Tokyo: Colors in Motion

Christmas lights, Roppongi Hills

Patterns of small, intensely colored lights tend to bring out the frustrated abstract painter in me. Does the same to Cathy too. Thus we had exactly the same ideas when taking in the Christmas lights at Roppongi Hills, and the city view from the Metropolitan Government Building.

Christmas lights, Roppongi Hills

Christmas in Tokyo: view from the Metropolitan Government Building, Shinjuku

I usually combine movement now with my zoom burst, so instead of a simple radial pattern I can also create curving sweeps. The technique is simple: get the focus as desired, set the lens to manual focus so it doesn’t change focus, choose a small aperture and a shutter speed long enough to let you do the desired movements and get the needed amount of light in – I usually try for 1/10 of a second or so – and experiment.

Christmas lights, Roppongi Hills

I also got the idea while in the Imperial Palace East Garden, looking up at one of the few trees still in bloom. After all, with a dark background of tree foliage those bright red blooms could be treated like lights.

Getting Impressionistic at the Imperial Palace East Gardens


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