As I mentioned in this post already, one of the main reasons I visited Japan in early spring was to see so called sakura, cherry blossoms, Japan is so famous for. There are dozens of various cherry trees (in Japan alone there are around 200…) with blossoms having white, pink, yellowish or greenish colour. Some start to bloom early, some start to bloom late. Some have just a few petals, some – around 100. But there are some things common to all of them – they are all equally beautiful. And delicate. And they’re only blooming for 1 to 2 weeks per year.
I went to Japan for 3 weeks as no one really knows when exactly sakura season will begin nor when it will end, so the idea was to maximize my chances. There are cherry blossom forecasts (available eg. on Japan Guide website) but obviously they just give you a rough idea. And I’m happy I decided to spend 3 weeks in Japan as this year’s sakura season started around 1 week earlier than it does on average. It was also relatively short once it started due to quite intense raining and wind. You know, the petals are so soft and delicate that even a breeze can make them fall… Anyway I still managed to experience sakura season in a number of locations including Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima, Kumano Kodo and Mount Fuji although it required jumping from place to place and spending really long hours in trains. Regarding Mount Fuji I was very lucky to see cherry blossoms there as on average the trees are blooming there around 2 weeks later! Even locals seemed to be surprised by such early beginning of sakura season this year. Yeah, I was really lucky!
During sakura season in each of the major spots, like parks, flower viewing festivals are being held and they are known as hanami. Whole families and groups of friends are viewing flowers, singing, having picnics, eating sakura flavoured sweets, drinking sake etc. And this is not recent tradition let me tell you – first hanami festivals were organized as early as in 3rd century AD! Of course by that time they were limited to members of Imperial Court but later spread to samurai society and soon after among common people. Nowadays almost everyone celebrates it.
Photo: Deer in Nara during Sakura Season
Today photo has to be related to sakura of course. So what about this one? It depicts a wild deer living in the park in Nara, former capital city of Japan. There are around 1000 deers wandering freely around park in Nara. In the past they were considered sacred (and killing one was punished by death) but after World War II they lost their godly status and are now only designated as national treasures (what still means they are protected).
In the background you can see wonderful pink cherry blossoms in their full bloom.
Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review)
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 105 mm
Exposure time: 1/320 s
Number of exposures: 1
E.V. Step: n/a
Flash used: no
Software: Magic Lantern, Capture One 9, Photoshop CC 2015, ON1 Effects 10