Sakura 2011 Part 2 – Canon s90

This is the 2nd part of my ongoing cherry blossom series. Last post I posted about hanami (花見), or flower viewing while enjoying food, drink and the company of family and friends. For this next post I wanted to share with you some shots I’ve taken over the course of the last few weeks, as I’m on campus almost every day during the week for classes. What I really liked this year was being able to see the blossoms in all manners of weather. Rain, clouds, sun, sun mixed with clouds, you name it – minus a blizzard – I was pretty much able to get a shot of it. While many may consider cloudy/overcast/rainy days as “bad weather”, I disagree – I like to think of it as another way to be creative, to get a nice view of things from a different angle or point of view.

Another theme of this post is that all shots were taken with my Canon s90, which continues its stellar performance from when I bought it over 18 months ago (10/2009). Although the s95 is out, there really isn’t any kind of landscape the s90 can’t handle – you’re always just going to be limited by your imagination and creativity. Most people think I travel with my digital SLR all the time (and, admittedly, I use it fairly often), but the camera I have on me at all times is usually the s90 (unless my dad needs to borrow it for a trip). Small, light, agile, and more than capable of doing anything the dSLR’s can do for landscapes, I’ve never once felt “under-equipped” to handle anything. It’s never about the gear you use; it’s all about finding the moment and light and knowing how to use what you have to take the best photo you can.

The best pictures are always from the camera you have on you the most.

Hope you enjoy as much as I enjoyed taking them! I’m definitely in my element wandering around by myself after classes, as the sun goes down; in the pre-dawn morning when it’s quiet and still, not a soul around; or getting a bit wet trying to get some nice pictures in the Seattle rain 😀

April 4th: Rainy Day

(Pics on this day were all taken so I could show Kazuyo different ways to create subject isolation and background blur even with a compact camera. Obviously you’re limited by the lens, aperture and small sensor size, but you can definitely get more creative with your angle!)

 

Rainy day, beautiful day (camera held about 3 feet above my head).

 

Lone blossom (macro mode)

 

Brilliant backlight

 

Raindrops on petals (macro mode)

 

From ground level (great thing about small cameras 🙂 )

 

Wet bench (f/2)

 

Lone visitor

 

April 6th: After class, 3pm

 

Isaac, Sam, Mark (shot in neutral to preserve nicer skin tones)

 

Enjoy the weather!

 

Savery Hall

 

April 7th: Sunstars, clouds, and some barefeet

 

Sunstar through the branches #1. I love these kinds of shots, and love even more that the s90 has a real diaphragm to make sunstars possible! More to come 🙂

 

Another beautiful spring day. Mix of sun, blue sky and some clouds

 

A quick pass of dark clouds make this an ominous sky, great contrast

 

Sliver of sunshine as the sun dipped behind Savery Hall

 

Zoomed in from the last picture (not cropped!)

 

Who was here? 🙂 Bare-feet through the puddle!

 

Fading light on the quad. Love how it reflects off the red stone buildings

 

Sunstar through the branches #2

 

Macro at last light

 

Soaring high, late afternoon light

 

Counting clouds...

 

April 8th: Dawn, morning light, and mid-afternoon sun

 

On the 8th I was up before 6 to try to catch the sunrise and the sakura. Alas it was not to be, but it didn’t stop me from still taking some pictures!

 

Sakura, pre-dawn. I came to try to get the sunrise and sakura...

 

Remnants of the night

 

All is quiet...unfortunately, the early sun was clouded over. But I got a few people free pictures 😀

 

Cloudy weather meant nice, even lighting for this shot

 

Reserves are out. We salute you!

 

After shooting for an hour I retired to the grad lounge of my program to rest for an hour or so. I chatted on-line for a bit while the cleaning ladies took over the rest of the lounge and had their breakfast. Friday morning, no one’s around anyway 🙂 At 8:30 I went back out again. At this point the sun started to break intermittently.

 

Rays breaking through clouds

 

Blue sky peeking out - I like the composition with just a touch of blue in the corner

 

Towers and sky - my favorite picture!

 

Sunstar through the branches #3

 

Sun, shadow and arch

 

Invitation to sit

 

I passed the rest of the morning studying, and went out again in the afternoon after a pizza lunch, when the clouds had almost all cleared up.

 

Black on blue - This of course isnt a sakura, but I thought the patterns of the branches against the clear blue sky was a nice touch 🙂

 

Under the branches

 

Self portrait

 

Grandiose

 

Afternoon stroll

 

Phew! Lot of pictures, but I was very happy with how they all came out, just minimal processing to the JPEGs (yes – they were all shot in JPEG! :P). I hope that everyone in the Seattle area was able to enjoy the sakura and the weather at some point; sadly as of yesterday they were about halfway down for the season and the continuing rain probably means they won’t be around past next week. However, all good things must come to an end – otherwise we wouldn’t enjoy them so much! My pics will keep coming for another week or two so enjoy these and enjoy those when they come, but more importantly, I hope I’ve inspired you to get out and get shooting! 🙂 – Brian

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