A couple of weeks ago, I was planning on meeting a friend for a quick get together. Something informal but still fun. So when it came down to picking the place to meet, I chose the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art. For real, if you’re in the DC metro area and you need a good place to talk, I’d definietly recommend this place. We sat at the benches right around the water fountain under some shade and it was perfect. The meeting ended quickly and I still had time on my parking meter so I decided to walk around the National Gallery of Art for a little bit.
The East Wing has always been my favorite. It’s the modern art part of the gallery and every time I go, I fall more and more in love with this space. It is just so beautiful. The light that comes in through the glass roof in the middle of the day along with all the shadows they create are so amazing. Just every corner of this wing is spectacular.
It has come to the point where I come to the gallery so often that I never try to see it all at once. I’ll pick a floor and take my time there. Really soaking in everything the exhibit has to offer. Then I’ll probably go to the rooftop terrace if it’s a really nice day and then head home. I never feel rushed and it makes it feel brand new every time I visit if I see something new. Regardless, it’s always inspiring and a great way to spend an hour or so.
The settings for this image is F7/.1 at 1/125th of a second ISO 160. Obviously it was a nice and sunny day out so I was able to capture everything with a low ISO.
And this is the same place as Monday’s blog post, but looking down. How freaky is this view? Right?
I don’t know why, but I find myself trying to get a closer look in to all the windows and trying to see if I can see anyone else on these rooftops. Is that creepy? Yes, but I can’t help it. For some reason, this image just brings me in closer and closer to look at all the details. I love how some lights are on, some are off. You can even see some furniture and.. OK I’ll stop. But I think my favorite part is looking at the roof top fans. LOL. I guess I don’t see things like that everyday so they interest me even more so in this image. Just another crazy view of how busy New York City really is. How everyone’s lives are so different but all in the same little area. On the top left hand corner is a perfect view of times square. Congested with all the sparkling lights. And this image was taken on a random Tuesday night. Can you imagine what it’d be like on a Saturday night? Woah.
Funny story: this particular evening was super cloudy and dark. Rain was off and on and Andrew and I were in a taxi on our way to dinner. We drove right through times square and I was busy looking at my phone. All of the sudden it got really light and I was like ‘OMG the sun came out!” I was super excited because I dunno, I guess I like the sun. But when I looked up it was actually just the lights from times square! Isn’t that nuts! It’s so bright that I thought the sun came out. HAHA
The settings for this image was F7.1 for 0.4 seconds at ISO 800.
For this trip, we stayed in Brooklyn which turned out to be a lot bigger than I thought it would be. It was great because every morning we would take Frankie out to a park or something and wear him out. Then we’d spend the rest of the afternoon/evening exploring on our own. I’d definietly stay in Brooklyn again. It was so much quieter than Manhattan but still really easy to get into the city.
On the actual day of my birthday it rained. But the good kind of rain. It didn’t start until the middle of the afternoon so we were still able to explore in the morning with Frankie. Then when it was raining the hardest, we were already inside the MoMA. The perfect escape. Out of coincidence, Andrew made dinner reservations near Times Square. It was perfect because I really wanted to check out this rootop bar on top of the Hyatt Centric afterwards. It’s the tallest rooftop in Times Square and you get these amazing views of lower Manhattan while sippin’ on some adult beverages. It was still a little wet when we got up there but I didn’t even care. The rain clouds were still hovering over the city and I was having a blast. I think my favorite part of this image (besides the clouds) have to be the reflection in the tall H&M building. So crazy to see how big this city is and this is only a little piece of it.
The settings for this image was F/8 at 1/30th of a second ISO 1000. It was so dark that I had to bump up my ISO up even though I was also leaning against the railing.
Afraid of heights? Yea, me neither. I actually think heights can be fun. Sometimes.
This was taken looking down from a rooftop in Ginza, Tokyo during a fun photo tour I had with Eyexplore Tokyo. I joined them for one of their Vertigo tours and it was definietly a different view of the city than I was expecting. In this image, we were looking down at 3 or 4 different buildings. Hard to tell how many there really are because all them are so close to each other. But most of the time we were confined to really tight spaces on top of these buildings. So, I’m the one wearing black shoes and the tour leader, Axel is wearing the brown ones. Andrew was directly behind me so he didn’t make it into the shot but that was basically as much room we were given on this rooftop. Just goes to show you how smushed we really were and how super jammed pack the city is. There was definietly not enough room for tripods at all. Good thing the Sony a7ii is so great in low light situations. I was using the balcony for camera support during the longer exposure times.
The camera settings for this image was f/4 at .5 sec at ISO 500. The ISO definietly had to be bumped up to compensate for the lack of tripod. But I’m glad I was still able to capture the colors and angle so nicely. For sure a difficult shot and if I had the opportunity, I’d love to do something similar in DC. But I’m not sure how rooftop-hopping would go in these government secured buildings. LOL.
