Chasing light

Chasing light

Despite not getting much time with the camera these days due having to stop my kid injuring herself (talk about a Lemming!?!), I do feel that something has clicked in my head even without the camera with me. I guess that feeling is that I’m more able to think about light this last year. It’s not about camera settings or gear, I feel like I’m starting to understand how light works, how it behaves, how it refracts and how it can make shadows. While that sounds like something anyone can do, it’s hard to then put that idea onto a photo or into an idea.

Over the past few months I have been working with flash gear and some cheap reflectors I got from Amazon and they have helped me immensely over the course of the year to learn how to deal with light. Also keeping an eye out on the weather and understanding when a good day will appear has come in handy. Yesterday was a good example of this, it had rained the day before and so the following day was left with not just clear skies but it was also haze-free (something rare in Tokyo) leaving the skies clear for miles. With it being winter too, it means the sun is low in the sky and stays that golden orange for a little bit longer than it does in summer. Having that train of mind before picking up a camera is pretty useful.

Here are a couple of the shots I took yesterday, I think the light was just superb and for the first time in a while, I chased it.

Silhouette Gradient





Just the three of us

You spin me right round, baby.

This wheel was what I had originally come to shoot, though the light interested me more that the ‘kanansha’.


Kawagoe photowalk

Main street

When a friend asked if I wanted to go for an impromtu photowalk it was pretty hard to say no. I haven’t been out in with the camera in a while and I also haven’t been to Kawagoe in quite a few years (actually my memory of the place was quite faded).

I used to live about 40 minutes from Kawagoe and used to visit the shopping area a lot but only a few times did I ever wander down the the old Edo area of the city.  With the city only 30 minutes from Ikebukuro it makes a great little place to fill a day if you’re staying in Tokyo.

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Does Lightroom make you lazy?


I was just thinking about how to plan out 2013 and the general direction that I want my photography to head in and it made me think about my processes and workflows from the year before and I came to a conclusion: I think Lightroom has made me lazy.

When Lightroom first arrived on the scene I was a little sceptical about how I could get it to work for me, I found a lot of the tools pretty lacking due to my hefty Photoshop use on daily basis and to this day I still feel that way about it, but Lightroom has a unique charm and the ability to keep everything in one single place makes life so much easier. It has made the average photographer’s daily workload a lot less messy but for me it has left me making shortcuts.

In the past I would save things in a folder and go through them one by one in Photoshop and work out what works and what doesn’t work but in Lightroom I fly through things, edit them quickly and bust through them all in 30 minutes. Before I used to spend several hours on one image.

Looking back through my images from 2012, all the ones I like the best have been edited in Photoshop – so I think this year I need to be more aware of limiting my time in Lightroom – I think it is making me take the easy route to editing my pictures. Sure it can edit it them to a certain level, but it seems to be the same feeling of adding an Instagram filter at this point and I don’t find that process very satisfying to work with so in 2013 I’ll probably use Lightroom as a lightbox for browsing my pics but not for editing them.

A round-up of my photography in 2012


I got a few shots this year which I like and some I didn’t. The ones I did like are all of the shots which I have planned out in advance. HDRs that I saw in my head before shooting, or people moving in slow motion etc. so I know that in 2013, it has to be a year of planned shots for me. I feel like I know what is and what isn’t going to work these days and I should concentrate on the ones I want to achieve.

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Commuting in Tokyo


Last week when coming back from a few drinks with some mates and the night still being quite young, I decided to get the camera out and just shoot people commuting.  They have all been cross processed to give a slightly older tone to them. The were shot with the X100 and the majority were on 320 ISO with small apertures as I wanted to show movement in the people as they were walking past.

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A night in with Elvis

Sheet music

Ok, I’ll admit – its not technically Elvis but seeing Elvis is very much dead, I guess this is the next best thing.

I occasionally go to a bar called ‘Canal’ situated on the main road between Ojima station and Higashi-Ojima station – and I tend to go there when I have normally had a few drinks with mates and then I think to myself ‘I could do with one more…’. If that isn’t a dangerous thing to think, I don’t know what is! I have been visiting Canal for about 3 years after the owner accosted me and my wife in the street to draw attention to his new store, we declined at the time but I found myself going there a few weeks later.

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I’ve never actually blogged before…


There is one great thing about photography, it’s one of the very few arts that you don’t technically start with a blank canvass.

If you are a designer, a painter or even a dancer – there is a period where nothing is clear. A bit like this website, it’s just a shell, a blank canvass for me to put stuff on, but like with all art that has a blank canvass it’s always difficult to start off. I have a lot to say, though probably it’s all crap – who knows!?

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© 2013 Chris Gilloch. Photographs cannot be used without prior permission