Nikko Part II – Synergy of Culture and Nature (Podcast 41)

Nikko Part II – Synergy of Culture and Nature (Podcast 41)

Much of the Nikko area in Tochigi Prefecture, a few hours drive north of Tokyo, is perched high in the mountains, and is very close to the Japanese people’s hearts. Nikko is the synergy of Culture and Nature. Last week we looked at some shots from two Sundays I spend in Nikko in May 2006, and this week, although we’ll initially look at another view of the famous Kegon Falls and some landscapes in the area, we will also take a look more into the cultural side with some shots from the Toushouguu Temples and Futarasan Shrine areas.

To give you a brief outline of the Nikko area, Nikko is split mainly into two areas. The area we visited last week perched high in the mountains at around 1,400 meters, and then the Nikko City itself, where there are 103 Shrines and Temples. Nine buildings are registered as World Heritage national treasures and 94 of them registered as important cultural property and natural environments. Forty two of these buildings are in the Toushouguu Shrine area, 23 are in the neighbouring Fatarasan Shrine area, with the remaining buildings in the surrounding area. Before we take a look at just a few images from the Nikko shrines at Toushougu and Futarasan, let’s look at a few more shots from the highland area that we also discussed last week.

The first shot for today is image number 1000 of the beautiful Kegon Falls. This was shot with my 16-35mm F2.8 lens, using a tripod of course, and the ISO was set to 100. The shutter speed was 1/4 of a second with an ND8, 3 stop neutral density filter, to show a certain amount of movement in the water by making it a flowing stream and not freezing the motion as a faster shutter speed would have done, and the aperture was F11. Most of the scene was quite far away from me, and at a focal length of 21mm, that is plenty to attain pan-focus. That is, where everything is sharp from the nearest object in the image to the farthest.

Kegon Falls in the Rain #1

Kegon Falls in the Rain #1

Again, as I mentioned last week, the fact that it was raining on this day meant that the fresh spring greenery, being all wet, was recorded as a beautiful lush green that is just not possible on a bright sunny day, even at the same time of year. The overcast sky helps to give even lighting to the scene, as basically the whole sky is just one big diffuser box, like the ones you can put on the front of flash units. The cloud is creeping over the top of the mountain in the top center to left from the Chuuzenji lake that we can see in one of the shots I showed you last week, and this helps to add depth to the shot as the trees in the top right of the shot are quite highly contrasted against the mist and the farthest parts of the scene are basically quite low contrast because of it.

Also before anyone says it, no this shot does not need rotating a degree or so to the right. I always use a spirit level in my flash shoe when using a tripod and I can assure you this image is straight. The waterfall is flowing with such force due to the rain that the volume of water is pushing it further away from the rock face as usual making this optical illusion. I really like this and the other shot that I uploaded of these falls, just because of the misty, moody feel. I think this shot has a lot of atmosphere, and I hope it comes across in this smaller version that you’ll see in iTunes or on my Web site.

I had shot the Ryuuzu or Dragon Head falls also after shooting at this location on this day, but as we discussed that last week, in comparison to the nice bright day version from the previous week, we’ll skip those images today. After shooting the Ryuuzu falls we headed down the Irohazaka, which is a very steep winding road that leads back down to the Nikko city area. Let’s look at image number 1009. On the way down the Irohazaka, when there are not so many cars and tourist buses around, you can sometimes pull the car up at the side of the road and get out to shoot some pictures. The bus drivers as they come around the bends, which is usually where the best shots are visible from, get frustrated if you have a tripod setup taking up part of the road, as this makes them have to work harder to swing their bus around. For handheld shots you can get right up against the white crash-barrier at the side of the road as I did for this shot, and that way you don’t annoy anybody. I had a bus driver shouting at me last autumn for getting in his way, but I don’t see any no photography or no parking signs, so generally try to avoid doing this just to keep the peace. If the shot is available no other way though, just try to get as close to the barrier as possible without being in danger of toppling over it.

