Ecstasy

Ecstasy

My friend Aurora has an obsession with pink. Then, if you’re a photographer and lived long enough in Japan, you develop this fascination with Mt. Fuji. So when we went to the Fuji Shibazakura Matsuri, near Lake Kawaguchiko, Japan, Aurora could hardly contain herself. As you can clearly see!

PINK!

A Sea of Pink

When retouching photos, it is very rarely that you have to decrease color saturation to make it believable. This is one such instance!

Last weekend I went to a Shibazakura (芝桜/Phlox) garden in Hitsujiyama, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Luckily the weather was excellent and the flowers were in full bloom. And when those two were combined, it was an endless sea of pink! I spent the whole day there, circling the whole garden first with the zoom lens, then with the wide angle, and then a third time with the zoom lens again but this time going all paparazzi on people taking selfies (that’s for a different post later) which turned out to be quite fun.

Processing this photo, I merged 3 bracketed shots in Photomatix to bring up the mountains and clouds in the background, then masked back one of the originals to get rid of ghosting caused by moving people. But even then, the pink in the foreground was still too much; so I actually decrease the saturation of the flowers a bit because it was a little too much to believe true.

Embracing the Universe

Embracing the Universe

During the last weekend I headed to the Niijima Island, Japan, for two days of camping with the wonderful folk of the Tokyo Snow Club and it was as good a time as you could have. After unhealthy amounts of food, booze, music and some more, we made a bonfire at the beach and had a great time.

Finally people started leaving around midnight, but my great friend and fellow photographer Aurora and I stayed behind determined to catch a glimpse of the milky way. We weren’t disappointed; after about a half an hour into the mid night the milky way slowly rose with its full majesty and the two of us had a great time time did fly by. In this picture I made her stand her there for about 30 seconds (bless her!) while I shot it, and it turned out quite lovely I think.

As Dr. Neil DeGrass Tyson would say, the stupefying vastness of the universe shouldn’t make us feel insignificant, for the universe makes up for it with the fact that we are one with the universe; we literally are made of star stuff. Knowing that, taking in the indescribable elegance of the milky way is one of the most soul searching experience one could have. And in that regard, I’ve been lucky more than once.

Calm after the Storm

Serenity

During the cherry peak of the spring cherry blossoms, this place comes to live; people gather round to see Sakura, to picnic under the trees on the floorboards to the left of the picture, and there are continuous festivals. There’s just continuous buzz around. After living here for 7 years you kind of get used to it, although you never get tired of it.

After the peak it’s a different story. People leave leaving us permanent residents to get on with our lives, the flowers fall (except for this lonely outcast) and everything turns to a lively green. I grabbed the camera and headed out the other day, and fittingly for a gloomy day there was a general peace and serenity of which I hope I at least captured a little bit of.

It’s a true calm after the storm.