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See Japan Through The Alpha Collective's Lenses

Photo by Jude Allen (@jude_allen)

10 members of the Alpha Imaging Collective spent five days in Japan, exploring the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto. Using Sony gear, including the new 135mm f/1.8 G Master lens, they hit the streets to document both traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. With visits to extraordinary places like the Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo Sky Tree, Kinkaku-ji, a bamboo forest and of course, Sony HQ, the Collective has plenty of photos to comb through and even more memories to reflect on.

10 members from the Alpha Imaging Collective share their memories, thoughts & photos from the whirlwind #AICdoesJapan experience.

Read some of their reflections and see some of the incredible images that came out of the #AICdoesJapan trip:

Paola Franqui (@monaris_)

“My favorite location was definitely Kyoto – there was something so magical about it. I love that we got to visit Fuhimi Inari Taisha and Kinkaku-ji, which were both on the top of my list. One of the highlights was being able to photograph a Geiko (Geishas are in Tokyo, Geikos in Kyoto). Trying to spot them around the town was thrilling and exciting. Now I’m left with amazing photos to look back to.”

“I used my Sony α7R III with a 35mm f/1.4 lens most of the time I was in Japan. That lens is super sharp, fast and it is the perfect focal length for my street photography. I also used the Sony 55mm f/1.8 when I wanted to change perspectives to get a more compressed shot.”

Ashley Noel (@nyroamer)

“The idea that I was surrounded by the Collective members who also embrace my passion for photography and creativity was so amazing! It was a great experience to be able to share this trip with fellow Sony creatives. While I had seen it before in photos and videos, I longed to experience and capture Shibuya crossing myself, which we did the first night. Also, to see the famous Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine with the orange torii gates was outstanding, as was the bamboo forest. It’s an area I had seen on Instagram for years, so to experience it in person and to photograph it felt almost spiritual. It was just as beautiful as I had envisioned!”

“The Sony α9 and 85mm f/1.4 G Master combination was superb. I found the crisp clarity to be just outstanding for me. It enabled me to get the street shots I wanted while exploring Tokyo, and allowed me to push my creative limits. It was such a great combination for the shots I wanted and it made me want to just keep shooting!”

Crissi Beth Ellis (@crissibeth)

“I loved so many of the locations - from Harajuku to Team Labs to the shiny escalator - but the top of the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world, was probably my favorite. You could see forever from up there.”

“The Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master lens became my workhorse. I typically prefer prime lenses, but the G Master lenses are so sharp that it was very comparable. I love a wide angle to shoot architecture and cityscapes, but we were also shooting a fair amount of street and portraiture on the trip. Being able to zoom up to 35mm was a great option to have. This lens provided that quick versatility. The bokeh was smooth and it was pretty easy to carry around. It's my new go-to lens.”

Ivan Wong (@ivvnwong)

“The location that stood out the most to me was TeamLabs Planets. I loved playing around with the art installations and finding many different angles to capture them. The lighting was constantly changing so I enjoyed the challenge of capturing each moment. TeamLabs was definitely a photographer’s playground, and I could spend hours in there creating.”

“I was glad to have been able to try a wide array of lenses on this trip. I brought the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, 16-35mm GM, 35mm f/1.4 G, and 70-200mm f/2.8 GM to use and also tried out the 135mm f/1.4 GM. The lens that I leaned on the most was the 24-70mm GM for things like portraits and city shots, then I switched to the 16-35mm for the bamboo forest and the Fuhimi Inari Taisha Shrine. I also really enjoyed trying the 135mm. The bokeh was really smooth for portraits and softened the background really well.”

Fei Tang (@phives)

“With the initial mindset of capturing as much of the people and culture of Tokyo as possible, the streets and alleyways of Shibuya and Shinjuku were my favorite locations to shoot. These areas were the most busy around-the-clock and truly showcased the masses of people from all walks of life. It was incredible to experience an intimate, six-person restaurant with a chef cooking right in front of you and then walk down the street to another restaurant completely operated by technology and ordering food on a touch screen and having it served to you via a series of three conveyor belts.”

“Being able to use the new 135mm G Master was a dream in Tokyo. Its fast autofocus gave me the ability to isolate/capture people on the streets with sharpness, quickness and ease. Then I could seamlessly transition to shooting down the long streets of Tokyo packed with people (and all the business and neon signage) and the lens offered up beautiful compression and depth separation.”

Dane Isaac (@dane.isaac)

“We used the subway every day to commute to different locations throughout Japan. No matter how many times I would see the stations, I was always in awe. There were so many people moving in unison. The entire trip, Japan felt so much like a home away from home. Growing up, I consumed so much Japanese media that I felt like I was dropped into so many memories.”

“I used the α7R III throughout the entire trip. The lens that surprised me was the 24mm f/1.4 GM. The images I captured were sharp and the image quality was profound.”

Jude Allen (@jude_allen)

“Shinjuku city really stood out to me as I've always been a fan of futuristic settings. All of the neon lights and energy of the people constantly moving made me feel as if I was living inside a movie. There were also just a ton of interesting and vibrant things and people to photograph. One of my favorite things was seeing the Geikos in Kyoto. I felt that was one of the most authentic things that we saw on the trip.”

“I'd have to say when I tried out the 135mm f/1.8 G Master I was really amazed at not only how light it was, but also how sharp and artistic it made things look even before editing.”

Marco DeGennaro (@marcodegennarophotos)

“I loved Shibuya Crossing – it was amazing to see in person. I was looking forward to going there the most. It was so full of life and energy. The entire trip was a great experience and it was great to get to know the other Collective members better.”

“The α7R III and 24mm G Master was my gear combination of choice for this trip, and it was just killer. The compact size made it a joy to carry and it was sharp through the edges even when shot wide open. For a wide lens the distortion is minimal to nonexistent. I was also surprised by the bokeh that the lens could produce. I definitely fell in love with this camera/lens combo.”

Francisco Hernandez (@fjhphoto)

“When we got to Shibuya Crossing, I fell in love. I am a huge fan of neon lights and nightlife. I have been to New York a few times and Times Square is beautiful to me, but Shibuya Crossing felt more grand and absolutely gorgeous. I took many shots with neon signs too. I would love to go back just to experience all that again.”

“I absolutely loved the 24mm G Master on this trip. I tend to shoot at 85mm or longer, but knowing that we'd be walking around Japan a lot I wanted to use something wider for street photography. The wide f/2.8 aperture on the 24mm GM is perfect for the flexibility of isolating a subject up close or capturing a wide scene. It focuses so fast and that was crucial to some photos I took where moments were fleeting.”

Shauna Wade (@so.shauna)

“The location that stood out to me the most was Kyoto. The reason being is that it had many points of interest that I only dreamed of visiting – like the Fushimi Inari Shrine, and the street where the Geikos lived. It felt surreal to actually be there in person and experience how amazing it is to see with my own eyes!”

“The camera and lens combo that shined for me was my α7 III with the 85mm G Master lens. It was the perfect focal length to capture distant subjects, giving that ‘smooth like butter’ bokeh finish in the background that I love. It worked amazingly to shoot portraits as well!”

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