10 Beautiful Cherry Blossom Pictures

By Michael Gakuran | | Photography | 26 Comments |

Sakura Season is almost over and the final petals are falling gracefully to the floor. So before this ephemeral phenomenon has passed for another year, here’s a collection of 10 of the best pictures I shot in Okazaki, central Japan.

I decided to mix up the day and night photos to keep things interesting and also included some long exposure night shots I attempted. Night time cherry blossoms have their own special name – yozakura (夜桜)!

Some lovely blue skies floated overhead before the sun began to set. Nearly all of the photos in this post were shot using the Olympus E-P1 and the 7-14 Panasonic ultra wide angle lens – my new toy this spring ^^.

The standard close-up of the fleeting blossoms. It’s not hard to see why people in Japan love to go out and about when the flowers open.

Interesting colours came out of this one. A long exposure and a combination of incandescent lights with the darkening evening skies.

I couldn’t get enough of this golden water at sundown. The wind was just strong enough to create a lovely ripple effect complete with shadows.

More golden sakura. Love the halo the backlight creates here.

Shot from a low angle to include the grass reaching upwards and the twisted tree limbs. Ultra wide angle is both supremely liberating and completely frustrating at the same time. You have to get up really close to the subject to create good compositions and get rid of unwanted objects.

This was a tricky shot. Camera was on the floor shooting into two lights on a long exposure while my friend stood still. Again though, I feel the wide angle has brought out the perspective. Do you get the impression of being under the tree with us?

Shot at f1.8 on a 50mm old manual Olympus lens (100mm equivalent on micro 4/3 cameras). Just for fun :).

A one minute exposure of the bridge. The water was flowing quite fast earlier in the day, but as night fell it grew still enabling this shimmering effect of the bridge’s architecture.

Well then, that’s all 10! Not quite sure I can call my own photos ‘beautiful’ though… What do you think? Any particular favourite?

26 comments on “10 Beautiful Cherry Blossom Pictures
  1. Aisling says:

    Great job! Thank you for showing me the beautiful cherry blossoms!!!

  2. Red-maverick says:

    thank-you!! 6 is my fav, the one with the grass reaching up i like the angle. the bridge at night is also great.

  3. andre says:

    Great work!! Beautiful pictures

  4. leviacarmina says:

    very beautiful photos. My favorites would be photo n°2 and 3. Amazing light and atmosphere in n°3.

  5. Vania says:

    these are very very beautiful pictures!

  6. Vania says:

    these are very very beautiful pictures!

  7. Helen says:

    i had stayed in Okazaki for 1.5 years and this year in Apr, i went back there for a short visit…..the night view of the bridge is amazing…i never pay any attention to it at night…thanks for the photos …reminding me of my happy memories studying there

  8. Jason Collin says:

    The newer video card in my MacBook Pro has definitely helped with Aperture 3's real time adjustment sliders. There was a lag before, now basically none when just sliding them. HDR shots are put together much faster.

    Once CS5 comes out optimized for 64-bit on Snow Leopard I expect to see some real improvements in Photoshop, though it runs without really much delay for me now, and even on my old MacBook too, at least for the work I do.

    Learning scripts would be good, but there is a mental barrier to trying to learn it just from a website. I may invest in some Apple Pro (used to call it that anyway) training on Aperture, etc.

  9. I suggest spending some time learning to script in Photoshop using the provided tools. I'm assuming that Aperture has a decent API exposed to AppleScript as well. You can remove the “tedium” of these tasks if you feel them absolutely necessary by scripting away the redundancy. The efficiency of multiple cores has still yet to be realized in several aspects of computing, particularly de-/compression and en-/de-/trans-coding, so a newer system does not generally equate to better with image and video processing.

    Great advice though.

  10. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks man :). It was hard to see on my monitor, but I can make it out now. Will try to be more careful when clipping my highlights and shadows to where I want them. I shoot jpeg because the E-P1's jpegs are nearly as good as the RAW output, and much less work. Using Lightroom to process everything.

