Autumn On Lake Haruna || Lightroom Only

A couple of weeks ago I took a visit to Lake Haruna in Gunma Prefecture with my friend Anthony Wood. We were shown around by an older gentleman who is a friend through church – he grew up in the area, so he knows a lot of the best places to photograph. It’s always nice to have a connection with a local when it comes to photography! For lunch we ate at a restaurant in a local hotel, and it was just across from there that I took this photo. The colors were popping so nicely, and I loved seeing the birds flying across the lake along the adjacent shore. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to be there at that moment.

The photo is yet another great example of how powerful Lightroom can be all by itself for photo editing. This edit was a little more complicated because of the contrast of the scene. The bright sky, reflections on the water, and various colors made for an interesting challenge in Lightroom, but the tools are all there to make it work.

Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 85mm f/1.8G
Shot Info: f/11 | 1/100sec | ISO 250 | 85mm

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Unasawa Valley in the Autumn

Last year I went on a hike with Anthony Wood in the Unasawa Valley – a rather remote area near Okutama, Japan. There are several waterfalls in the area, which was the main reason we went, but there ended up being some other sights worth seeing as well. I thought this particular view which is at the beginning of the hike was very nice. With a blanket of wet autumn leaves all around, it gave a great fall vibe to start the trek.

Below you can see a before and after comparison of the photo. I spiced this one up pretty strongly in Photoshop, but in a way I think it’s closer to what I remember when I was there. The original image is a long exposure, and it had to be because things were getting pretty dark by the time we left, but that left it brighter than it really was. I think the darker feeling of the finished image captures the scene a little better.

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before image
unasawa autumn final image

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Yokohama Bay Evening View

So, a little background to this image. Almost 4 years ago I took a trip down to Yokohama, which is about a 2 hour trip by train from where I live. My plan was to get there around sunset and shoot into the early evening around the Yokohama bay area. I ended up running a little late, and had already been forced to ride some very crowded trains through Tokyo, so when I finally got there I was ready to shoot! I got to my spot, set up my tripod, got my camera locked in … only to realize I had left my battery at home. Talk about a face palm moment! What could I do? I ate the dinner I had brought with me, packed up my bags, got back on the crowded trains and went home.

I’ve wanted to go back for that photo for quite some time, but things just never worked out. I’ve been back on several occasions for meetings, but the weather was always rainy. Thankfully, while my brother was in town, we were able to spend an evening in Yokohama and I finally got a shot that I was looking for. It’s been a long time in the making, but I like to think it was worth it.

Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 16-35mm f/4
Shot Info: f/10 | Multiple Exposures (Blended Image) | ISO 100 | 16mm

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Yokohama Bay

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  • Calum - Hi Les, I have mainly used long exposure shooting around Yokohama at night but you used HDR blend instead – what do you get from HDR rather than long?
    Ps there are some other good little spots close byReplyCancel

    • leslie - Hey Calum! Basically this allows me to balance the light better. This photo is made up of 3 different exposures that I took using the bracketing function on my camera. The longest exposure was around 20 seconds long. That longer exposure gives nice details in the darker areas like the grass or sky, but it leaves most of the bright areas blown out. By blending in a darker exposure, I’m able to return some detail to those areas as well. So for example, if you were to zoom in on the image all the way, you could actually see the ceilings in some of the windows in this image, whereas in the 20 second exposure, it’s just light. If I make it back down to Yokohama by myself again I may try to send you an email and get you to show me some of those little spots. 🙂ReplyCancel

A Trip To Kyoto

For the past two weeks my brother was in town to visit, so we got to explore a lot together. Mostly we wandered around Tokyo, but he really wanted to see Kyoto, so he was kind enough to treat me to a trip there with him for his first visit. Since I was there with him I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I might normally, but I did still manage to fit some photos in here and there, so I thought I’d share some of those with you all. Enjoy!

Of course, any visitor to Kyoto has to see the famous bamboo forest in Arashiyama. We visited the main one, and also visited a less famous one not too far away.

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Photo of Bamboo Forest Kyoto

Japan Bamboo

Bamboo Forest Path

We also spent a good amount of time exploring the small side streets around Kyoto. Especially in the famous Gion District, there are lots of great little scenes and shops which are worth photographing.

Kyoto Side Street

Japan Ramen Shop

Kyoto Alley

Gion District Kyoto

Japanese Restaurant Kyoto

Here are a couple of unorganized ones from various places. The photo of the torii gates is from Fushimi Inari Shrine, which was insanely crowded, thus preventing me from taking many photos.

One Thousand Paper Cranes

Kyoto Riverside restaurant

Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto

Hope you’ve enjoyed the photos from Kyoto! If you ever get a chance to go, take it! It’s well worth the trip. And by the way, if you’d like to see some of my other Kyoto photos, check them out here.


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Pub Wall In Tokyo & New Quick Tip

Tokyo is, to quote the eminent philosopher Forrest Gump, “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” This is especially true for photographers. Wandering around Tokyo is akin to a treasure hunt. The city is full of unique scenes to photograph, tucked in places that could be easily overlooked, and may well have never been discovered by any camera before. You could be walking down a relatively uninteresting street, only to turn the corner and end up spending an hour there with your camera. Such was the case with this picture. Well, I didn’t spend an hour here, but I did turn the corner and find this lovely decorated wall. The wall is, as you might guess, part of a restaurant, or more accurately part of a pub near a train station in Tokyo. Many of the train stations in Tokyo are surrounded by pubs like this, inviting in the salary men each night as they head home from work. The name of the place, Yotteke, is associated with intoxication. Although I personally don’t drink alcohol, I will say their food looks delicious and the decorations are fantastic!

With today’s picture I’ve also included a Before & After version, as well as new Quick Tip video talking about using the highlights and whites sliders Lightroom. The distinction between these two sliders may not be obvious to many users (same with the shadows and blacks sliders) so I hope this short video will help clear that up so you can use them more effectively. That distinction actually came in handy for this particular image. You can watch the Quick Tip video just below the image.

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