Using a Ricoh GRD III and a Nikon DSLR to photograph streets, people, architecture and anything else that catches my eye.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Japanese Matsuri Festival - London 2011 - Part 1

One of my favourite things about blogging is...   getting to know fellow bloggers!  Having run this blog since last July, I have regularly followed several photography blogs. The great thing about blogging is leaving and receiving comments (good or bad) (or should I say complimentary and critical).  Last summer, I met up with two fellow bloggers CC and Gerry at the Japanese Matsuri Japanese Festival on the London Southbank.

Gerry and CC are both Americans living and working in London; so it was really great to meet them and chat about cameras and photography, as well as their views on life in London. All three of us are interested in street photography; each with a slightly different styles and methods. The Japanese festival was a good chance to get some interesting people shots, although at times it was a little too crowded.

'Matsuri' essentially means festival or holiday.  It is quite a common summer event in Japan, involving food markets, dancing, singing, arts and crafts...  generally all things celebrating Japanese culture. In Japan, every town and village will have matsuri during the summer; each festival being slightly different depending on its locality.  Really, this is no different to any other country around the world which has summer festivals. In England, for example, countyside villages have always had a traditional summer fayre.

This was the third large Japanese festival in London, and the largest one so far. As soon as I arrived, I was amazed by the number of visitors there. It was seriously crowded and obviously quite popular.  Also, I haven't seen so many Japanese people in one place since my last stay in Japan.  The majority of stalls were selling Japanese foods and drinks; followed by a great many stalls selling arts and crafts, books and clothes.  There were quite a few demonstrations of traditional arts, including dance, music and martial arts.  The public were very involved in much of the goings on.  This festival happened only a couple of months after the terrible earthquake and tsunami; so there was an on going public appeal for help for those victims.

So, myself and my fellow bloggers, chatted and wandered around, quite often losing each other in the crowds.  I took my Nikon D80 with a 50mm prime lens, together with my faithful Ricoh GRD3. I took many images, some good and some not so good.  I was struggling with the sunshine which was playing havoc with my settings. I was constantly trying to get the exposure right, but the light was changing from 'quite dark' under the stalls to 'blinding' along the riverside walk.

I have quite a few images to post, but here are five of the food and art stalls.  These are all taken with the GRD3...  and cropped square.

Check out part 2 & part 3 for more Japanese festival images.

Sushi chef, hard at work.

Ladies making origami 'wishes' and raising money for tsunami victims.

I think he is making 'okonomiyaki', a kind of tasty fried pancake.

Japanese calligraphy. An art form in itself.

Old ladies are always great at knitting.  Here all for charity.


s.c said...

A real nice reportage.One don't think it is made in London. Also love the way the photo's are cropped square. It gives the old rollei effect. To give comment I have to click on the name on the post under your blogname . Otherwise there is no possibility to give comment and that could be a bit problematic. ( Myself needed some time to find this out). Of course if you did this on purpose I have nothing said.

Michael Gatton said...

Nice collection, Bill. I like the focus on the people behind the stalls, the artisans working or otherwise doing good deeds for the community. Hope you're feeling better!

Bill Wellham said...

Thanks S.C. I can understand what you mean about my comment link not showing until you click the name of the post. I am not sure how to fix it though :(

I don't understand why it doesn't work, and I am trying to change all the settings. Nothing is simple! lol

Bill Wellham said...

Thanks Mike... I'm slowly getting better. I blame all the bad weather.

Bill Wellham said...

Hey S.C. , I think I have actually fixed it. Thanks for pointing the problem out to me. :)

CC said...

Hey Bill,
We were pleased you recommended the Japanese festival last July and even more pleased that you were able to come in to town so we got to meet you in person. We'll have to get a few more of our fellow bloggers to join us on our next photo walk.
Great to see your pics from the festival. You certainly got some good one of the vendors. Your raving about the GRD3 lead me to my latest purchase.... yes, I've joined you with the GRD4. My next post will be some of my first images trying to learn the Ricoh. You'll have to tutor me on our next outing!! Thanks for sharing the festival images.