A day in the park
Last Sunday I met up with about 30 of my closest friends. On the third Sunday of every month the Tokyo Cameras club gets together to shoot pictures, and last Sundays location was Rikugien Park in Tokyo. It’s near Komagome Station on the Yamanote line.
Club votes on the location for each months get-together, and the last two finalists were Rikugien park, and Yokohama Chinatown. I was pulling for Chinatown as it is a whole lot closer to where I live. And to tell the truth i was a bit bummed when Rikugien ended up winning the vote. But, not to be deterred by a 90 minute train ride (That’s what iPods were invented for) I happily hopped on the train.
After getting to Komagome station, Saori and I stopped in at Matsuya for a quick meal of beef with rice and a bowl of miso soup. Speaking of Matsuya, I am completely impressed with traditional fast-food in Japan. Be it Udon, Ramen, or Gyudon, it’s always completely and satisfyingly delicious, not to mention worlds healthier than western style fast food. Think of Puppies frolicking through a field of MORE puppies and you will get an idea of how satisfying a good bowl of gyudon and miso soup can be.
Thinking that I may find it hard to find interesting things to shoot in a park, I stopped in at a combini for a couple of cans of liquid inspiration (aka: BEER) ans set off down the street towards the park. Polishing off the second can just as I was passing a recycling bin near the park entrance, I dropped the can into the bin, and pulled my camera of the day out of my backpack. (Olympus E-P1) I pulled off the lens cap, checked to make sure the battery was charged, the memory card was empty, and the lens was clean. Check, check, check. “OK, time to go see if I can scrape together some images from this park” I thought to myself.
Boy, were my feelings wrong. The park ended up being spectacular. Not at all crowded, and beautiful. It also helped that the weather was absolutely perfect, the ideal autumn day: clear skies, dry, and moderate temperatures. It turned out that I didn’t need the beer after all. (Although even knowing that ahead of time would probably not have stopped me)
The lenses that say the most use while using the E-P1 was the standards kit zoom (14-42mm f3.5-5.6), and a manual Olympus Zuiko 55mm f1.2 . The kit zoom is spectacularly sharp, and built in such a manner that it can collapse down into a quite compact form when not in use. The 55mm f1.2 equates to a rather ridiculous 110mm f1.2 on the E-P1s cropped sensor, so the shots and perspectives you can get are pretty fun. It’s soft as hell wide open, but the bokeh is to die for. Stopped down it gets satisfactorily sharp.
To make a long story short, the three hours of shooting went by all too fast. but now that I have gotten a taste of the place, I will be sure to return when the maple leaves are in all their full autumnal splendor.
So I guess the moral of the story is, ” Don’t be too quick to judge something before you get a chance to experience it” and also “Beer never hurts”.
In case anyone is interested, I took part in another episode of “Cool Japan”.
It will air at the following times:
Nov. 17 (Tue) 22:00〜22:44 (NHK BS Hi-vision)
Re-run – Nov. 22 (Sun) 0:10〜 0:54（NHK:BS-1)