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Plum Orchard at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine: Not Quite Prime Time
desktop background image of plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan  --  Backlit and Spacey Plum blossom at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Backlit and Spacey
Plum blossom at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan
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As I mentioned in my previous post, the plum is starting to bloom in Kyoto. One of the famous spots for it is the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), which has a large orchard that you can visit for 600 yen (about US$7). It's not worth paying to see the orchard yet, though, because the blossoms are pretty sparse. I got my calendar confused, so paid to go in...

Slim Pickings plum orchard at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/3200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Slim Pickings
plum orchard at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)

Close ups on individual branches are still fruitful, but you can get plenty of that in the free open area of the shrine. It's when the orchard is brimming with blossoms that it's worth a specific visit.

Occasional Blossoms  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/2500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Occasional Blossoms
What You See In Person  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/16, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
What You See In Person
Same Scene with a big-aperture lens  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/3200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Same Scene
with a big-aperture lens
Slightly Different Focus  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/2500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Slightly Different Focus

The slight change in focus to the blossom at the leading part of the branch gives much more depth to the result, I think. (The difference becomes apparent when you view them at the large click-through size.) The final shot has the background more “receding into the distance” than “in the background”, as if the tree is reaching out to the viewer.

I'm probably reading too much into it, but I like “Slightly Different Focus” much better than “Same Scene”.

Somewhat Hazy I think my 50mm f/1.2 lens needs to be adjusted  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 — 1/5000 sec, f/1.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Somewhat Hazy
I think my 50mm f/1.2 lens needs to be adjusted
desktop background image of plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan  --  Path and Buds  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Path and Buds
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The next two shots differed only in the aperture, and I can't tell which I prefer...

desktop background image of plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan  --  Wide Open at f/2.5  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Wide Open at f/2.5
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desktop background image of plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan  --  Stopped Down to f/5.6  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Stopped Down to f/5.6
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desktop background image of plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan  --  Creamy Bud  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Creamy Bud
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desktop background image of plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan  --  Unfurling  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Unfurling
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desktop background image of plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan  --  Dish Array  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/800 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Dish Array
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desktop background image of plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮), Kyoto Japan  --  Totally Cheating  --  Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮)  --  Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/  --  This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/4, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Totally Cheating
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I brought a small mist-spray bottle of water, to see whether I might get some nice effects. I felt slightly slimy using it, and I don't think the water added much in this case, but it's still a nice shot.

Continued here...


Comments so far....

I enjoyed seeing your experiments with depth of field, particularly “Backlit and Spacey”. One other thing you might try is to separate the flower from its background using an off-camera flash (with the exposure in the range of 1/200 to 1/250 and f/11 to f/16). This approach produces an image of the flower on a black background. I’ll e-mail you an image from my garden. Regards, Tom

I’ll have to give that a try. Wish the D4 had an on-board flash to use as a commander, though. I have two speedlights, but one would be less bulky. —Jeffrey

— comment by Tom in SF on February 25th, 2013 at 12:43am JST (1 year, 7 months ago) comment permalink
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