Where Earth Meets Sky

This Thanksgiving my family had the chance to enjoy a final get together with some good friends of ours who have been living on Yokosuka Naval Base. They’ve blessed us each year with a chance to come down and eat with them, to enjoy a true American Thanksgiving meal. They’ll be headed back to the US this month though, which is why it was our final time together. Anyway, since we were down there and they are about to leave, I did a small family portrait session for them in one of their favorite places – Hokokuji. After we were done taking family pictures, I hung back for a few minutes to take some photos of the lovely bamboo, so that’s where today’s photo comes from. This wasn’t my first time to Hokokuji, but every time I go I can’t help but photograph the beautiful bamboo.

A little info about taking and processing today’s shot. One reason bamboo is great for shooting is that it offers fantastic lines, and also a great canopy of light at the ends of those lines. That’s the case in all kinds of light. For example, on this day it was cloudy, but the tops of the shoots are still exploding with beautiful light. I tried to use the lines of the trees to lead the eyes up to that light. In post processing the image, I did a number of changes. First I did some basic edits in lightroom (contrast, shadows/highlights, coloring, etc.) and then sent that into Photoshop. From there, I added several adjustment layers, including warming and gradient filters, as well as color balance and levels layers. I also added a blank layer where I effectively brushed in a very light bit of white into the lighted areas, and then set that layer’s blend mode as “soft light” which will do just what the name implies. This helps give that area a softer feel, and not so jagged as it looked in the original photo. But since it is only brushed in, it does this without affecting the different things going on with the bamboo shoots themselves. I also added a little bit of sharpening and decreased noise to help things be a bit cleaner, and finally cropped a bit to get the framing exactly how I wanted it. It’s always best to get the framing just the way you want at the spot of the photo, but Hokokuji is very small and I didn’t have a lot of time, so I kind of rushed my original framing. Anyway, I really wanted to show how green and fresh these bamboo look (even in late November!) and I think this image does just that. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 16-35mm f/4
Shot Info: f/5.69 | 1/25 | ISO400 | 16mm

Photo of bamboo in JapanClick Here To Purchase A Print

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