Spent a relaxing but but busy 2 days at the in-laws house over in Yotsukaidou. On New Years eve, my mother in law spent the whole afternoon making home made osechi for our dinner which was very delicious. The annual Red and White singing festival started around 7:30pm and after my favorite Jpop group AKB48 came on and performed I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to visit Narita Temple for some pictures. Typically people start arriving at the Temples just before midnight ready to ring in the New Year with their prayers and wishes. A few years back I went after midnight with my wife and its so crowded we could barely move at the temple and it took a couple of hours just to get to the temple steps. Narita is about 20 minutes on the JR train from Yotsukaidou so I thought I'd head over and beat the rush.
I very much enjoy taking night pictures these days as there is a certain atmosphere created when the sun goes down. Also many of the digital cameras these days have superb high ISO performance, in other words, they produce little noise and quality degradation even with less light and more exposure. I decided to bring along my Sony a33 and NO tripod. All these shots are taken handheld and with NO flash. I decided to use a Sigma 30mm f1.4 which is a very fast lens and with its 1.5x crop factor turns out to be a good street lens at 45mm focal length.
The a33 and Sigma combo was perfect for taking shots of many of the small street stalls that were just beginning to set up for business at around 9pm. The crowd was sparse as it was still early and the number of policemen actually outnumbered visitors. Chiba's police forced worked to setup quickly to handle the large crowds at the turn of the year and they were every where busy setting up. As I wound through the more traditional looking streets of Narita I passed several of Tourspecgolf's favorite spots. Every year, Chris, Jacque and I stop at Narita to ask for best wishes for TSG. This night however, most of the shops and restaurants we usually visit were closed to make way for the street vendors. When I got to Narita Temple, there was already a line up nearly 3 hours before the new year, of people waiting to be the first to head up Narita's steps.
I spent about an hour checking out the action around the temple and snapping a few shots. The hardest pictures to take I find are the one right in people's faces. You want to give people their personal space and privacy but at the same time you want to capture moments in other people's lives as well.
I got back to my in laws' house just in time to ring in the new year with some soba noodles! I posted a few of my shots below as well as a picture of our dog Saku the next day as he of course came with us too! Looking forward to a fun 2011!