A Visit to Okage Yokocho: 50mm, B/W

Lens. Check: 50mm f/1.4

One lens made for a fun time and good pictures! I shot in b/w to bring out the atmosphere and textures of the old fashioned shopping street next to Japan’s most holy and famous shrine, Ise Grand Shrine (Naiku).

Most likely the same setup I’m going to bring to Korea with me later this month!

On to the pictures. All shot in JPEG on my 5D Mark II on AV (aperture priority setting) mode. Data under each pic.

I really like shooting my b/w pictures as JPEGs; I find that the contrast settings I get in camera are much better and truer to what I see in my head than the results I get just jacking around in Aperture later on. While you don’t get the luxury of having both color and b/w files later, shooting this way helps me visualize the world better in monotones, especially since I see it so often in color!

5D Mk II + EF 50 f/1.4    f/2, 1/160, -1/3 exp. comp, ISO 100

One of the things I love about shooting in b/w is the way it brings out textures so well. Minus the color, you can really focus on each and every leaf of the tea overflowing from the box. If I close my eyes, the scent of the roasted tea leaves comes flooding back to me.

5D Mk II + EF 50 f/1.4    f/4, 1/80, -1/3 exp. comp, ISO 100

Pretty much the main reason I come to Okage Yokocho is to eat…and eat, and eat and eat! There are so many stalls, and it’s amazing watching each of the vendors at work at their craft. The fish caught my eye, but he’s also got oysters and other shellfish on the grill!

5D Mk II + EF 50 f/1.4    f/2.8, 1/60,  ISO 100

The best Mitarashi Dango I’ve ever had, hands down. Freshly roasted before your eyes, the size and soft, chewy texture of this stand’s dango is unbeaten. Only 100 yen a pop! They come in five flavors, but my favorite are kinako (sweetened soy bean powder) and good ol’ fashion shoyu (soy sauce)!

5D Mk II + EF 50 f/1.4    f/2.8, 1/80, -1 exp. comp,  ISO 100

It was Wednesday afternoon, so the street was relatively less crowded, but there were still a healthy number of visitors out and about. Ise Shrine is Mie’s biggest tourist attraction, and the tourists are the lifeblood of the vendors of Okage Yokocho. It was great for us, but as one of the vendors remarked to me, “Man, what a lousy turnout today!”

5D Mk II + EF 50 f/1.4    f/2.8, 1/320,  ISO 100

Something about this scene that made me think “1960”. Could be the noren (curtains in front of Japanese stores), or just the way the wooden sliding doors looked rendered in b/w. I think the thing that makes this picture for me is the way the the focus on the young woman just pulls you right into the middle of the picture.

5D Mk II + EF 50 f/1.4    f/2.8, 1/40, +1/3 exp. comp,  ISO 100

These pots are right out front at the main store of Akafuku Mochi, Ise Shrine’s famous sweet and maybe the most famous sweet in all of Mie. The charcters read “Aka” (red) and “Fuku” (happiness)  (R/L respectively).  Every 1st of the month they put out a limited amount of special sweets for the season, and people usually line up from about 4pm the DAY BEFORE to get one of the limited tickets at about 2 or 3 am…?! Crazy…

5D Mk II + EF 50 f/1.4    f/1.8, 1/50, +1/3 exp. comp,  ISO 100

Big. White. Fluffy. What’s not to love? (Check the bottom of this post  for more fluffy goodness 🙂 ) Big dogs are a rare sight in Japan (small living spaces mean small dogs!), so this fella (or lady?) was a huge hit with the tourists!

5D Mk II + EF 50 f/1.4    f/2.8, 1/125, +1/3 exp. comp,  ISO 100

Loved the sign, so a little help from a beautiful model gave me a nice composition for this shot. Coming up with shots like this is actually a lot harder for me than it looks! I think I’m much more inclined to take a shot of something that’s happening in it’s moment, but it’s good to branch out become adept at all different kinds of shooting!

5D Mk II + EF 50 f/1.4    f/2.8, 1/200, +1/3 exp. comp,  ISO 100

You just can’t take the color out of me! I had to throw this shot up, the only color shot of the day. I think you can see why I didn’t shoot it in b/w, but more so, I just saw the light and the color and shot, almost without even thinking (though I did change back to color first haha). I’m not that old of a dog am I?

5D Mk II + EF 50 f/1.4    f/2.8, 1/80, -1/3 exp. comp,  ISO 400


One thought on “A Visit to Okage Yokocho: 50mm, B/W

  1. Great story and beautiful pics! Love the 50mm b/w look, looks perfect for street photography. Especially like the image of Kazuyo kneeling with the flower and the sign still visible behind – nice work bro. Keep them coming, glad you’re making a comeback on the blog!!

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