top of page

47 Autochromes of Japan

47 Autochromes of Japan
May of 2023, myself and a few others made a somewhat rash decision - two of our friends would be in Japan at about the same time next September for work, and roundtrip plane tickets we really cheap!  I've heard from older folk over and over again, to do your traveling while you're young, because it only gets harder as you age.  Well here I am, rapidly aging, with barely any travel to show for it.  

 

I knew I wanted to dedicate a large portion of the trip to taking autochromes.  For the few months leading up to the trip, I obsessed with making plates as well as I could, as I was terrified of taking so many shots, only to find out there was some horrible defect in all of them.  In fact, with only weeks left before the deadline to mail the plates, I had to scrap about 20 screen-plates due to problems with the emulsion kind of... just floating off during development.

 

My goal was to make 36 plates, though I ultimately exceeded that and was able to make 48 total.  Due to time constraints, they were a mix between my older unfiltered "large grained" plates, and my only-very-recently-successful "small grained" plates.  The larger grained plates ended up being slower, about 7 seconds to expose, but created images with a much higher saturation.  The smaller grained plates had the advantage of resolving much finer details, and their exposure only took about 1 second.  I ended up packing the plates and mailing them to the hotel ahead of time, as I was concerned about the newer "CT" airport scanners ruining the plates.  Although requesting security workers to manually inspect film is still a thing in many places, I wasn't confident in my ability to explain what autochromes were to security officers, especially if there was a language barrier involved.  I did have one plate packed in a plate holder in my checked luggage, just to see what would happen. 

U
 

Boxes 1 and 2 - Tokyo
In the 36 hours I spent traveling from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Tokyo, I only managed to catch about 2 hours of sleep.  Despite being somewhat delirious,  we navigated the route from Narita to Shinjuku Station surprisingly easily.  Being from the Midwest US, I'm not exactly used to public transportation at all, but I had done a ton of research prior to our trip, and snagged some "Suica" cards preloaded with money for use on the subways.  I was worried at first about messing something up and causing a scene in such a busy station, but it was surprisingly easy to use, and Google Maps made transferring across different subway lines trivial.  

It was night by the time we moved through bright and colorful Shinjuku, but lacked the energy to gawk to much at everything.  We passed out as soon as we got to our rooms.

This was the view from our hotel.  I just kinda set the camera on the sill to see what happened.  One of the plates was the one I ran through our checked luggage, so I wanted a second plate to compare with, to see if the x-ray scanners fogged it or not.  Not very much color here in these.

Early morning in Shinjuku.  The women of this area are very nice, and kept offering me massages.  So much in fact, I had to keep moving to the main roads so they would stop bothering me.  

A shot over water near Tsukiji fish market.  I love the tones in this one

Dinner in the market was nice.  I had my first Highball!

Some shots later in the evening in Shinjuku.  I hadn't really shot any autochromes at all in anything but sunny lighting conditions before, so I was really happy these turned out.  Typical "sunny" exposure was 1 second at f/5.6.  Night exposures were about 8 minutes or so.