TITLE: Utsukushigahara Morning
Some time ago my husband and I started spending part of our summers up in the Kiso Fukushima area of Japan. Not far away is the city of Matsumoto and so, on occasion, we would take a day trip to the city and do some exploring. One mid-afternoon, after a lovely day bicycling about, we sat in a coffee shop and discussed what to do next. I mentioned a place I had heard of, Utsukushigahara, but I didn't know much about it other than it was up in the mountains somewhere near Matsumoto and very beautiful. The lady at the next table interrupted us at this point. Yes, she said, you must go! She then proceeded to tell us how to get there and off we went. It took over an hour of driving on very windy, narrow roads up, up and up and we finally arrived at Utsukushigahara, the highest plateau in the Japanese alps. I was completely overwhelmed! The views were spectacular and I felt I was on top of the world - which, in a manner of speaking, I guess I was! We only had about 40 minutes to explore since we wanted to be off the mountain before it got completely dark and I got a little teary when we had to leave.
All this to say, we returned a year later and stayed overnight. We were blessed with fantastic weather and woke up at 4:30 am to catch the sunrise and go for a walk. This was when this photo was taken. It remains one of the most memorable mornings of my life - the glorious feeling of beginning a new day surrounded by mountains and a sky that goes on forever...
By the way, that faded mountain to the right of the main mountain range you see?
That's Mt. Fuji.
WHAT I WAS THINKING:
I'll be honest. My camera was on auto. I had no idea what I was doing at the time and maybe that's a good thing. Here are the camera settings regardless.
TITLE: Topsy-turvy Christmas Tree
Every December, the St. Regis Hotel in Osaka erects a huge Christmas tree decorated with beautiful ornaments made from Japanese paper. The colors of the tree are blue and gold and it's quite spectacular. We visit often and I always try to take photos of the ornaments but I've never been happy with the results. However, that doesn't stop me from trying and so I return as often as I can to try yet again. (No luck yet.) One year I was distracted by a food cart off to the side full of empty glass jars with lids. They looked like oversized cookie jars and perhaps had been used earlier in the day for that very purpose. The glass knobs on the tops of the lids were particularly interesting and as I got closer, I realized that the colors and shapes I could see in them were upside-down reflections of the room. So cool! Thankfully everything was aligned so all I needed to do was position myself in the right place and - ta-da! - the result was this topsy-turvy Christmas tree.
WHAT I WAS THINKING
Plum Blossoms at Kitano Tenmangu Temple, Kyoto
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto holds a monthly temple sale on the 25th of each month. I had wanted to visit for many years and finally everything aligned so we could go. On the drive there my husband told me that the shrine was famous for plum blossoms and that we would probably be able to see some. I didn't believe him. It was the end of February, after all, and my Canadian brain could not conceive of anything blooming that time of year. Well, as you can see, I was mistaken. The plum blossoms were spectacular! I was still struggling with my camera at that time and so I fumbled with the settings and muttered under my breath as I tried my best. To my great surprise, once I got home and looked at the images on my computer, I discovered I had some that were worth keeping. I'm very happy with the photos from this day but I always see them as a bit of a fluke.
WHAT I WAS THINKING
It's a crazy busy time of year and many days are cold and dark. On top of that, the chances to get out and take photographs are few and far between. Ah, poor me...
This was me a short time ago but thankfully I've come to my senses. I already have thousands of images! What a perfect opportunity to look more closely at some of the photos I've already taken rather than mope about the ones that are yet to be. Enough of feeling sorry for myself!
However, as happy as I am with this idea, I still need some criteria for choosing what to post. And so, after some thought, I've decided to start of a series called "The Take". The plan is to choose a photo that could benefit from a bit more explaining and then do just that. I'll also include what I was thinking at the time and the camera settings details. (To be honest, I don't know as much about camera settings as I should. I'm hoping that by paying closer attention to these details, I'll learn something.)
Well, enough with the introductions! Let the series begin! \(^.^)/
P.S. If there is a photo on this website that you are curious about, please let me know. Just tell me what page it is on and the title. If it's in the photo gallery, the gallery number would be helpful as well. Thanks!
P.S.S. The series is currently titled "The Take". However, that's because my brain can't think of anything better at the moment. If you have any suggestions, they are more than welcome!
I'm a photographer based in Osaka, Japan. I love to take photographs. I like to share.