Misty Spring Mountain

Misty Spring Mountain

This particular shot was again shot with my 16-35mm lens at ISO 200 as I was hand holding, and still at F11. Exposure time was now 1/100th of a second which is plenty fast enough for hand holding at 31mm. I was also using plus 1/3 of a stop exposure compensation, as the large expanse of white mist and cloud and the bright green foliage was fooling the camera’s meter into under exposing this image just slightly. I also shot some images from this point that were a little bit wider, containing more of the mountain to the left, but I felt that it was not adding anything to the scene, so I went again with this slightly more tightly cropped version.

Nioh Statue

Nioh Statue

After descending the hill completely and reaching the Nikko City area, we now headed for the Toushouguu temple area. On the way into the main area there is a gate called the Omote Mon, which basically just means the front gate. This gate is guarded by a security guard to stop anyone going in that has not bought a ticket, but it is also guarded by a Nioh Statue at either side. I shot the one on the left on the way in, but the more successful shot was actually the one on the right as I came out an hour or so later, but we’ll look at that first. It is image number 1012. You will see a fearsome looking fellow, painted in the bright red that is common to many Japanese temples and shrines. Red is believed to ward off evil, and this guy looks like he will definitely be accomplishing his purpose.

I hand held this shot resting my elbows on a wooden ledge, looking up at the statue. I chose this perspective as I find looking up at this guy with his sword about to thrust down upon us helps to make him look as menacing as he can. I was shooting at ISO 400 with my 24-105mm F4 lens, wide open at F4 to get as much light onto my sensor as possible. I had the image stabilizer turned on and the shutter speed was 1/8th of a second at 70mm. I shot in a burst of about 3 or 4 shots though due to the slow shutter speed and indeed some of them were slightly blurred. I selected -2/3 of a stop exposure compensation as the shadows behind the statue would have fooled the camera into over-exposing the statue, even though as I’ve mentioned before, I always use center-weighted metering. Note that by Center Weighted, I’m using the Canon definition, which is where the camera weights the priority in the center but still is averaged for the entire scene. Please do not confuse this with Evaluative Metering, where the entire scene’s average is used, or Partial metering, which is where the center 8% of the scene is metered, or Spot metering, where just the center 3.5% of the scene is metered. To confuse matters, it seems that Nikon use the term Center Weighted to refer to what Canon refer to as Partial Metering, you’ll need to check your manual if you want more information on the various metering modes available for your camera. Basically though, I pretty much always have my camera set to Center Weighted metering, sometimes switching to Partial or Spot metering for more accurate readings from a small area.

Shourou (Belltower)

Shourou (Belltower)

Moving on though, let’s take a look at image number 1011. This is actually a bell tower inside the Toushouguu grounds. I chose this shot to upload and to talk about today to give you a taste of the sort of architecture within the grounds, but this really does not do Nikko justice. The temples themselves are difficult to get full shots of, because even on rainy days like the one I visited on, the place is usually teaming with tourists. Most shots you see of the temples and shrines at Nikko are either just the tops of the buildings, to cut out the tourists, or they have the full building but the bottom half of the shot is indeed full of tourists. I dare say, if you really wanted some nice serene shots of the buildings you could spend the night in a hotel close by and get there as early as possible in the morning to beat the crowds and get your images, with some patience. I personally have never done that so far, and I’m not that bothered about doing so, despite the obvious beauty of the buildings.

Without going into too much detail, the temples and shrines of Nikko came to be from an original commission for a small temple to be built to house the body of Ieyasu Tokugawa, a Shogun lord, born during the feudal period of Japans history. Ieyasu is accredited largely with bringing peace to Japan, and when he died on April 17th, 1616 at the age of 75, he left a will instructing his body to be enshrined for one year in Mt Kuno in his hometown of Shizuoka. After that he had instructed that a small shrine be build in Nikko in which he was to be enshrined as a God and said he would be the guardian of Japan. Nikko is in the North of Japan, and for a long time the North was regarded as evil and barbaric. Ieyasu wanted to be enshrined there to protect Japan from the evil that lay within, and he wished for eternal peace under the Tokugawa government.

