Boku no Manchukuo

(C)2006 K Bjorke

On my way to the Narita airport I stopped in Otemachi to have lunch with Dirk Rösler and Peter Blakely. As I emerged from the Ginza-line Exit 3, I was greeted not by by two hungry photographers but by a handful of amplified Chinese protesters, who were just getting warmed up.

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Flashy

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A few days back I ran across a site linking to Botzilla: David Hobby’s Strobist. Quite a popular site and full of hints and methods for strobe use by David and a few cohorts.

As a shooter for the Baltimore Sun David gets lots of opportunities to work through classic location portraiture issues. In this way his job is a bit like that of Neil Turner, and some of the site reminds me of Neil’s dg28.

It ‘s one of those little paradoxes that the standard way to light still photography is to not light it at all (in fact many photographers get indignant about “respecting the original light” and so forth). This is quite opposite of motion-picture photography, where much might look “natural” but everything is deliberately lit and often the lighting is far, far, from anything that nature would have actually provided.

A byproduct of this disconnect is that a lot of the little stunts that Strobist and the like have devised (like a cardboard-and-gaffer-tape snoot, as in the snap here) are pretty similar to the things that gaffers and lighting cameramen in the movie world deal with daily.

For movies, every location shot has to be location-lit. And there’s usually a crew to do the work. I find it fascinating to read Strobist and a few other sites and see so many of the classic gaffer’s tricks and crafts re-worked so that one person can do them, quickly, and how thanks to the use of small strobes instead of 2000W Molepars, you don’t need to worry about having the fire department on standby.

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Bonus Round

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Last night as I was wandering back to the hotel and wandered through a few pachinko and pachislot halls, I was struck by the people who were watching, like the guys in this photo.

Inside the parlor I could understand — the players’ friends or whatever. But what about the folks gazing steadfastly from outside, through the windows?

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Perfect Foods

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Ah, the perfect food for the harried sarariman….

Only been here a few hours, took an hour or two walk too clear my head and move my legs after the two two-hour tran rides and the 10+ hour flight. Took a couple dozen bad pictures but maybe a couple good ones, had a curry, drank-in the neighborhood. Always the same, always new. It’s like running into an old girlfriend and finding out she’s even more appealing than you remembered. Dang.

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