5 frames with...

5 Frames With A Contax G2 – By Floyd K. Takeuchi

I’ve had the good fortune over the past 20+ years to be able to travel at least once or twice a year to Tokyo, Japan for work projects as well as on my own time and dime. Before that, I worked in Tokyo as a correspondent for an international financial news service.

My approach to photography in Tokyo is shaped by the knowledge that I’ll be returning, and thus am not pressured to try in a few days to photograph everything of interest. In fact, I’ve developed an approach that’s quite deliberate. I’ll return to locales to keep working the scene, sometimes for a number of years, until I feel I’ve done all I can at that location.

For the past two years, my main photographic focus in Tokyo has been the publicly accessible Eastern Gardens of the Imperial Palace in Central Tokyo. I shoot with both digital and film cameras, and my current “Imperial Palace Portfolio” is heavily weighted toward film capture. On my most recent trip last November, I had a few days for myself to do some shooting. I brought a Contax G2 rangefinder, with three of its magnificent prime lenses – the Zeiss 45mm F/2 Planar, Zeiss 28mm F/2.8 Biogon, and Zeiss 90mm F/2.8 Planar. I shot 15 rolls of film, five of Kodak Tri-X, and 10 color rolls, mostly Fujicolor Superia X-tra Premium 400, a domestic emulsion. I also included in the mix a couple rolls of CineStill X-Pro, the C-41 color film whose box speed is 50 ISO.

The pro-focused Richard Photo Lab in California processed all of the film. Kaimuki Camera, my long-time scanning and printing service bureau in Honolulu, produced high-res scans.

In nearly all of my photographs in the Eastern Gardens, I try to include part of the walls that dominate the outer edges of the Imperial Palace. Even after years of photographing there, I still find myself in awe of the strength and skill it took to cut the huge stone blocks, and then fit them together to make a graceful curve in every huge wall on the 379-acre imperial compound.

Floyd K. Takeuchi

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  • Reply
    Adrian Rose
    January 13, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Hello Floyd. Many thanks for these 5, which I enjoyed very much. Having had the good fortune to see the walls first hand I fully understand why they have this draw for your eye! Sadly we arrived too late to enter but the exterior views were very impressive. A nice post.

    • Reply
      January 14, 2019 at 6:06 pm

      Thanks, Louis and Adrian, for the kind comments. I should have also noted that time of year also plays a big role in how one “sees” the Eastern Gardens. In late 2017, I was in Tokyo in early December. Many trees still had their fall colors, which led me to print a few images from that trip in color (I was shooting digital with a Fujifilm X100, the first generation model). But I still managed to get a wall into the shots!

  • Reply
    Louis A. Sousa
    January 14, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Wonderful images.

  • Reply
    Kevin Thomas
    January 16, 2019 at 1:53 am

    Great – now you’ve made me want to visit there 😁😁. I can totally understand the draw of the location. Great pictures, too.👍

  • Reply
    January 16, 2019 at 2:21 am

    Thanks, Kevin. Let me know whe you’re headed to Tokyo. I can recommenda terrific noodle shop very close to the Eastern Gardens’ public gates on Hibiya Dori.

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