Although he’d requested just a small shrine, his third successor Iemistu rebuilt the area in today’s form which is really way more than Ieyasu had originally requested but probably more befitting one of the most powerful and influential Shoguns that Japan has ever known. The Nikko temples and shrines cost around 40 billion yen. That is 40 billion in the US or I guess 40 thousand million in the UK. This equates to around 400 million dollars in today’s terms. 4,540,000 people were involved in the reform, which took just one year and 5 months, and was completed in 1636.

Five Storied Pagoda

Five Storied Pagoda

Most of the inner buildings are covered in ornate carvings and many painted in bright colours or clad in gold leaf. I appreciate their beauty but have never to date been able to photograph them in a way in which I like, partly because of the crowds, but also probably because I prefer more subdued colours as opposed to bright sparkling, almost gaudy colours. Having said that, the next shot, image number 1013 of the bright red Five Storied Pagoda just outside the Front Gate with the Nioh statue we looked at earlier, could well be considered gaudy, to a certain degree. I posted this shot and included it in today’s Podcast to talk about the thinking behind the shot.

As I turned and walked down the stone steps after shooting the Nioh statue, I noticed this lady standing looking at a map to the right of the pagoda, and her striking red jacket match the red of the pagoda, and there was no other subject in the shot for a second or two. I snapped off a couple of shots before a number of other people walked into the frame, but was pleased to have noticed the matching colours and to have acted quickly enough to get at least an OK shot. In my haste I did make this hand-held shot slightly skewed. I had to rotate it in Photoshop after the event, but saved something out of the moment. It was shot at exactly the same settings as the last shot, as I didn’t have time to change anything, but the exposure compensation was now at -1 stop, as I think I had shot my last shot of the Nioh statue at -1. I hadn’t worried too much about the aperture though, as although F4 is quite wide, it was going to be enough to get the pagoda in focus and I just made sure that I focused on the woman in the red coat as she was to become the focal point of the shot, not the historical building that has already been photographed millions of times before this capture.

As you descend the stone steps from the Front Gate of the Toushouguu grounds, if you turn right and walk between the grounds and the 36m tall Five Storied Pagoda, you’ll be faced with the scene from image number 1014. This whole row of stone lanterns and the red wall leading down the right of the image is called Shinmon, or God Gate, and it leads to the Futarasan Shrine. For this image I closed the aperture down to F8 to get a little more depth-of-field, but I didn’t want pan-focus as this was have reduced the feeling of depth that we get from having the scene go slightly out of focus as we get deeper into it. I was still at ISO 200 and was hand-holding at 1/15th of a second, and -1 stop of exposure compensation. The shot looks normal as far as brightness is concerned, but this is thanks to the exposure compensation. On overcast days such as this you will often find that the camera wants to make them brighter than the scene really is, so under compensating a little can help to normalize things.

Futarasan Shrine Shinmon Gate

Futarasan Shrine Shinmon Gate

I could have used a tripod here, but I’d also like to stress that on this day I was with my better half and a friend visiting from India, so I couldn’t really take very much time on my shots. I had to get the shot, and get a move on pretty much most of the time. The only time during this day that I used my tripod was to shoot the falls that we looked at last week and earlier today. I enjoy using my tripod when I can, especially for landscape work, as it helps me to think more carefully about composition etc. but I think it’s also important to be able to shoot hand-held when necessary too and still get results.

The next shot is number 1016, and was shot inside the Futarasan outer grounds. This is actually a building or kind of a wall around the garden next to the Shrine’s office. I included this as I like the contrast between the bright greens and the reds, but also the witches broom propped up against the wall in the center of the image adds a little reality to the overall image. From this we can learn that people are living and working here, sweeping up fallen leaves in their daily lives. Again I was under compensating by 1 stop, with an aperture of F5.6 and shutter speed of 1/125th of a second with ISO 200 still, and still using my 24-105mm F4 lens at 55mm for this shot.

