Almost everyone in Asia has seen the small statues of the welcoming cat, very common in shops in Hong Kong. I wanted to go and visit the shrine where these originated. It is in suburban Tokyo in a place called Gotokuji. I took along my Nikon F6 and “The Beast” - my Pentax 67II medium format camera. I packed Kodak Portra colour negative film in 160 and 400 ISO. For the F6 I had Kodak Ektar 100. I also wanted to test a photo lab in the US called “Richard Photo Lab” that I had heard was excellent and would remove me from the drudgery of scanning huge numbers of films. Having just spent 4 entire weekends scanning films from Shikoku I wanted a better way. 

Judge for yourself, but all of the photos on this page were processed and scanned by Richard Labs and I am very happy. They are expensive, not least because I have to send the films to California, but that pales in comparison with the results I get. The files come back will ALL the details from the film (and with negatives that’s a LOT) in the file and all I have to do is a little tweaking in Lightroom to get exactly what I want. In fact I took now more than 1 hour to get over 90 frames sorted this morning.

The next step is to find a drum scanning service in Tokyo for the times I want really super high resolution scans. That is for another time…..

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A “flat” version of the cat - Portra 160 on Pentax 67II.

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The local stalker? Nikon F6 with Kodak Ektar.

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Protecting the wall - you never know. Nikon F6 with Kodak Ektar.

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The Emperor was here. This is the crysanthemum emblem of the emperor. Nikon F6, Kodak Ektar.

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Government housing. Functional. Pentax 67II with Portra 160.

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Ipai Nekko- lots of cats. Pentax 67II, Kodak Portra 160.

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A beautiful wooden pagoda in the shrine. Pentax 67II, Kodak Portra.

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This time through the trees. Pentax 67II, Kodak Portra 160.

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Sheep and cat good luck. Pentax 67II, Kodak Portra 160.

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Stop here. The road into the shrine. Pentax 67II, Portra 160.

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Political Bike. Nikon F6, Kodak Ektar.

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Tram stop. Pentax 67II, Kodak Portra 400.

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The tram itself. Pentax 67II, Kodak Portra 400.

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Public phones are a rare breed. Pentax 67II, Kodak Portra 400.

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Flower basket. Pentax 67II, Kodak Portra 400.

© David Runacres 2014