Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cherry Blossoms, Light Painting, with the Nikon Df

I have the opportunity to shoot cherry blossoms every year, usually in both the Washington, DC area, and in Tokyo. Very different opportunities, of course, but each very nice.
 
I find that when a subject becomes routine to me, I am challenged to make pictures that are interesting to me, and probably to anyone else who's looking. A few years back, a friend and I started to experiment with light painting the cherry trees (using flashlights to artificially light the trees in the dark). I feel that I've gotten better at this over time. Here's the first shot I was happy with from a quick outing last night with the Nikon Df.
Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 131 secs exposure
 
Having gotten the first shot I had in mind, I started playing around with other ideas. First, I tried adding some red light (two small red light flashlights, one in each hand).
 
Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 231 secs exposure

 
Okay, I guess, but nothing special. Then, I got an idea. I've always wanted to photograph the blossoms falling from the trees, or at least represent that concept. So, I grabbed a small branch of blossoms and used the flashlight to light it as I simulated it falling from the tree. Here's what that looks like.
 
Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 202 secs exposure
 
Then, I decided to try more of that, switching from the 35mm to 24mm Nikkor.
 

Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 435 secs exposure

Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 384 secs exposure

These are kind of cool, and probably my favorites from the evening.
 
Then, I decided to put it all together. Maybe it's a bit much, but here it is.
 
Light Painting, Cherry Blossoms, by Reed A. George
Nikon Df, Nikkor 24mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 100, f11, 486 secs exposure
 
This was an interesting evening of experimentation. It gives me ideas for some further exploration, but I have to do it fast; the cherry blossoms won't last long.
 
At least these aren't just like every other cherry blossom shot I see every year.
 
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