Futarasan Shrine Office Buildings

Futarasan Shrine Office Buildings

I you walk back out of the Futarasan Shrine, to right is a bank, which is what I shot in image number 1017. Again, I just like the contrast between the bright green of the wet moss in the foreground here, with the red fence out of focus in the background adding a little extra interest. I didn’t want to keep my company weighting while I changed lenses, so despite having an F2.8 100mm macro lens in my pocket, I chose to go with the 24-105mm lens already mounted, and just opened it up to the widest aperture of F4. This was enough to throw the red fence out of focus as I wanted, so I’m quite pleased with the results. So as to keep the green bright now though, I’d raised the exposure compensation to -2/3 and the shutter speed hand held was 1/50th of a second for this shot at 75mm.

Moss with Red Fence

Moss with Red Fence

The last shot for today (1019) was something that I spotted from the car on the way out of the Nikko area on the way back to the highway to head back to Tokyo. This is a simple shot of the raindrops ripples in a rice paddy shot with my 100-400mm lens at ISO 400 at F5.6 and a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second. I was OK hand holding as I was resting the lens on my car door with window open. The lens was getting wet, but it’s splash proof because it’s an L lens, so I just wiped it off after I finished shooting. This simple shot kind of wraps up this two part series from two Sundays in Nikko in May of 2006. I will be going back to Nikko many times since becoming a little more free after buying a car in December 2005, but for now, this is my most recent Nikko experience.

One thing that I must say before closing, about Nikko and for that matter much of Japan, is that both Buddhism and the Shinto religion can live side by side in places like Nikko without everybody trying to kill each other and blow up each other’s places of worship. Although this is a pretty touchy subject, and I’m sure that many of those that were held captive in prisoner of war camps will have a very different opinion, in general the Japanese are an incredibly peace loving nation. I do so wish that many of the other countries and religions around the world could take a leaf out of their book and live together in peace and harmony as the main religions of Japan do today.

Even if you didn’t tune in last week, most of you will have now noticed that this Podcast is now available as an Enhanced Podcast, which means if you listen on an iPod the images I speak about will change automatically as the Podcast progresses, and are viewable freely by navigating between chapters. For anyone that does not use iTunes or and iPod to listen, I have also created a new feed that you can subscribe to that contains the MP3 version of the Podcast that has no chapters, but will enable you to continue to listen as you have done to date. The address for this feed is available on my Podcasts page and is also in the show notes.

Finally, remember that there is still just under two weeks left of the Rainy Day assignment, which closes on June 25th, so if you still haven’t posted your entry, please take a look at the detail in the Assignment Forum, and if you didn’t listen to the original Podcast on this assignment, you can go back to Episode 37 for more details. There are some great images already uploaded to the assignment gallery, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of you make of this assignment.

Thanks very much for listening, and enjoy your week, whatever you’re doing. Bye bye.


Show Notes
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Nikko Part I – Waterfalls, Waterfalls… (Podcast 40)

Nikko Part I – Waterfalls, Waterfalls… (Podcast 40)

Much of the Nikko area in Tochigi Prefecture, a few hours drive north of Tokyo, is perched high in the mountains, and for obvious reasons, is very close to the Japanese people’s hearts. Nikko is the synergy of Culture and Nature. Next week we’ll be looking more into the cultural side, but today we’re going to look at some shots of a few waterfalls among other things.

Before we get started today, I have one piece of housekeeping that cannot wait until the end of the episode. From today, and coincidentally coinciding with the 40th episode, I am able to bring you the Martin Bailey Photography Podcast as an Enhanced Podcast. This means that you can now follow along with the Photographs I talk about on your iPod and the images will change in time with the dialog. Yes, I’ve given in to Apple’s marketing strategy of only making the Chapter Tool used to make enhanced Podcasts available for the Mac platform, and not for Windows. I figure the longer I wait, the more mail I’ll have to reply to explaining why I can’t do this, and also the catch up of the backlog of Podcasts, if I decide to do so, will get more and more daunting as time goes by.

I personally wasn’t that bothered about making this Podcast enhanced, as I would prefer you to look at the images full size on the web and not on that tiny little iPod screen, but I do sometimes enjoy seeing the photos change on other Photography related Podcasts, and can appreciate the desire to be able to do this for my show too.

