Sakura Flow || Lightroom Only

I’ve taken many different images of sakura (cherry blossoms), from all sorts of angles and at various focal lengths, but there has been photo I’ve wanted to take for a while that I’ve had a hard time getting. Thankfully, while visiting Aomori Prefecture for a photography project recently, I found the perfect place to finally get this photo, which you can see below.

The photo was taken in a section of the moat around the Hirosaki Castle grounds. As the blossom petals fell into the water, the wind blew them across the top of the water. Since the petals were all fresh, they still had the lovely white/pink hue, which made the scene that much more beautiful. I especially loved that the brown lily pads had caught some of the sakura petals, so there was a mixture of both motion and stillness. It was the exactly the scene I had been looking for to get this shot!

This is also another good opportunity to show the power of Adobe Lightroom to simply but powerfully process a digital photograph. This image didn’t require a lot of time or details in Photoshop – just some simple controls in the Lightroom work space. One of the many reasons I love this software!

Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 85mm f/1.8G
Filter: Hoya NDX400 Neutral Density Filter
Shot Info: f/8 | 30 Sec | ISO 125 | 85mm

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Sunset at Suzumejima

Last week I had the chance to visit Suzumejima in the Boso Peninsula of Chiba Prefecture. It’s a place that I’ve been wanting to photography for some time. The location itself isn’t anything all that fancy – it’s comprised of two rocky structures sticking out from the water near the coast. Despite the location’s simplicity, it is a beautiful spot to photograph the sunset, especially this time of year. For a brief period each year, the sun sets directly between the two structures, making for a breathtaking scene in the right conditions.

For that reason, it was the conditions I was most concerned about for this outing. For photography of this nature, you generally don’t want to have totally clear skies, but too many clouds can obscure the sunset, so there’s a narrow set of perfect conditions for which I was hunting. As you can see in the image below, it’s safe to say I got the conditions I wanted!

I had a great time photographing Suzumejima! In fact, it was so much fun, I made a video where you can join me behind the scenes. You can watch the video below the image.

Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 16-35mm f/4
Shot Info: f/11 | Multiple Exposures (Blended) | ISO 100 | 27mm

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Sunset Chiba Prefecture Japan

Behind The Scenes Video:

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Lightroom Only || Mt Fuji On Lake Saiko

This is an image I took last summer during a trip to the Mt. Fuji Five Lakes area. Before this trip, I had been to three of the lakes: Kawaguchiko, Shojiko, and Motosuko, but had not yet been to Yamankako or Saiko. Out of the remaining two, Saiko was easily my favorite. Although the view of Mt. Fuji is partially obstructed at Saiko, the natural beauty and serenity of the lake made up for it. Out of all five lakes, Saiko might be the quietest. Additionally, the history of the lake is interesting; those large hills which obscure the view of Fuji were formed by lava flows thousands of years ago, which separated Saiko from Shojiko and Motosuko.

Aside from the opportunity to incorporate all of these elements into one image, the view also offer a good opportunity to show the power of Lightroom. With the sun going down over the mountains behind me, the lake and part of the hills were in the shade, making for a strong contrast. Lightroom was able to cut through this with no problem, and pull out great details on Mt. Fuji as well. Lightroom is truly an amazing tool to have at your disposal!

Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 16-35mm f/4
Shot Info: f/11 | 1/50sec | ISO 100 | 35mm

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Cherry Blossoms at Mizumoto Park Tokyo || Lightroom Only

As January nears its end, my mind starts turning towards the fast approaching cherry blossom season. Especially since this will be my last cherry blossom season as a resident of Japan, I’m aiming to make the most of it. I’ve got lots of places I want to visit and photograph, and can’t wait to share those photos with you! In the meantime, I’m looking back through old images and considering the editing process while I dream of the coming spring. Although there are situations that call for more advanced techniques in Photoshop, most of the time, all I need to make a photo of the sakura pop is Lightroom. That was certainly the case here. The original image was very flat and the colors muted, and I also I under exposed the image a bit. With some easy adjustments in Lightroom, I was able to pull out details and colors that the camera had a difficult time picking up on its own, and easily correct the exposure.

By the way, you can get my free eBook on photographing cherry blossoms at this link. You can find my free Sakura Lightroom Preset pack right here. And make sure to check out my gallery of beautiful cherry blossom photos at this link: Cherry Blossoms.

Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 85mm f/1.8G
Shot Info: f/1.8 | 1/800sec | ISO 100 | 85mm

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cherry blossoms japan before
cherry blossoms japan

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Tokyo From The Ikebukuro Sunshine Tower

Although it doesn’t snow a whole lot in Tokyo, it can get very cold. As a landscape and travel photographer, that poses a problem. There’s not a lot of motivation to get outside with my camera, but there’s also not much to photograph indoors. Thankfully, Tokyo has a solution – tall buildings with observation decks. During the winter, the air over Tokyo is relatively clear, so the views from these buildings can be spectacular. Additionally, during the winter there are less tourists around, so you’re less likely to have to fight the crowds. All in all, it’s a great combination for some aerial cityscape photography.

This particular image was taken from the Sunshine Tower in Ikebukuro (also known as the Sunshine 60). If you’re ever in Tokyo, this is a great observation deck to check out, thanks largely to the liberal tripod policy. This photo was created using digital blending, meaning it is made up of bracketed shots. For that kind of photography, a tripod is pretty important!

Use the slider below to see the before and after comparison.

Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 16-35mm f/4
Shot Info: f/8 | Multiple Exposures (Blended) | ISO 320 | 16mm

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