Light of the Train

Light of the Train - Kyoto, Japan

Light of the Train – Kyoto, Japan

I thought this would make an appropriate image to wrap up my long series on Kyoto. All told, I have 35 posts about Kyoto, the photos of which I shot all on the same day. This does not include the photos from Kyoto Station, which I took on a different day.

I suppose it’s a small glimpse into the prolific photography I do when on vacation. I started the day at Fushimi Inari, then went to Kinkajuji, then to the Gion area of Kyoto where I visited the Leica Store and shot Geisha. Interspersed, I covered my beloved Japanese train system and evening street photographs from central Kyoto.

Of course, I shot a lot more photos, but these are the curated images and applied to stories which forms the arc of my trip to Kyoto. As much as I love Kyoto, I didn’t spend much time there on this year’s trip. I travelled to other parts of Japan, some for the very first time, which I’ll cover on future posts.

I shot this photo with the Olympus PEN-F and 25mm f1.4 lens, like I’ve done for many of my street photography. This one, however, is an out of camera JPEG from the built-in “MonoProfile 2”, which I sometimes prefer. My from RAW, black and white conversions, tend to be crisper and I get the benefit of burning and dodging and other post processing. The JPEG, by contrast is fairly immutable. But, under the right conditions, it produces a softer, more-organic and dreamier look. I like it here, where it seems to create an almost nostalgic feel, for a decidedly ordinary and modern scene.

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7 thoughts on “Light of the Train

  1. Love this shot. From what I’ve seen you post, I prefer the look to the out-of-camera black and whites over the raw conversions. They have a more film-ish look to them. The raw conversions look a little too clean for my tastes and lose some of that organic graininess. It sounds like you don’t get much latitude in the JPGs. I love the look you get from that camera’s built-in settings but it would be nice to be able to adjust it some. That’s the one thing that I do like about Fuji’s JPG’s. I can’t explain why but they have amazing latitude. I have to admit that I prefer the look you get out-of-camera, when it works for the scene.

    1. Thank you, Mike.

      I agree with you, for the most part. I can (sort of) process my RAWs closer to that out of camera JPEG look, but it’s a lot of work. If I want that, I usually just use the JPEG. Depending on the subject, I sometimes like a crisper look.

      There are different black and whites available on the Olympus and JPEGs can be modified in post, however, the high contrast black and white setting that I use is more difficult. It, by definition, crushes the details in the blacks, which can’t be recovered well in the JPEG.

      1. I like to crush blacks myself which I guess is part of why I like the Olympus look so much. I increase blacks in-camera on my Fuji, then crank them up even more in post. It’s a bit of a challenge to get them dark enough for me. You appear to get the look I prefer with minimal effort in camera.

      2. The Olympus PEN-F has some elaborate settings in-camera to change to black and white (as well as color) characteristics, but I really haven’t messed with them yet.


        Though I’m happy enough with the default that I’m in no rush.

  2. Hi Andy,
    I’m contemplating an Olympus camera and would love to hear your thoughts on the PenF vs the M10 Mark III vs M1 Mark II. I love my Nikons but want to go lighter – can you offer em your pros and cons? Chris

    1. I love the PEN-F for its looks and creative potential. Having the black and white and color effects JPEG dial is its unique benefit. That said, I don’ think it’s for everyone.

      For you, I wouldn’t recommend the M10 Mark III, which is the entry level OM-D camera. Depending on your budget, either the E-M5 Mark II or E-M1 Mark II.

      The E-M1 Mark II is larger, with a bigger grip which works well for larger lenses. It is also one of the fastest cameras around. The E-M5 Mark II is smaller and works better for travel.

      I often bring two cameras when I travel, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and the Olympus PEN-F. That works well for me. While the E-M1 Mark II is super fast and beefy, for my travel and street photographs, I’ll generally opt for a smaller package.

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