Finally, before moving on to the main topic for today, I should congratulate all the Windows based Podcasters world wide, because now I have given up my stand against Apple, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’ll be a Chapter Tool for Windows released within the next month or so. And while were on the subject of dollars, I would like to say that I have invested around $1,400 this weekend, that I was saving up for my next lens, so I hope that you can appreciate what I’m sacrificing to make this Podcast as good as it can be. I’ve also spent most of the weekend arguing with my better half over spending this money. She is most definitely not a happy teddy. So if you are happy or relieved that you finally have this Podcast in enhanced mode, and feel like helping to pay for the Mac that I needed to realize this, you can make cash donations of any size from the Podcast page at martinbaileyphotography.com. Of course there is, and never has been any pressure or obligation to pay anything, and this Podcast will remain fundamentally free, but a few dollars support will definitely help restore peace in the Bailey household right now.

So, that out of the way, let’s get on with today’s main topic.

On the 21st of May, 2006, I decided to go to Nikko, in the Tochigi Prefecture, which is a few hours drive north of Tokyo. Then the following Sunday, the 28th, I went back with a friend who was visiting from India. The reason for my first visit was two fold. I was on a reconnaissance trip for the second visit that I had arranged the following weekend. This was not much of a reason though, as I know the area pretty well having visited a number of times since I first came to Japan in 1991. The second reason is that I was interested in shooting the Ryuuzu no taki or Ryuuzu Falls. The thing is, I’d found on the Web during my planning for the visit that the fresh green spring leaves and the azalea flowers that bloom around these falls at the same time were not yet in bloom, though they were late. I would be back the following weekend when I was due to come with my friend, and I wanted to see how close the foliage was to sprouting and the azalea to blooming. I found the azalea buds quite full and ready to bloom, so decided it would be worth coming back the following week.

Also though, I would not have the time to spend getting my shot right the following week, though I knew that I’d want to shoot something, so I also wanted to take a walk around the area and get any possible shots and plan shots for my next visit at the same time. The first image of the entire falls from the first visit is shot number 989. Now, this is not a great shot, I’m sure you’ll agree. The nice blue sky helps, and I was lucky to find some pink blossom on the trees to the left of the falls to add a splash of colour. The downside is that the surrounding trees are a little uninteresting, and the day was so bright that there is a lot of contrast between the water and the surroundings.

Ryuzu Falls #1

Ryuzu Falls #1

I used an ND8 circular neutral density filter to give block out three stops of light, and also used a circular polarizer which blocks out another 2 stops of light, for a total of 5 stops. This meant that with an ISO 50 and an aperture of F16 the exposure for this shot was one second. This allowed me to capture the water of the falls with a silky flowing feeling that I kind of like.

In contrast to this shot, let’s skip to shot number 1006 from the following Sunday to see the difference. The following Sunday I was lucky to have very different weather conditions. Sure, a nice blue sky makes the shots look warm, but in reality, very bright days are very rarely as photogenic as one might think. This image was made again with the ND8 neutral density filter, but without the polarizer. The polarizer would perhaps have brought out the green in the leaves a little more, but I don’t think I really needed it. As you can see in this second shot, the fresh green leaves are now out, the pink blossom to the trees on the left has fallen, giving way to some splashes of red throughout the image as the azalea flowers start to bloom, adding a little extra touch of interest.

Ryuuzu Falls with Azalea

Ryuuzu Falls with Azalea

Once again at F16, for this shot I chose ISO 100, and was now exposing for two seconds, not one as with the last shot. So basically, I had one extra stop of ISO, one extra stop of exposure and two extra stops from not using the polarizer, making a total of four stops more light for this image over the last. We can see that the contrast between the water and the surrounding is now much less too, making for an all round much more pleasing image.

Looking around the Web for the reason why these falls are called the dragon head falls, I found various theories, so I don’t know which one is for real. I’d say actually that all could be based on hypothesis rather than fact. One possibility is that the falls as they split into two simply look like a dragons head, though I don’t really see it. I imagine you could think of the larger falls to the left being the head and the falls to the right being a dragon’s talons. Or maybe the split is the opening of the mouth. Maybe also the block of ground between the two falls could be the head, with both falls being the forearms in a more three dimensional representation. Another theory is that the water flowing over the undulating rocks looks like white scales of a mythical dragon. No matter what the reason for the name, I find these falls to be quite beautiful and I’m pleased to have been able to go back and shoot them a number of times. I actually have a slide of pretty much the same view from back in 1991 when I first visited, but I have never been happy enough with the shot to post it on my Web site.

