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The Day My Photo Trip Did Not Go As Planned

It happens sometimes. The disaster photography trip. It's my last Spring Sakura season here in Japan, and I really wanted to photograph the blossoms at Chureito Pagoda with Mount Fuji in the background. It's an iconic image, and I wanted my own version. It's very important to me to get my own photo, as it's a symbol that I was actually there. My memory preserved. Of course, I'm not such a fanatic that I ONLY take photos and don't sit and enjoy and absorb the memory of being in a place (my darling and oh so patient husband may disagree with me!)

First error of the trip was taking my four year old with me. Most of the time he is pretty compliant, especially when candies are involved. I rationed him to one candy per break in the steps up to the pagoda. The whining was minimized, but not completely irradiated.

Second error, and probably the biggest oversight which I am kicking myself for: the lighting was terrible! What oh what was I thinking when I thought later afternoon would be good light for this location. I should have studied and researched this better. All those gorgeous Google images of Chureito are taking during the early morning hours, not afternoon! That way Fuji and the pagoda are highlighted, not blown out ridiculously like all my shots were. I either had a completely blown out, white Fuji but definition and detail on the pagoda and blossoms, or I had a decent Fuji, but way too dark pagoda and blossoms, veering on silhouettes. Even my post editing could only take me so far.

Third error was my timing for the blossoms. Our warm April saw a quick Sakura season, and I got there past full bloom.

Fourth fail of the day was my wide angle lens malfunctioning. It's still not working. Off to the Canon shop I go. The only other lens I had on me was my 200 Sigma; far too much of a zoom to get the frame I wanted.

The irony is that my iPhone took better photos than any of my DSLR. Eye roll commencing.

And, to top it off, after our oil inspection today, I was told I need my tires changed immediately! All four were bald. Don't drive on the highway, he said. A bit late for that, mate. But, praises to our Almighty Father who did know about my tires and kept me safe as I sped home along the Chuo Expressway.

Tips for the future: PLAN! Plan accordingly to the predicted weather and season.

Know your lighting! This one I'm smacking my face most about. It was a silly and easily avoidable mistake.

As my wide angle failed me to get one shot of the whole frame, I used the zoom lens and took the entire scene in many photos. I will turn it into a montage, and we'll see how it turns out. I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Maybe there's a phoenix from the ashes moment to be had.

Next time will be better, and more enjoyable!


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