The Hope of Cherry Blossoms in Japan
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desktop background image of cherry blossoms in Kyoto -- Hope -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 195 mm — 1/320 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Hope
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March is a time of hope in Japan... hope for a good cherry-blossom season, hope for a nice spring, hope for the coming new school/fiscal year (the school year and most companies' fiscal year start in April). Maybe this week has more worry than hope, but hope will return.

I mentioned the other day in “Surprising Early Cherry-Blossom Preview Hits Kyoto” (about a snowfall that made the cherry trees look as if they are in bloom), it's about time for a “Cherry-Blossom Preview” type post, and I linked to some preview posts from earlier years. I'd still like to do one, but when it comes down to it, I don't have all that many good cherry-blossom pictures in my archives.

Still, I rummaged through some folders from the last few years, and collected some pictures that look interesting to me, perhaps after some futzing in Lightroom. The one above, from this outing two years ago, has a bit of the “Funky Joy” treatment, which we can all use a bit of right now.

Childhood Joys -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/6400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Childhood Joys

An almost identical shot led this post last year. It's such a joy to see well-behaved children play, so I'm posting this shot from the sequence.

Here's one that's been processed to exaggeration, but I like the result, especially when viewed close up. Sort of “artsy”... a bit like the prints I hung in my room, but bolder...

Canal and Blossoms Kyoto Biwako Canal, Kyoto Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42 mm — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Canal and Blossoms
Kyoto Biwako Canal, Kyoto Japan

The cherry-blossom season two years ago wasn't very good, with a lot of rain and gloom, but a clear dusk with good timing can make even half-hearted blossoms look good, so a few shots similar to the sequence seen in “Evening Cherry Blossoms, and some White-Balance Gymnastics”....

desktop background image of the Kyoto Biwako Canal lined with cherry blossoms, at dusk -- Prior to the Lightup -- Okazaki Cherry-Blossom Lightup -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm — 20 sec, f/13, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Prior to the Lightup
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desktop background image of the Kyoto Biwako Canal lined with cherry blossoms, at dusk -- Lightup it would have been nice if they turned the lights on earlier, when the dusk was still vibrant -- Okazaki Cherry-Blossom Lightup -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 56 mm — 2 sec, f/9, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Lightup
it would have been nice if they turned the lights on earlier, when the dusk was still vibrant
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Full Coverage lots of us camped at the bend in the canal -- Okazaki Cherry-Blossom Lightup -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42 mm — 1.6 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Full Coverage
lots of us camped at the bend in the canal
Other Direction was Pretty, Too but not as pretty -- Okazaki Cherry-Blossom Lightup -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 4 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Other Direction was Pretty, Too
but not as pretty

The long view down the canal from the elbow bend is the best view, but other areas are not without merit...

Okazaki Cherry-Blossom Lightup -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38 mm — 2.5 sec, f/7.1, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos

Later that same season, after Anthony started first grade, on the way home from the ceremony we stopped to view the river of petals continually laid down by the now-past-their-prime cherry trees...

Unending Flow or so it seemed -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/200 sec, f/11, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Unending Flow
or so it seemed
desktop background image of cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan -- Almost Weeping -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 300 mm — 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Almost Weeping
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Carpet of Blossoms -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/8000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Carpet of Blossoms

I think I like the whole “carpet of blossoms” effect of cherry blossoms more than their fluffy-tree effect. There's just something uplifting about watching the blossom petals get thrown about by a light breeze.

Of course, sometimes something decidedly more naughty than a light breeze does the throwing...

BIG handful 7½-year-old Anthony -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
BIG handful
7½-year-old Anthony
There They Go -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
There They Go
Aftermath -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Aftermath

Another from this sequence, just before “Aftermath”, is shown here.

Here's hoping for a good cherry-blossom season.... and more.


All 8 comments so far, oldest first...

I see you’re having the same problem with people not turning on their lights until too late after sunset that I do; I occasionally have to photograph boat parades and the organisers always seem to wait until an hour after sunset before starting. As a result there’s practically no sunset color left and the sky looks really bad.

— comment by 603 on March 13th, 2011 at 10:24pm JST (6 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Those are some incredibly beautiful scenes! Nice job capturing them! Having lived in Japan myself and experiencing many quakes and how the Japanese people react so orderly in any emergency, I’ve no doubt hope will return soon as well.

— comment by Andrew on March 13th, 2011 at 10:26pm JST (6 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Those are some spectacular photos, Jeffrey! Cherry blossoms are incredibly beautiful.

— comment by David K on March 14th, 2011 at 12:44am JST (6 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

what beautiful pictures! I especially like the ones with your son playing with the blossoms… a perfect Spring picture!

— comment by cassie on March 14th, 2011 at 3:20am JST (6 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

To be extremely eloquent: those are frickin’ beautiful. I have set the first one as my desktop background.

— comment by Christine on March 14th, 2011 at 6:32am JST (6 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

PRIOR TO THE LIGHTUP is stellar! So often the actual scene is so inspiring that it causes the photo equivalent of writer’s block and yet PTTL really captures the beauty and excitement of the Cherry Blossom Season / Evening Festival. You really get that electric sense of excitement before the actual event. While the actual lighting must have been exquisite… from here you kinda get that had-to-be-there feeling.

In the PTTL photo you’ve captured that ‘magic’ kind of time (twilight?) between the end of the day and the beginning of the evening. Please do that photo justice by giving it a real matte frame and no Alien Skin treatment. 🙂

All the best, J.F. we all feel devastated, and we’re thousands of miles away. We can’t begin to imagine what you all are going through.

— comment by Ron Evans on March 14th, 2011 at 9:15am JST (6 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Very nice series of the boy with the petals, especially the second photo. Nice movement, light, depth of field. The background is a little busy but it gives the photos an authentic look and I really like the vertical lines. These are my favorite photos so far. I think you can submit them to National Geographic:-) Look forward to seeing more great shots like these…

— comment by Ning on March 15th, 2011 at 1:07pm JST (6 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Hey, any chance that Prior to the Lightup and Lightup could be made available as desktop photos?

Sure, my pleasure…. done. —Jeffrey

— comment by Eric Scouten on March 30th, 2011 at 2:33pm JST (6 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink
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