Ryuuzu Falls (Right) with Azalea

Ryuuzu Falls (Right) with Azalea

Let’s now take a quick look at a slightly different view of the same falls from the rainy day, which is shot number 1005. There is a similar view from the first week on my Web site too, but we’ll just look at the latter image today. This time I’ve closed in a little, so as just to focus on the right-hand falls. The last two shots by the way were made with my 16-35mm F2.8 L lens, and this shot was made with my 24-105mm F4 L lens to get me in a little closer. I was at 47mm for this shot. I was still shooting at ISO 100, but was now only exposing for 1 second, again at F16. I found the water was blowing out a little too much at 2 seconds once I closed in on the scene a little more. Here my main point is, as I’ve said before, it’s often possible to create a beautiful, yet totally different image of the same scene by singling out smaller areas using a longer focal length. This allows us to pour over the detail of this waterfall much more easily than the last image, which is attractive for different reasons. In this shot we can not only see more detail in the water as it pours over the rocks, but we can also see if we look closely that the water is visible between the trees for quite a way up the hill in the distance. The drop of the falls is actually 60 meters, but the falls in their entirety, which can really better be described as rapids rather than falls, are 210 meters long, stretching up the mountain side.

In the next shot, image number 991, again from the first week, I had climbed the stone stairs that wind their way up the hill to the right of the falls, and snuck through a gap in the fence, and made my way down to the side of the water. Standing precariously on the moss covered rocks, with two of my tripods legs in the water, I got down as low as I could to the level of the water for this shot of the rapids above the falls. These are actually included in the 210 meters of the falls, and this is the point where the water splits into the two separate falls that we saw in the first two shots earlier.

Rapids above Ryuuzu Falls

Rapids above Ryuuzu Falls

Again using my 16-35mm F2.8 lens, at 18mm for this shot, I was using ISO 50 with the ND8 and circular polarizer filters. I try to avoid using this and my 24-105mm wide open with more than one filter on as I get pretty back vignetting. As I rarely remove my protect filter, especially around waterfalls with all the water spraying up, I actually had three filters on the lens while shooting these images, so 18mm actually was starting to vignette just a little, so I’ve cropped this shot just a touch. The aperture was again F16 and the shutter speed was 1/8th of a second. For this shot, I think the low perspective has helped me to emphasize the fast flowing expanse of water, but I also like the splash of blue sky in the distance, and also the red, white and yellow splashes of colour of the clothes on the three people that have also snuck through the fence further up the falls to get a shot down by the water’s edge. I don’t always like to shoot with people in the frame, and indeed I shot a number here without them, but I chose this shot as I think the people add scale, as well as a splash of colour.

Ryuuzu Falls Flow to Chuuzenji Lake

Ryuuzu Falls Flow to Chuuzenji Lake

Moving on to the last shot of these falls for today. Image number 992 was made from the bridge that goes over the river just as it starts to drop in what is officially the start of the falls, 210 meters from the first shots we looked at today. This whole area is already 1,400 meters above sea level, but we can see the Chuuzenji Lake in the distance which is where the water we see flowing down the mountain here will temporarily end up. This is only temporary, as the water will at some point flow off through the Kegon Falls, which I showcased in Episode 11 and we’ll also take a look at next week. This image, also shot with my 16-35mm lens was again at F16 at ISO 100, for a quarter of a second. This shutter speed is enough to give the water a flowing feel, but I couldn’t go any slower as there were cars and buses crossing the bridge on which I was standing, and the vibration would ruin the shots. I had to keep waiting for a break in the traffic anyway, and didn’t want to risk any longer shutter speeds. Again here I was still using the ND8 neutral density and the circular polarizer filters.

