2018 Summer Tour of Japan | Portraits in Tokyo

Aug 12 | Evan | No Comments |

While most of my work in the USA is portraiture, while on the photography tours of Japan I tend to take more landscapes or wildlife photos.  At the end of my 2018 summer tour of Japan I had a some for a few portrait sessions in Tokyo.  The heat was miserable but somehow the two models I worked with kept cool!

Both were very professional and needed very little guidance from me, making my job easy!  First was some street photography portraits in Tokyo around Ometesando and then I headed over to Shibuya for more portraits in Tokyo.  Once the sunset in Tokyo, we moved into Shibuya Scramble for the rest portrait session.  

All of these portraits in Shibuya Scramble were handheld with the Olympus OMD EM1MII at 1/20th of a second or less.  Thanks to the great in body image stabilization (IBIS) of the camera and the 12-100 f4 pro lens, it was easy to capture the movement and organized chaos of the scramble that goes on every few minutes in Shibuya.  Check out the gallery below for more portraits in Tokyo or find me on instagram @japanphotoguide!


2018 Winter Wildlife Tour of Japan | Japanese Red Crowned Cranes in Snow

Apr 12 | Evan | No Comments |

Along with Chris Weston, I escorted a small group of wildlife photographers in Japan in search of Japan’s Winter Wildlife. View the 2018 Winter Wildlife Tour of Japan Trip Report to see photos of Japanese Snow Monkeys, Red Crowned Crane, Swan, Steller’s Sea Eagles and whatever else we could find! This is the second of two posts of the Japanese Red Crowned Crane and next up, the Japanese Snow Monkeys.

So yes, the Japanese Red-crowned Cranes were in the snow the entire time we were taking photos of them, but one morning we had quite heavy snow, which was majestic to say the least.  

Really glad my OMD EM1 Mark II and pro lens were weather proof!  At one point though, the snow was so heavy it was almost impossible to focus, still beautiful though!  More photos of cranes in the snow from the 2018 Winter Wildlife Tour of Japan below:

2017 Private Summer Tour of Japan | Portraits and Tea Ceremony with Maiko

Aug 19 | Evan | No Comments |

While traveling to Kyoto for the private and custom tour of Japan, I arranged for a tea ceremony and private portrait session with a real maiko (geiko apprentice) in Kyoto.  I’ve taken her portraits many times before and she is almost finished with her apprenticeship and will be a geiko soon, I think by the time I see her again in the 2018 cherry blossom season in Japan!  It’s been a wonderful experience working with her over the years and seeing her progression through the maiko/geiko culture and profession in Kyoto.

We met our maiko at her tea house for a short tea ceremony and dance performance.  After chatting a little we went to a temple in Kyoto for our portrait session.  Having photographed her before in Kyoto at this temple, I knew some of the poses I wanted to try again and some new poses I wanted to try.  In this sense, photography locations for me can be similar to returning to a restaurant I like in that I know what menu items I already had and enjoyed but interesting in trying something new.

Taking a step back with restaurants in general, even more so when I do tours in Tokyo and Kyoto as I know my favorite restaurants to eat in Japan but there is always a new place I want to try and visit! Back to photography though! Luckily, with photography, especially now it’s digital, I can try as many poses as time permits and get the instant feedback on how the portraits are coming out.  In this case, working with a professional model, our maiko made it hard for us to take bad portraits!

This was actually my first entire portrait session using only my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and no nikon gear.  After editing in raw and comparing to my portraits of our maiko from the same location last year with my Nikon D750, I’m very pleased with the results!

See more photos below or the full report to see more posts from the custom and private photography tour of Japan.

2017 Private Summer Tour of Japan | Kyoto

Aug 16 | Evan | No Comments |

Kyoto. More than 30 trips to Kyoto since 2004 and I’m still amazed every time I travel to Japan’s old capital.  The mix between modern and traditional Japan is is probably the main reason why Kyoto is my favorite city in the world though it’s always exciting to see what first time visitors to Kyoto will fall in love with.  Everyone comes to Kyoto with high expectations, but somehow tours in Kyoto never disappoint!

Whether it’s the temples and shrines themselves like Golden Pavilion, Nanzenji or Fushimi Inari Taisha, or the nature/gardens within or the food and shopping of Kyoto or the Kyoto arts and crafts or the old style buildings like in Ishibei Koji or Ninenzaka or the bamboo forest in Arashiyama, Kyoto has it all.  Of course then there is Kyoto for photographers….


Photographers tend to move at a different pace than normal tourists.  We look at things differently and for longer periods of time and then want to go back to some places for more sometimes!  For a photographer, Kyoto is almost like shooting fish in a barrel.  There are almost too many great opportunities which can be overwhelming at first because there are so many sights to see in a limited time.  While Kyoto does have an extensive bus network and a subway, for efficiency, hiring a car is my preferred way to get around Kyoto and having a car this time certainly helped us to get in as much as possible.  We had four nights in Kyoto, but no matter how many nights in Kyoto, it’s never enough and already looking forward to the next chance I have to spend time photographing and exploring this magical city!

Even after experiencing it a few times, I’m still amazed with the image stabilization on my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.  The first two photos in the gallery below of the waterfall were taken at 1/6th of a second and 1/4th of a second, handheld!

See more photos below or the full report to see more posts from the custom and private photography tour of Japan.

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