"Sakura" and "Koyo" in Japan

Series is available here.

It was made from two different trips in different seasons : spring and fall.

In 2013, first trip objective was to discover the country and capture the cherry blossoms (« Sakura »), which happens end of march / early April in Kyoto and Tokyo. I went to both cities and got pretty lucky as you will see in the photos. Too early and they aren’t fully bloomed - too late and they are on the pavement. Timing is everything. Much to my surprise, the flowers are actually very white and not too pink as you usually see in photos. It can be quite overwhelming to shoot and finding composition that works require a lot of focus, not to mention the huge amount of tourists to avoid, mostly japanese. A lot of the photos you will see were taken before or right after sunrise to avoid them.

In 2015, second trip mission was too shoot the fall colors (« koyo »), which happens end of november, early december. Same two cities, Tokyo and Kyoto but in a different setting. The cherry blossom spots, temples or gardens, are completely different at that time of the year - quite a lot of research was necessary to build a plan. Thank you internet for making it a bit easier. Again, timing was everything : too early and the leaves are still green - too late and they are gone. I went multiple times to the same location and could see the change day after day. In a few cases I was too late so didn’t have much to shoot - I will definitely go back.

While both seasons have their own charm, I do prefer the fall from a photographic standpoint. There are many more colors to play with, yellows, oranges, reds and even purples. Don’t get me wrong - cherry blossom is a magical experience and being surrounded by these trees is a fantastic feeling. But I feel there are less variety of photos to take - it’s all just very white!
Many other types of photos were taken during these trips, including cityscape, temples, traditional stone gardens, portraits of geisha, a trip to Mt Fuji and the futuristic architecture of Tokyo. I chose the flower / leaves theme for this series but may do some other galleries in the future. There is some good stuff in there to share.

From a tech point of view, I shot with a Nikon D800E and 16-35 f4, 24-120 f4 and 70-200 f4 lenses. Polarizers was used occasionally, especially in the fall photo shoot, to avoid glare on the leaves. Tripod couldn’t be used all the time, especially in gardens and temples where it’s not allowed.