Brian Fabiano's picture

Yasaka Pagoda, Kyoto Japan

April 22, 2016

I wanted to capture sunset and blue hour for a blend, so once planted, my tripod couldn't move. Arriving 90 minutes prior to sunset, I placed my tripod in the center of the road, leaving just enough space for a car to pass by using the curb.

This seemed to be working out fine for the first 3 taxis that passed, all giving me a thumbs up and a smile. However right as blue hour started, a very angry women stormed out of her shop and unleashed what I can only imagine a wraith of obscenities (I do not speak Japanese). By this time a crowd had gathered to share in the event and I was informed that the women said she had called the police. As she continued her assault I nodded, shrugged and smiled, this combination appeared to work, as she eventually returned to her lair. This however was short lived, as moments later the gate opened and a van emerged, determined to dislodge my tripod from its hold.

I leapt in-front of the van and repeatedly motioned for the driver to turn his wheel and go around, but he did not want to comply. His comrade still spewing her verbal attack in the street behind him. This battle ensued for some time until finally he took the route of the curb, narrowly passing my tripod's feet, his companion retreating to her shop.

The street was quiet again and blue hour had begun. I continued my bracketed exposures only to look up and see 3 police officers walking up the street. The mad woman wasn't bluffing, she actually called the police! As they approached I began packing up my tripod, however they simply walked by, smiling and nicely asked me to go my way. I later learned that during her rant, the women said "I call the police all the time, but they never come to help!" I guess I wasn't the first stubborn photographer on this street.

22mm · f/11.0 · 6s · ISO 80
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Tom Lim's picture

Great photo! But the story behind it is even better!! Thanks for sharing!

Wow! I love this. I just came back from Japan and seeing this makes me want to pack up and go back.

I agree with Tom, the back story is even better!

Adam Lyon's picture

Beautiful image, but the story makes it for me. You're braver than I am sticking to your guns in unfamiliar territory with angry locals barking at you. :)

Brett Simpson's picture

Beautiful image. Way to stick it out!

Paul Hara's picture

It is a great photo, but I think you need to remember that when you are visiting a foreign country, you are the face of America. Whether you want to or not, you represent all of us. In this age of increasing anti-American sentiment, we need all the help we can get.

Brian Fabiano's picture

I understand where you're coming from, and believe me I'm very respectful to the culture and traditions while in foreign countries. I can assure you that there were plenty of locals cheering us on as the driver was simply being unreasonable. Had things progressed much further, I would have thrown in the towel. Please keep in mind the tone of the story was enhanced for entertainment value. But I appreciate your concern and do not want to be viewed as "that guy"

Tons of photos have been taken at the exactly SAME place.
You should imagine that if hundreds of people come taking photos
in front of your doorway every single days...
I didn't find your back story was funny.
p.s. how many tourists did you erase from your photos? ^O^

Brian Fabiano's picture

Tom, thank you for the constructive criticism. I approach each location with the same passion to capture its character and experience regardless of the popularity of the shot. I actually only had to erase 1 person from the shot. It was a slow night at the pagoda, most likely due to the B1G1 sale at the steamed bun cart around the corner.
Have a great one!

Yeah I also got screamed at by shop owners in that same district for taking photos in front of their shops... It's always people who live off tourists who hate tourists!

Tim McBroome's picture

Lovely image and great story. I have been in that location and it is generally quite busy.

Brian Fabiano's picture

I got lucky and no crowds this evening. Thanks Tim!

Remus Roman's picture

Really great toning, and awesome story!

Brian Fabiano's picture

Thanks Remus!

Elia Locardi's picture

Great Work Brian!

It's a pleasant photo but people like you give traveling photographers a bad name. We take courtesy and street use laws very seriously. To take over a section of the street without consulting the businesses around you is very bad form.

Creative home design here guy. Love it .

I mean no offense but the backstory makes you look like an absolutely detestable and unreasonable photographer.

Under no circumstances should a photographer have the rights to hold a road hostage for more than 90 mins, forcing vehicles to use a potentially dangerous detour that could result in property damage if the driver made a small mistake.

and to top it off, being stubborn and indignant even when the locals who lived on that street told you to move along.

this is the ultimate example of the kind of travel photographers who gives the rest of us a bad rep.

was it absolutely necessary to hold the road hostage? couldn't you use chalk to mark your tripod location and move out of the way when a vehicle approaches? there are so many other ways you could have used to get this shot but you chose to take the most obstructive way possible just for your own convenience and selfish reasons.

sorry, I still meant no offense, I merely can't tolerate people like you.

Brian Fabiano's picture

Andrew, please take a moment and read through the comments. I was not "holding a road hostage" and the story was elaborated for entertainment. There was plenty of space for cars to go around me, and it was not a residential street. Sorry to get you all riled up over this. I see this is your first and only post on Fstoppers, I hope in the future you read through things and look for the good, not the bad. You can sleep good at night knowing there was nothing done to tarnish travel photographers. Have a great day!