Late afternoons are great for the Tokyo skyline

Late afternoons are great for the Tokyo skyline.  Well, especially if you are a photographer!  At times, I prefer it more than golden hour.  We’ll talk about that later, though.  Again, I went to Yebisu Garden Place Tower.  It’s not a real observatory, but it has some nice windows!

This time I was lucky.  The cloud formations were extremely good.  They weren’t the cumulonimbus clouds that I love, but they were still interesting.

With the sun getting lower, the heat of the day dissipated.   That provided another bonus.  The sky became bluer, which was what I wanted.  And the haze we often see in summer was almost non-existent.  I was in for a treat.

The afternoon sun beautifully lit the central city skyline.  And that is where Tokyo Tower, Roppongi Hills, and Azabudai Hills are.  Those were the big three.  They were my main targets. I wanted to photograph them.

To the north were Shibuya and Shinjuku.  I wasn’t really interested in them.  As it was a Sunday, many building lights wouldn’t be on.  I will photograph them another time.

The scenery to the west was pretty dull.  Very little was there.  It was an ocean of bland suburbia.  But at least, I saw Mount Fuji’s summit poking its head through the clouds.

By the way, I took these photos on a Sunday afternoon.  That was good and bad.  Having few people there was a bonus.  There was one specific thing I didn’t like.

Yebisu Garden Place Tower has two floors, one on the thirty-eighth and the other on the thirty-ninth.  I skip the upper one as it doesn’t have windows facing east unless you enter one of the restaurants.

The thirty-eighth has a row of windows facing Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Hills.  But they are sunk into the sills.  That allows people to sit on the ledge.  And they sit on them to enjoy the view and wait for sunset.  Many won’t move once on them.  It can be very frustrating.  You might have to wait a long time for some to move.

You might be wondering why I didn’t shoot the Tokyo Skyline at Golden Hour.  For those who don’t know what it is, it’s the time 30 minutes on either side of sunrise or sunset.  Photographers love it because it produces beautiful natural light.  The light is even, so it is hard to overexpose or underexpose an image.  And it has a golden hue to it, of course!

Some people shoot it for precisely that reason.   I get it.  But, for me, it is so overused, and I know why people do it.  It can bore me.  I’m too used to it.

Every person is entitled to their own opinion, and they can photograph what they want.  But I don’t want to limit myself to one time.  If you are building a brand on sunset or sunrise photography, go for it!  But if you want to show how the world really is, shoot at different times.

Anyway, I think late afternoons are great for the Tokyo skyline.  They are great for any city and landscape too.  By the way, do you remember seeing another article about Ebisu Garden Place Tower recently?  Yes, I published it about a week ago.  It was photographed a little earlier in the day.  The link is below.

What camera gear did I use for these Tokyo skyline photos?

  • Camera body: Fujifilm X-T3
  • Lenses: Fujifilm  XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR and XF10-24mmF4 R OIS WR

For more observatory articles, look at:

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