On the other side of the world!

So we arrived in Scotland without a hitch and have started setting up for our new life bit by bit. We sorted out wifi on our first day here, phones on our second day, we’ve been making lists of places in Edinburgh we’d like to stay and from tomorrow. At the moment we are at my family farm near St-Andrews and it really feels like it is on the other side of the world from Tokyo. Literally it is, Tokyo is 5710 miles away and the view from our window there was a car park and a train line, here it’s cows and fields. It’s not  a bad change to be honest, I’ve been in Tokyo for 11 years, 2 years in London before that, after 13 years in packed trains and pollution it’s nice to breathe fresh air again. It’s a nice transitional stage being back in the country, Edinburgh is quite a small capital city, very quiet compared to the previous homes for Sue and I (she lived in Seoul before Tokyo), but seeing as how both of us came from the country in the first place, it’s nice to go back to country life for a while.

Anyway, seeing as how we’ve only been in Scotland for 5 days there hasn’t been any work yet. To be honest, I’m not expecting any for a while, I’d say we’d be lucky to have anything for the next 3-6 months, it takes a bit of time to set stuff up, advertise and get clients coming in, so for a while I’ll be blogging about stuff we did in Japan and hopefully some photos from being out and about in Scotland.

One of our jobs last month was covering the opening of the worlds largest UNIQLO store, a 12 storey building in Ginza, once the area with the most expensive real estate in the world where high end brands were the name of the game, now they are taking second place to fast fashion. With my good friend and Japan’s leading fashion writer Paul McInnes (a fellow Scotsman) we went along to the opening of this megastore the day before it opened to the public to do what was our last collaboration article for Tokyofashion.com. All the photos from the day and Paul’s great write up can be found over at Tokyofashion.com and as always, you’ll learn something from Paul’s writing and I won’t do any dis-service to his article by trying to explain about the store here, instead I’ll just put up some photos from this modern store where they really have thought well about their concepts, whether it be recreating a house inside their store on the higher floors for brand collaborations or having soft floors for the kids to fall safely on on their kids floor, it was a joy to see the place before it opened it’s doors to the public and had people queuing for hours to get in. The shoot itself wasn’t too difficult, it did have a lot of press there, all the big Japanese daily newspapers, NHK broadcasting and the BBC, so all I really had to worry about was not getting reporters or TV cameras in the shots.

Equipment wise it was quite light. I used my new Lowepro Stealth reporter D650AW bag and loaded it with my two 5DmkII bodies (new one to shoot with, old one as back-up), my 17-40mm f4L and 24-70 f2.8L lenses with a speedlite 580EXII with the usual bits and bobs (cable release, spare batteries etc). Also had my slik tripod with me as with store reviews most of the shots are slightly long exposures, somewhere in the 2 second-1/15th second for wide store  shots on the 17-40mm lens (using some fill flash when needed) and for most of the closer up shots, just the 24-70mm and flash. Here’s the gear:

There are 12 floors to the store, but the top one was reserved for a press conference so I had 11 floors to cover. It sounds a lot more work than it is, I already had my brief of the floors which were of most interest to Paul for his article, so I knew I had to concentrate on them, make sure there was coverage of the store interior as well as the garments. This was for the top 4 floors, so for each floor I probably took around 200 images on those floors, for the other floors that weren’t so important it was more of a case of quickly getting some wide shots to show the floor and only one or two shots of garments, so for the less important floors it was perhaps only 10-20 shots. In addition to my brief I wanted to add a bit more of a feel to the area as well, so I added in some shots of the store exterior and even some of the posters in the local underground advertising the imminent opening. Here are a few examples:

Only a few weeks ago the busy streets of Tokyo was our home and work place, now we’re in much more sedate surroundings planning our next steps in life. It had been warm in Scotland last week, 23 degrees which is very unusual for this time of year, but the day after Sue and I arrived it dropped down to zero degrees and started to snow. It felt nice though, it felt like home. Hopefully some more photos of Scotland to come soon.



Christopher - Congratulations on your successful move Will! Love this shots of the UNIQLO opening but I can’t wait to see what you’ll find and share from your home in beautiful Caledonia.

Laura Abigail - I just started out completely freelance so I’ll have to wait for work as well,
I’m kind of in the same situation :D
I hope everything works out for you guys,
but you’re awesome at what you do so I’m pretty sure it will
Happy Easter!


Rob - congratulations on your move. What caught my attention is the simple and orderly style the UNIQLO shops use to display their product. Your images reflect this. I look forward to continuing with your Tokyo adventures and your new Scotland adventures.

I forgot to ask in one of your runway shoots about flash. I had no idea flash would be allowed to capture images of the fashion models. I know flash is not allowed to shoot sports in gymnasiums where I rely on an ISO of a minimum of 2000.

Will - Thanks for the comments guys, once we’ve sorted out somewhere to stay and have things going smoothly I look forward to getting some photos from Caledonia online. Christopher, will have to get some of my local St-Andrews :-)

Laura, good luck on the freelancing. It’s tough to begin with, but if you stick at it and believe in yourself it will all work out. You have the skills and I am sure you will be successful.

Rob, for Runway flash is normally a big no go. At the end of the show when the designer comes out I have seen people using it, but never during a show….well some people do use it and get shouted at for doing so. I usually use the flash for installations during fashion week.

Paule - Interesting contrast in locations!

fabrizio - as always an elegant and fascinating result in presentation, love this set and its form to show this awesome details and colors, congrats!!!

Otto von Münchow - Being a photographer myself, I enjoyed reading this post.

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