  11. Jason Collin says:

    color banding is like this:

    http://origin.arstechnica.com/news.media/Colour

    If an image has a clear break between each color, then that is color banding. I can see it in your second image for example in the blues of the sky. Of course I am using a high color 92% color gamut 24″ LCD monitor. Many people's screens may not be able to see the color banding in the second image, I'm not sure.

    I presume you use the highest possible image quality setting your camera allows and that you do all image resizing in Photoshop to prep for web posting?

    To maximize color I work with RAW files in Aperture 3 and when I do work on them in Photoshop they are exported as 16-bit TIFF files…then for use on the web they are reduced to 8-bit images and saved as a 600px width jpg at max quality. This is perhaps a tedious process requiring a decent amount of computing power, hence my recent purchase of the most powerful MacBook Pro Apple makes (and just released a week and a half ago).

    I'd say composition first and telling a story with your images, then worry about things like banding, but just wanted to point out that banding is visible in some of the images.

  12. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for all the comments all :).

  13. Gakuranman says:

    Thanks for your comments Jason. Good to get some critical feedback too :).

    Yea, the colourful skies were a bit of a surprise to me as well – no real colour adjustments were made on any of the photos except for tweaking it here and there. Not sure what you're referring to with colour banding though..? Could you go into a little more detail on what you can see?

    The green light on the bridge was entirely natural again. Quite vivid isn't it? I'll be sure to watch that horizon more in future :).

  14. Jason Collin says:

    Looks like your work is improving. I like the low angle choice in several of the shots, but that in itself became a bit repetitive. The overly purple skies in some shots also distracting, unless that's just how they turned out. Watch the highlights in your second shot, I can actually see color banding in the blown highlights, shoot in RAW!

    The portrait orientation building/reflection shot is pretty good. I may just dodge the buildings to brighten them a touch, or go the opposite way and burn them to silhouette them more. I like the reflection quality though, smooth.

    The sakura shot below it is not up to the level of the others.

    Like the bokeh only shot a lot. Shows creativity and the ability to see abstract.

    The last one I like too, is the green light natural? If not, I would have not chosen green. Be aware of centering your horizon all the time too.

    Good improvements, progress.

    Tim Tebow just picked by Denver, shocking!

  15. elisabel says:

    The fourth one is incredible! Not just the unearthly colors, it has a dynamic zig-zag composition that you usually don't see with photos of sakura.

  16. Hiromi says:

    These are some wonderful pictures! I like the 4th one as well as the 3rd one. But the last two pictures are also very interestingly taken. My camera does not do that, or maybe it is me…..!

  17. justross says:

    simply awesome. you've made me extremely excited about seeing the sakura next year when I study abroad at Kansai Gaidai, I'm really grateful for all the pictures you've put up on your blog, thanks

  18. blueshoe says:

    Very nice. I like the fourth one down the best.

  19. So beautiful! My favourite would have to be the sunset sakura with the halo – I think sunset wins over sunrise for photography, just because of that sweet, sleepy melancholy that you can see in the air.

    I'm not a sakura expert, but it seems that the older the trees, the fuller the blossom spread.

  20. Mum says:

    You're becoming quite the professional aren't you..lovely pictures x

  21. tornadoes28 says:

    Ooo, that's a tough one because they are all great. I would have to say my favorite is the last one, the bridge with the green light. I love the color of the bridge light with the smooth water.

  22. Riechan says:

    Love the pictures! Especially the first one and the fourth one!

  23. Lynn says:

    The 1st one breathtaking! :D

  24. Jumana says:

    kireee *.*
    they r all awesome.. my favorite ones are the night shot and the one with interesting colors !
    What camera did u use ?

  25. Franzi says:

    Wow, astonishing shots! They are all great, but my favorite is the one with the interesting colours :)

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