The Story Behind The Picture: Sunset at Tokyo Skytree

I took this shot earlier this year in April 2017. It was during my trip to Japan, chasing over full bloom of cherry blossoms. For most part of my trip, the weather was cloudy and overcast throughout the day. The sky finally cleared on my last day in Japan, and I was happened to be in Tokyo. After checking through some recommendations on where to shoot for sunset, I decided to take a shot of the Tokyo Skytree during sunset blue hour.

I took a walk to the Jukken Bashi Bridge, it has a nice stream of river (Kitajukken gawa river) leading towards the Tokyo Skytree Tower. I picked my spot, setup the tripod and camera and waited for the nice light to come. I’m shooting with my Leica M-P Typ 240 with the Leica Super-Elmar-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH lens. For the scene, I decided to add ND filters (6 stops if I remembered correctly) and shoot bracketed shots instead. Sadly, 21mm lens simply not wide enough to capture the tower together with it’s reflection in whole. Anyway, I’ll just make do with what I have for now.

While waiting for the sun to set, an elder Japanese man stopped by besides me with his camera, I believe it’s an Olympus E-M5 or E-M1. While we both wait for the sun to set, he started to initiate conversation with me in Japanese. I can speak a little, so I just tried my best to understand him and respond accordingly. Sensing that I’m not local, he asked where I came from, when I told him Malaysia, he smiled and said that his grandfather was in Malaysia during the war, but he had never been there before.

Perhaps he felt a bit awkward for bringing up a rather sensitive part of the history. There was a moment of silence until I break the ice again by asking him whether he shoot often. We chatted a bit on photography and then he showed me some of the images he took. Then came another young man who stood beside us shooting the same scene. The elder man chatted with him as well while waiting for the sun to set.

We took our shots when the light was finally right. Later on, I decided to stay a little longer while the elder man started packing his stuff and prepared to leave. “Here, this is for you.” To my surprise, the elder man actually gave me a few prints he took of Mount Fuji. Lovely indeed. I thanked him for the nice souvenir and greeted him farewell.

Some say “music brings people of different languages and backgrounds together”, I believe “art” does. Music, drawings, sculptures, dance, photography and so on. Its very nice and heart warming to meet up with like minded people, especially locals, while travelling overseas. Hopefully I will get this kind of encounter in the future too.

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