Once a year, at the temple Agato in Fukuoka Japan, visitors gather together to begin the celebration of the coming new year in an annual fire festival.
A tradition with a series of rituals rooted in Shintoism and celebrated by both the Buddhists and Shintos of Japan.
To photograph this event, I used the Canon R with the 24-105mm f4L and processed the photos with Lightroom. I’ll also share you some tips and tricks and the mental process I use to produce these photos.
The view while driving through Iriomote island in Okinawa Japan is pretty amazing.
in this shot the rains let up for a few minutes allowing us to pull over and grab a few shots here and there.
First off I gotta say, Okinawa is pretty cool. I feel like it's one of those places you have to go to or at least try to at some point in your life.
The whole time I was there I kept thinking I was in Hawaii but then nobody spoke english. Except it's not an annoying tourist trap like Hawaii is. This place is still pretty rural with amazing culture. Although hospitality sucks compared to mainland Japan. Okinawans are little bitches. That part reminds me of Hawaii. 😉
Some more of my street photography from southern Japan. I didn't shoot a whole lot down in the southern part of the island but I did feel like this location was worthy of a post.
The Miyajidake Shrine is one of those places I consider to be an almost hidden gem. Southern Japan is like that, there are so many amazing places but because they aren't part of the tourist pack track through Kyoto and Tokyo, they're almost completely overlooked. Another that comes to mind is the Yutoku Inari Shrine which you can see here from a few years ago when I was there.
The past few months have been crazy. All I've done really is work which has left me with very little time to shoot photography.
I'm still trying to find that perfect balance between posting photography and camera news which is tricky. Posting tutorials and news is more friendly to Google which gets my site more views. Which is a good thing. I've tripled my viewership in the last two months. However, I've noticed people don't come back as often when I'm not posting photos regularly as there are a million camera news blogs out there.
So in an effort to make my front page more interesting to those who just love photography, I've decided to go back and start posting all my street photography until my blog grows to the point where I can make a living from it. Which hopefully will be soon. Then things will get crazy!
So hopefully now I'll have an interesting blend between HDR, Landscape and Street photography.
Tokyo Girl preparing mochi balls. Shot with the Sony A7r with the Zeiss 35mm Sonar lens. An amazing combo for travel and street photography and was the bread and butter for most of my trip to Japan this year.
This was from my last moments in Japan in the Fukuoka Airport. The photography gods finally appeared at the end there and gave me one last blessing. We were eating dinner in a restaurant when the sun lit up the sky. Luckily my Sony A7r wasn't packed away with the rest of my gear.
Believe it or not this was also a handheld HDR. Those actually usually turn out for me as long as you keep the shutter speed high.
I probably spent way too much time on an airport shot but hey, it was fun.
The Kawachi Fuji Garden is one of those hot spots / places to see before you die locations in Japan.
There are two tunnels, a dome, a small trail and an additional Fuji flower rack at this location. it really is pretty cool and very photogenic.
Although I was about a week early to get the full Fuji flower blast, the location was still very beautiful.
The only problem is places like this are often times very crowded in Japan, especially in the spring. So shooting around the crowds can be difficult and it requires a bit more work. In this case, it took shooting several shots that I then to combine together to get one clean, people free image.
It's a simple process and can really save your shot when traveling to those crowded locations.
After my fourth time visiting Japan, I finally got the landscape photo I always wanted that I feel encompasses everything that I love about Japan in a single shot. The golden sunset over the Island filled seas with the rice field terraces in the foreground.
Everything was perfect for this shot which rarely happens for me. Weather was great, just the right amount of haze in the air causing the sun to case a bright golden glow on the scene, the rice fields were flooded and the location was amazing. Plus my camera didn't give me any problems like it usually does. I think the shutter is sticking or it's having some sort of power issues. But hey, it's a Sony what do you expect. 🙂
The breakdown of how I get some of these shots and my different photography techniques are often my most popular posts. So with this night building shot ok Tokyo, I've decided to do a detailed write-up sharing a few basic techniques because shots like this are a little more complicated than your normal landscape.
I posted this photo on Google+ earlier today letting people zoom in 100%. With the Zeiss Sonnar 35mm and Sony A7r with its 36 megapixel sensor with no High Pass filter, it's really amazing the detail you can get out of your images.
I recommend checking out that thread here http://goo.gl/xd7PH9
In Japan Cherry Blossoms are called Sakuras. And when they are in season it's the most amazing thing you'll ever see. I wasn't expecting it to be as awesome as it was.
They are literally everywhere. Another photographer on Google+ referred to it as the Cherry Blossom Apocalypse. It really is. The peddles are blowing everywhere in the wind, raining down on you, getting in your hair, they're on the ground. It's awesome.
My processing techniques and the look of my photos changes monthly, as I'm always trying new stuff and trying to learn to achieve new looks. A lot of photographers find 'their look' and stick with it. I'll probably figure out 'my look' one day, but I'm inspired by so many different photographers with different styles, it's really hard.
My processing went something like this. And it only took 15 minutes.
For some lens profile correction. I also added a little contrast and exposure adjustments.
I exported to Photoshop then used these plugins.
For Noise Reduction. I use to use Topax denoise a lot. Trying to figure out which I like better. But if I'm really OCD about noise reduction I'll use find edges on a channel mask to mask out my edges and reduce the noise everywhere else.
This is a really great tool for basic color adjustments. It doesn't do anything Photoshop vanilla can't do, but I find it's a little faster than using Photoshop's tool set. In Viveza I did Contrast, Saturation, and a few Color adjustments
I used the Sky Light filter with a control point top right, Pro Contrast & Detail Extractor. I love Color Efex Pro. It can be a game changer if you don't feel like really master Photoshop completely.
Luminosity Masks for final exposure and detail tweaks + Highpass Filter set at .5 pixels with Linear Light blending mode for sharpness.
Final tweaks to color since nothing beats the speed of color tweaking in Lightroom, then export. I always use Lightroom for exporting because you can control your metadata.