The next shot I want to look at, image number 994 takes us away from waterfalls for a little while. This is a simple shot of the top of Mount Nantai with some birch trees in the foreground. This is quite a serene scene, with the nice blue sky and a few fluffy clouds. The birch trees are what drew me to the shot, while looking for stuff to shoot in the Senjougahara area on the plateau up here in the Nikko highlands. The way the birch trees are separated into the bunch on the right and the sole tree on the left is also kind of appealing. Senjougahara actually mean the battlefield plains. Legend has it that the gods of the mountain in this shot, Mount Nantai, and another, Mount Akagi turned into a giant centipede and a giant snake and fort here and Mount Nantai won. Nantai actually translates as man’s body, and Akagi means a red fort or castle. There’s nothing special technically about this shot. It was made with ISO 100 for 1/20th of a second at F16 with my 24-105mm F4 lens.

Mount Nantai with Silver Birch

Mount Nantai with Silver Birch

Waiting My Turn

Waiting My Turn

OK, so back to another waterfall, but we’re only going to look at it as a secondary subject. There is a shot of the Yudaki, or Yu Falls on my site too, but it’s not that great. I’ll put a link to all of the shots for today in to the show notes for you to browse at your leisure later. The one I do want to quickly look at it image number 995. I approached the platform in front of the falls to shoot another one of these natural wonders, and I found two gentlemen already set up with their tripods photographic the falls. I stood my tripod behind them and as I peered through my camera’s finder to see if the lens was appropriate, this image just kind of appealed to me. These two guys bent over their tripods shooting away without even really acknowledging my existence at first, just brought a smile to my face. They soon realized I was behind them and the guy to the left moved his camera out of the way to let me in for my shot. They asked me which Neutral Density filter I was using, as they had only brought a one stop ND2, so I loaned them my ND8 for a while as with the ND2 the falls were still so bright that they could not shoot them at slow enough shutter speeds to give the falls that flowing effect, even with their lenses smallest aperture. We spoke for a little while and I moved on to the last part of my trip on the first day.

Next week, I’ll go into more detail and show you some more images from the following weekend, but for today, let’s look at just one more shot from this area, which is number 998. The sky was full of clouds that kept rolling in front of the sun, and so the light was changing often as I walked through the woods near Yudaki. The light in this particular shot literally lasted just seconds and didn’t come back while I was standing there. The shots before and after this are very dull by comparison. The clear water that incidentally has fallen down the waterfall probably a minute of so earlier, is quite still now, and gives us a beautiful reflection of the green foliage on the opposite bank. The new greens in the woods also highlighted by the warm sunlight add some extra colour and then there’re the browns and rusty reds that make up the rest of the image. It was shot at F16 for 1/3 of a second, at ISO 50, with my 24-105mm F4 lens. The thing that let’s this shot down quite badly in my mind is the black mesh around the tree in the left foreground. This is probably to stop deer eating the bark in the winter and therefore killing the tree, but I really wished it wasn’t there for this shot.

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest

And with that, we’ll call it a day for today. Part two of this Podcast should be released early next week. Please remember to vote for this Podcast on Podcast Alley as it’s now the start of a new month and the votes have been reset. There’s a form on the Podcast page at martinbaileyphotography.com to make it easy for you to vote.

Also, remember that there are still almost three weeks left of the Rainy Day assignment, which closes on June 25th, so if you still haven’t posted your entry, please take a look at the detail in the Assignment Forum, and if you didn’t listen to the original Podcast on this assignment, you can go back to Episode 37 for more details. I’m already seeing some great images that have been uploaded to the assignment gallery, and can’t wait to see what the rest of you make of this assignment. Remember that the prize is an original print of any of the photos in my online gallery at any size up to A3+ on the paper of your choice. Also votes will be accumulated throughout the year for a grand prize which right now although I don’t know what it will be, will definitely be something more than one of my prints, and hopefully something you’ll be happy to receive too.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this first ever enhanced Martin Bailey Photography Podcast. As usual, I’ve enjoyed putting it together, despite there being a bit of a learning curve to climb this week due to the new technology. So whatever you do with the rest of your week, please enjoy doing it, and if you’ll be out photographing, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it even more. Bye bye.


Show Notes
Music from Music Alley: www.musicalley.com/


Audio

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