Every year here in Japan, the world Famous Japanese Cherry Blossoms come out of from hiding and come to live showing off their bright and vibrant colors. This year the Cherry Blossoms did not let any one down with how Beautiful and spectacular when they finally bloomed. Cherry Blossoms are a amazing flower that blooms every year around April here in Tokyo and when they do, Its marks the beginning of spring here in this techno wonderland. Everyone comes out and and enjoys the weather and have little picnics under the Cherry Blossoms, sometimes these little picnics turn into all day drinking fest with the smell of cooked meat and old beer cans. Cherry Blossoms season here in Tokyo last about two weeks and can be very hectic since everyone is trying to enjoy them before they disappear overnight. With a good rain or wind storm, they can go from full bloom to being destroyed in a single afternoon. This year, The season only lasted about 8 days before they where gone.
This year I had planned to re-shoot one of my Landscape image from Maguro Canal and to do it in the day time with the Lanterns illuminating the trees and the water below. Finding the perfect spot to create this image was one of the hardest things to do since the trees were either covering the canal, blocking the view of the water below or people making it almost impossible to get a sharp image with them walking on the bridge itself. After walking down the Canal about 8 blocks, I found this wonderful little orange bridge that was not like the rest of them and the trees next to it had grown upwards more giving a unobstructed view of the canal below. I knew this shot like this existed because I’ve seen it before by different photographers and all it took was a little bit of looking around for it. Once I found the spot, I set up my camera gear and just waited for the lighting to get just right.
The season was coming to a close but I still had a good amount of peddles still left on the trees. The adding of green helps breaking up the huge canvas of white Cherry Blossoms. One thing that I had to do was to shoot at a lower tripod height due to the low laying branches that started to block my view if I brought the camera up to eye height. At all of the other bridges near the station, I would have had the camera on the ground to get the view I was looking for but at this spot, I only had to lower it by about 2 feet. Here is a image from last year where I had to deal with the same issue but I used Photoshop to remove the branch
How I got my Cherry Blossoms over Meguro Canal image.
Once I found the spot that give me the look I was wanting. All I had to do was wait for the perfect time to get a clean bright image for the Cherry Blossoms and then wait a little bit longer for the lanterns to turn on. Once I had both of these shots, I just waited a bit more for the ambient light to get a little bit darker so the reflection in the canal below would be more vibrant and colorful. This happen in the middle blue hour and at that point, I had everything I needed to create the image that I have been waiting a year to make.
You are asking your self right now, “why didn’t you just shoot in blue hour and use LightRoom to brighten the Cherry Blossoms?” That is a very good question! The reason I did not do that is because I wanted to have tack sharp Cherry blossom in the foreground while having a nice blurry water in the canal. To get the lights on in the water I would have had to wait till blue hour to get a shot with it all. To get my tack sharp Cherry Blossoms I would have had to raise my shutter speed to stop them in the wind. To keep my proper exposure I would had to lower my F stop which would give me a narrower DOF or rise my ISO and get a more noisier image plus I would blow out the highlights in the lanterns and the lights on the side street. All 3 of them I did not want to deal with so this was the best option for me.
CAMERA SETTINGS / IMAGE INFO
No. of Exposures: 3 Exposures
EV Range: 0
Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: Sony 28-70 Kit lens
Camera: Sony A7R
Software: LR5, PS6, Nik Color Efex
If you care to get my Free LightRoom Presets to help out your workflow and or have a great starting point for editing, please subscribe to our newsletter to get them(don’t for get to check your SPAM folder) So that is how this image came about, If you have any questions about the area and how I captured this image, please feel free to ask in the comments below.