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Black and white photography from my rooftop

In May 2020, I had a photoshoot planned.  But with no warning, it was canceled.  That often happens!.  It was a tremendous blow because I didn’t have a backup plan.  With time running out I went through my options.  I decided to do some long exposures in black and white!  That was something I hadn’t done for a long time!  And best of all, I only had to go to my rooftop.

Suburban Suginami ward and Shinjuku skyline on left

Looking out from 11 floors up, I saw the skyscrapers of Shinjuku.  The buildings were about five kilometers away.  But most of all, the clouds looked great.  They were nice and fluffy.  And there was a bonus; a good wind was racing across the sky.  I had a great afternoon.

It was the perfect time to use my Lee Super Stopper Neutral Density 4.5 filter.  That reduced the amount of light entering the lens by a huge amount.  I took a series of exposures ranging from two to four minutes.  It worked out quite well.


The only thing I wasn’t happy with was the direction of the clouds.  They moved from right to left.  For me, that wasn’t very attractive.  It would have been far better if they had moved from the top of the picture to the bottom.  In that case, they would have acted like leading lines pointing to the buildings in Shinjuku.  That would have had more impact.

The other part of my plan was to use a red filter, but I settled on using the Acros-R film simulation.  That made things easier.  Just one click in Lightroom, and I got the pictures I wanted, with only the fine-tuning remaining.  I didn’t have to worry about attaching anything to the lens of my camera.

Shinjuku skyline with clouds above

In the end, things worked out well, I guess.  Recently I haven’t had many opportunities to do black and white photography, so I can’t complain.  If I have one complaint, that is it, not being able to shoot in black and white more often!

As I already mentioned, I took these photos in 2020.  At that time, I had a Fujifilm X-T2.  If I still used it today, but I don’t, I would be very happy with it.  Well, I have one in a draw, but I don’t use it.  The sensor might be older, but who can tell when looking at the pictures?

If you wanted to get into photography but were on a very tight budget I’d recommend the X-T2.  In Tokyo, you can pick up a secondhand one for about ¥70000 at Map Camera in Shinjuku. You might be able to find cheaper ones elsewhere of course.

clouds over Tokyo

I haven’t done any black and white photography from my rooftop recently.  These pictures are inspiring me.  When some nice clouds appear, I’ll do it! If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.  

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