Shiratani Unsuikyo. The Ancient Forest
Shiratani Unsuikyo is a lush green nature park on Yakushima island in Japan that served as an inspiration to artists behind Princess Mononoke animated movie (I haven’t watched it myself to be honest). This forest is full of ancient cedar trees, some are around 7000 years old, what makes it one of the oldest forests on the Earth. At the same time the island is also one of the rainiest places of the world. Locals have a saying that it rains there “35 days a month”. And when I was there it was indeed raining quite a lot but it didn’t make the place even a little less beautiful as it is really magical.
Shiratani Unsuikyo is full of walking trails ranging from 1 to 5 hours of walking. During a single day I managed to walk 2 of them. Most of the trails are easy and quite well-maintained but rain can make them much more difficult with parts of them completely inaccessible or dangerous. Rain drops make the pavement really slippery and given that you also occasionally have to jump on rocks to get from one shore of the stream to the other, you have to be extra cautious.
Getting to Yakushima, and so to Shiratani Unsuikyo, is quite easy. You can either use a boat from Kagoshima port (several boats a day) or fly from Osaka (1 flight a day), Fukuoka or Kagoshima (several flights a day). I chose flight for myself as I wanted to save some time.
Anyway the place is really magical and I took hundreds of images there (I would probably took thousands if I had more time). Most of them are HDRs and one of them you can see below. To make it I took 5 exposures, 1 stop apart and merged them in Photomatix Pro 5.1. I applied finishing touches in Photoshop using ON1 Effects 10 plugin. If you would like to learn how to create such images yourself, make sure to read my HDR tutorial:
And finally here’s EXIF info for this image:
Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review)
Lens: Canon 16-35 f/4 L IS USM (read my review)
Focal length: 16 mm
Exposure time: 2 s (“middle” exposure)
Number of exposures: 5
E.V. Step: 1.0 EV
Flash used: no
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping
Software: Magic Lantern, Photomatix Pro 5 (Contrast Optimizer), Capture One 9, Photoshop CC 2015, ON1 Effects 10