainbow bridge, bathed in the last sunlight of the day. I took this a couple of weeks ago, but I should have gotten it for the spectacular post-typhoon sunsets we’ve had the last few days! There’s a larger version here for download.
One of my best kept secrets on this blog must be walking the Rainow Bridge. I love walking, I take hours and hours of walks every week and I have trouble sleeping if I don’t take a random hour long walk every day. One of my favorite walks is the Rainbow Bridge, the circular Golden Gate look-a-like that connects mainland Tokyo with the artificial islands of Odaiba. Even many Tokyo people doesn’t know it’s possible to walk the bridge and even fewer would consider it a very good idea indeed. In winter it is bitingly cold with strong winds and sometimes fierce sun. In the summer, it can quickly become a good reminder of the importance of staying hydrated and out of the blazing sun. It’s a fun, safe walk though, with great views of Tokyo and some much needed fresh air in the summer. It’s also surprisingly quick, and for travelers on a budget it is easily the cheapest way to visit Odaiba! The entrance to the footpath on the bridge is easy enough to locate from the Odaiba side but it can be tricky to find from the Tokyo side, even though most people go from Tokyo to Odaibe on the bridge and not the other way around. A good way to find it though, is to exit Tamachi station, get out of the East exit and just follow the biggest road straight on, as far as you can go until you reach the massive foot of the bridge. It’s a good 15 minutes walk to the bridge and then maybe another 15 minutes to cross to Odaiba. It’s possible to take your bike over the bridge but there’s a rather complicated system for bringing it over on the “wrong side” of the bridge. You’ll get it when you go there though. Just let the guards do whatever they need to your bikes and you’ll be fine. There’s plenty of stops on the bridge where you can take photos and I always end up spending a lot of time there, I must have hundred of snaps taken up there on my computer but I keep putting this post off waiting for the better shots I’ll take next time I go over. Well, I’ll post them too, when I do. Enjoy!
Despite being a seaside town there are very few places where the average person can actually access the ocean in Tokyo (the Wikipedia page mistakenly narrow it down to two but I can think of a few more places). The whole of the waterfront is either covered in concrete or industrial areas and it’s quite possible to live an entire life here without ever seeing the water. Which is why I so often visit Odaiba, a huge man made island in the middle of Tokyo Bay with an excellent view of the Tokyo skyline. Odaiba is accessible by train or bus on bridges or by subway. In the summer there are events almost all days of the week and one of these was this lantern festival I attended a few weeks ago. The beach facing Tokyo (alas, no swimming allowed here) was covered in paper lanterns, quite a beautiful spectacle. If you have the chance to visit Tokyo, try to get at least half a day for Odaiba!
This wonderful woman caught my eye at Tokyo’s Odaiba district the other day. There are tons of beautiful women in this country, but never before have I seen someone with such grace and good taste! Just look at that spanking new Hasselblad 500 C/M with what I suspect is a 80mm lens. If it weren’t for the fact that her boyfriend was just about as handsome as she was beautiful, I would have fallen in love. Isn’t there some sort of Flickr! group for this sort of motif? “Babes and ‘Blads!”, if there isn’t I should start one.
For people less into photographic equipment than myself, I’d like to talk briefly about the camera this woman is holding, it’s a Swedish made Hasselblad camera that was designed during the war to be totally modular, it has a body, a very clever lens with the shutter inside, a magazine holding the 120 film (12 shots, usually) and a finder (in this case the old “chimney” design). I have one similar, a 500C, but mine is considerably older, made in 1956. It takes square images, 6×6 centimeters, making for huge wonderful prints. How I miss those long hours in the darkroom with these wonderful negatives!
I basically learned all I know about photography on one of these, it is totally mechanic, without even a light meter inside (the light meter tells you how dark or bright the image you are looking at is and some meters will recommend the settings for best results). I usually cheated and had another camera standby when using the Hasselblad, just make sure you have the same ISO setting and the f5.6 opening set on your lens. You see, at f5.6 all standard lenses are the same.
To show you the kind of photo she would be getting at with that lens I put a 50mm on my full frame DSLR (a Nikon D700) and played around with the photo in photoshop. Gorgeous!