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The colossal fantasy fortress of Akihabara

The colossal fantasy fortress of Akihabara is one of my favorite photographs.  Maids and costumed characters surround it.  In arcades are an enormous assortment of games.  Anime and manga fill the stores.  Imagination is the only limit.  

colossal fantasy fortress of Akihabara

And that is where I found the perfect place for a photograph.  There was a group of buildings packed together.  At night, when they lit up, they resembled a bastion of light—a colossal fantasy fortress.

On its walls were signboards.  Many of them advertised games.  They used alluring females with dazzling figures.  All of them were fantasy girls dressed provocatively.  The images were the type associated with Akihabara.  Walk the streets, and you’ll find similar ones everywhere.


I used them for my picture.  It became a mighty bastion, walls bathed in light.  Beautiful female heroes walked the battlements, ready to defend their land!  While others were there to see to their lord’s needs.  That’s what I saw.  From an image perspective, it was fascinating.  

Is my imagination running away with me?  Am I the only person who sees lovely ladies on a mighty castle brightening the night?  Do you see it?  If not, what do you see?

How did I photograph the colossal fantasy fortress? 

I wanted a long exposure because the light trails would look fabulous in such a location.  After setting up my camera and taking pictures, I found a problem.  The buildings in the frame put out a lot of light, more than I had anticipated.  So, I added a neutral density filter, but I only had a 10-stop one in my bag.  That gave me another problem!  With the settings I had, the light trails were far too long.  I took it off.

I decided to stop the lens down to f/16.  While not as good as the filter, it did reduce light quite a bit, and the light trails weren’t overly long.  They still gave the feeling of movement.

How did I process it?

In Lightroom, the first thing I did was apply the Velvia color profile.  After that, I made some minor adjustments to shadows and highlights.  I also used the new color grading tool minimally to get the look I wanted.  The adjustments, to this point, were minor.  There was no need for Photoshop.

The billboards with the girls lost a lot of details due to the amount of light.  Using the Lightroom brush, I manually darkened them.  I also used it to change the temperature of the road as it was too warm. 

Where is the colossal fantasy fortress of Akihabara?

I took it on the corner of Bic Camera Akihabara.  That is on Chuo-Dori.  It’s only a five-minute walk from the station.  You’ll find a guard rail there, so put your camera behind it.  A major pedestrian crossing will be next to you, so many people will pass you.  Remember to keep your gear out of their way.  Here is a map:

The actual site where I took the picture:

Bic Camera Akihabara

That’s it for my colossal fantasy fortress of Akihabara.  One day, I’ll photograph it again.  Maybe there is another good location there for a similar picture.

For more long-exposure photography articles, look at:

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.  I would love to hear any criticism from you!

3 thoughts on “The colossal fantasy fortress of Akihabara”

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