Kyoto Cherry-Blossom Lightup, 2008
, f/10, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos Main Gate of the Heian Shrine, at Dusk With Cherry Blossoms -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm — 1 sec, f/10, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Main Gate of the Heian Shrine, at Dusk
With Cherry Blossoms

As I mentioned earlier today, full bloom has finally hit Kyoto.

Having recently read photographer Rick Lee's blog post When is dusk dusky enough? about how actually shooting a “night” shot at dusk can make use of a bit of remaining skylight to balance the harsh artificial lights, it reminded me of the lessons from Strobist's classic How to Photograph Christmas Lights, and made me want to try it with the cherry-blossom lightup that's going on in my area during the evenings this week.

I brought my D200, tripod, remote shutter release, Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8, and Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 across the street to the edge of the canal and set up shop. I was there from about 6:30pm, 10 minutes after sunset when it was starting to get noticeably dark, and stayed for an hour. The first test shot I took appears above.

That was toward the north, where the sky was darker than toward the west, where the next shot aims...

, f/10, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos Not Too Realistic ( but that's okay, because it's not too pretty, either ) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm — 4 sec, f/10, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Too Realistic
( but that's okay, because it's not too pretty, either )

Different types of lighting make for a huge color-balance mess in this shot. All of the blossoms visible here are of the same white variety; the blossoms behind the couple are not lime green, the ones over the left side of the bank don't have a magenta tinge, and the ones along the far bank didn't really look like they were glowing at 5,000°F. (For what it's worth, that last set appear that way in this photo because they were lighted by something that was indeed glowing at 5,000°F, the filaments in the incandescent floodlamps set up for the event. Our eyes compensate for the orange light, but the camera doesn't.... but I digress.)

Lightroom 2.0 (beta) has the ability to selectively adjust areas with different develop settings (exposure, saturation, etc.), and this picture is a perfect example of why white balance should be included in that list. I've been lobbying for it, but to no avail (so far?). I prepared these with Lightroom 1.3.

(UPDATE: oops, it turns out that the lime-green blossoms were from a different variety of tree whose blossoms were indeed white, but, unlike all the other trees in the scene, already had their green leaves. There's certainly some odd color due to the streetlight just out of frame, but the green is not entirely due to color-balance issues as I originally thought.)

By the way, kudos to the couple for standing still for me for the four-second exposure. I think she was trying to teach him how to use his point-n-shoot.

Here's a shot that I've color-corrected to match what I remember actually seeing, while it was still fairly bright at 6:35pm....

, f/10, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos Sorta Pretty, but Lacks Oomph ( it was still not quite dark enough ) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm — 4 sec, f/10, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Sorta Pretty, but Lacks Oomph
( it was still not quite dark enough )

Five minutes later, I made this 30-second exposure of the bridge (from the Snowy Bridge in Kyoto post) toward the east. The later time and the darker direction make for a bit more “oomph”, but it's still not there yet....

, f/10, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos Pulse of the Crowd ( the photographer on the left apparently didn't move for the whole 30 seconds! ) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 55 mm — 30 sec, f/10, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pulse of the Crowd
( the photographer on the left apparently didn't move for the whole 30 seconds! )

Finally, at 6:47pm, I think the lighting made for some nice “oomph”...

, f/6.3, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos Now That's What I'm Talking About -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 3 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Now That's What I'm Talking About

I think the green willow (featured in this post last week), and the sky, really make this shot.

I'm just starting to get the hang of this, I think. You can compare these results with the progression of earlier night long-exposure posts...

Spring 2006 · Long Night Exposures and Cherry Blossoms
Spring 2007 · Nighttime Long-Exposure Cherry Blossoms
· Night Long-Exposure Gion Cherry Blossoms
· Easter Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto
Fall 2007 · Back from Miyajima
· Main Gate of the Itsukushima Shrine, at Night
· Miyajima: Approach, Path, and Gates
· Five-Storied Pagoda on Miyajima
Spring 2008 · Kyoto Higashiyama “Hanatoro” Lightup Event
· Kyoto Higashiyama “Hanatoro” Lightup Event, Part II

The gentleman in the shot below set up shop beside me, and we chatted for a while. I offered suggestions on exposure, and he got some results that he was happy with, but I think he arrived a few minutes too late. There was a very short sweet spot when the light was just right... perhaps for just 10 minutes.

, f/3.2, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 2 sec, f/3.2, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos

My cold seems to be coming back with a vengeance, so perhaps I should lay low for a while, but if I can, I'll try to go out tomorrow evening as well.

Continued here...


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

Wow… great demonstration of how to shoot dusk photos!

— comment by Rick Lee on April 7th, 2008 at 5:04am JST (9 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Wow, wow, wow, wowwow! It’s just one jaw-dropping picture after another. Totally unreal. I cannot describe how insanely jealous I am.

— comment by Pattie on October 6th, 2008 at 12:58am JST (8 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

“Now That’s What I’m Talking About”

Agreed with you on that. However, taking away the willow and the blue sky, the photo still shines. I think the stronger light does add to the “Oomph” of the photo.

Fantastic photo! Thanks.

— comment by Julia N on April 3rd, 2009 at 12:12am JST (8 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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