If you ever find yourself in Toyko, consider joining one of their tours. I’m sure you’ll learn a lot, like I did 🙂 Tell them Angela sent you.
I was fortunate enough to have spent 7 full days in Tokyo. To some it may seem like a lot, but each day was a new adventure to me. There’s so much to do in this city. It can be a little overwhelming to figure out what’s what, so I thought it’d be helpful to create a guide for those who have never been and highlight some of my favorite things to do in this huge city.
So here’s a guide to maximize your 3 days in Tokyo.
Day 1: Shinjuku
You could spend a whole day in just this ward. Tons of shopping, eating and sight seeing all in one place. This is the best place to just wonder without a map and enjoy the sights and sounds of this great neighborhood. Here are my favorites…
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
The best time to visit this garden is definietly cherry blossom season but it’s super hard to plan for. But even if it’s not spring, this garden is BEAUTIFUL all on it’s on. Everything is so well manicured and clean. It’s a great to grab a picnic basket, your best friend and spend a lovely afternoon in the garden.
just a couple of girlfriends chit chatting
Food Especially if you’re jet lagged, this Ichiran is the perfect ramen spot because its open 24 hours. You even sit in these little divided tables (think DMV type testing seats). Once you’ve been served, they’ll close the curtain in front of you so you have total privacy and can enjoy the full flavor of your noodle soup.
Din Tai Feng for some serious yums. A taiwanese restaurant transplanted in Tokyo known for their soup dumplings. Theres usually a wait, but its totally worth it. Located on one of the top floors of Takashimaya Times Square, which is cool all on it’s own. Each floor is dedicated to a certain department (women, men, homeware, kimonos, etc.) so work your way though times square and then have Din Tai Feng as a reward.
For dinner or some evening entertainment, you gotta check out the Robot Restaurant. It’s kind of hard to describe. Imagine a super trippy drug experience summarized in song, dance, color and lights.
Day 2: Tokyo Skytree, Akihabara, Night Photography Tour
Located in Sumida, it’s a bit of a hike to make it to Tokyo Skytree but it brings an interesting perspective to Tokyo that makes it worth it. I’d try to go early as possible to avoid lines or evening time to see the city light up.
Taken in the middle of the day, Tokyo skytree created a cool shadow over the city.
On your way back to the hotel, stop by the Akihabara ward. Known for all things electronic, anime and manga, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. The heart of the city has tall buildings all covered by anime and manga posters. Pretty cool to see in a city. My favorite part was the electronic store, Yodabashi. For example, the first floor was everything cell phone related, the second floor was all computers, etc, etc, etc. If you’re like me, you’ll want to head to the fifth floor for the camera equipment. It’s like photo heaven.
This is just the escalators to get in between the floors. Yea, it’s pretty awesome.
Our absolute favorite dessert in Tokyo were these mini cheese tarts from Pablo. They’re sooooo good and the ones from Akihabara were baked fresh on the premises so they’re warm when we ate them. They came in three different flavors and in order of my favorite to least is cheese, green tea, chocolate. I can’t emphasize enough how good they were. I wish I had one now.
And if you’re not too tired, check out EYExplore Tokyo photo tours. I highly, highly recommend the veritgo tour but they also offer some cool night time tours in Shinjuku and Shibuya. This is a totally unique experience and its super fun to bring home images you’d be proud of at the end of your whole Tokyo experience.
One of the cool views you could see on the Vertigo Tour Photo Tour from EYExplore Tokyo
Day 3: Harajuku and Shibuya
Before leaving on the trip, I knew I wanted to go to Harajuku. I heard so much about the girls, fashion and street style that it seemed like a super hip place. It definietly did not disappoint. A great place to go to pick up some unique gifts for friends and family but also people watch.
It can get pretty crowded, so be prepared for that.
Last but not least, Shibuya is a place that should not be missed. Home to the busiest crosswalk ever, it’s a sight to see! You’ll be amazed. This short video clip was taken at 11p at night. Can you imagine what it’s like during rush hour? My head still can’t wrap around how many people there are in this tiny space.
Video taken from the the walkway between the Keio Station (Inokashira Line).
But Shibuya has plenty of restaurants and stores to walk around and see. Our favorite place to eat was Joto Curry. It was so good we ate there twice. My favorite part was watching the food being prepared. My mouth is watering just thinking about it again.
So there it is! 3 days in Tokyo! My favorite things to do and eat. Hope you enjoyed. If you feel like I missed something, please let me know in the comments. Or if you’ve been to any of these places, let me know too so we can reminisce on how fun everything is 🙂