(Photo Story posts contain mostly streams of photographs with little technical information on the photos themselves. At the bottom of the page you will find camera and lens information/specific shooting conditions)
Sometimes it can be difficult to simply “get out there” when there’s still a nip of cold in the air and you’re still trying to heal some busted knees. However, Spring’s arrival is just one of those times that can’t be skipped. In Japan, the blooming of Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) marks the end of Winter, and brings out droves of people to enjoy the sights and smells of the delicate flowering trees.
The Japanese Spring was one of the events I looked forward to the most when I came to Japan, and now that it’s upon me, I can’t wait to take every weekend I can to explore Kanagawa Prefecture (and beyond!) to make some photographs. Back to this past weekend in Ota City with some friends in tow, I went to a Hanami, which is a Japanese custom of viewing the beauty of flowers (often Sakura), usually with a picnic. After a train ride and short cab ride to Honmonji Park, we hiked around some crooked stairs to find our own relatively secluded spot under all the flowering trees.
After a bunch of snacks and treats brought by all (which remain un-photographed due to sticky fingers!), a group of us broke off to visit the local temple and the surrounding grounds.
Right inside the main gate next to an early-bloomed tree, a tea station set up to serve a more traditional green tea experience drew particular interest. Served with a Daifuku (rice cake stuffed with anko, a sweetened red bean paste), the tea was a tad bitter but delicious all the same.
The Sakura are right about in full bloom now, and I’m sure they’ll look amazing when the petals begin falling in droves. If I manage to catch it immediately following a strong rainstorm, it may make for some more great photos. Thankfully, in addition to the scattering of the trees all around base, there’s a small park right next to me that I can practice on filled with Sakura.
When I am not actively shooting with a single lens, or when I want to focus more on an experience rather than technical jargon, I will post photo stories such as these. These sort of posts should be a good fit for the more “real-life” side of my photography, which I am wanting to show more of. Pixel-peeping has its objective merits, especially whenever I am testing a lens or taking a look at a brand new one (like the 85mm at CP+), but for website posts with their decreased resolution and quality, I think this approach should work better.
All that said, I can’t help but add a little of my own technical details from the couple days of shooting! All the photos above were made with the Sony NEX-7 and two lenses: the Rokinon 16mm f/2 and Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AI-s. Almost all at base ISO with varying apertures from wide-open to f/5.6. While the weather cooperated, with the lightly forecasted rain, I hated to see that the sky was a flat grey the entire time with a strangely uniform overcast. Though this made editing relatively easy in regards to optimizing contrast, color, and white balance, the absence of recoverable detail in the sky gave the photos a more flat tone than I would expect from a clear blue or partly cloudy sky. If I had an infrared-converted camera, however, the sky combined with the Sakura blossoms would look amazing!
Either way, given the short lifespan of these flowers you have to take what you can get, even if it means photographing under overcast skies. Who knows, perhaps next year during the full bloom I’ll have a weekend filled with crystal clear blue skies and puffy white clouds. A guy’s gotta dream, right? That’s all for this photo story, guys and gals. As always, thanks for reading, and have a great day!