Chapel at Karuizawa Kogen Church

One of the places high on my list to visit and shoot during my recent trip to Karuizawa was the Karuizawa Kogen Church. As a Christian myself, I have a keen interest in the few Christian locations that exist around Japan, and as a photographer, I love to shoot them whenever possible. This particular visit ended up being pretty fantastic and unique. Fellow photographer Anthony Wood and I arrived at the church during their evening autumn illumination, but at the same time people inside the church were practicing for a Christmas concert using only bells. So, while we were shooting the beautiful architecture, lights and colors outside, the sounds of Christmas bells from the inside filled the air around us. That’s a pretty spectacular way to photograph a place, if you ask me!

Also, in this post I wanted to share a quick tip for how to figure out your framing in a shot when the scene is too dark to see much. In this case, I could see the church in front of me, but seeing the lines and details of the sidewalk on which I was shooting was nearly impossible, both through live view and the actual viewfinder. What I don’t want to do is get home and realize that the shot is horribly crooked or that my framing isn’t what I thought it was. So what to do in this situation? The solution is pretty simple – pump up your ISO as high as necessary to see, and take the photo. You won’t use this photo of course, but it will be enough to confirm your framing on the rear display so you can take the real shot. A simple trick, but really helpful in these situations.

Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR
Shot Info: f/8 | 112 sec | ISO200 | 16mm

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