Golden Light in Kamakura. Kencho-ji Temple

Golden Light in Kamakura. Kencho-ji Temple

Kamakura, a small town less than an hour south of Tokyo, is a former capital of Japan (it was political center of Japan from 12th to 14th century). It has a lot to offer to tourists from numerous temples and shrines to several nice hikes through the woods and even sand beaches, especially popular in the summer months. There is also 2nd largest bronze Buddha statue in Japan with a height of 13.5 meters.

I spent whole day in Kamakura as a side trip from Tokyo (BTW you can check my Japan travel itinerary here) and managed to visit most of its attractions, including one of its forest hikes.

In the photo below you can see Kenchoji temple, which is the most important of five Zen temples in Kamakura. The wooden structure in the image is the Sanmon – main gate to the temple.

The best thing was I had whole place just to myself 🙂 I went there just 20 minutes before it closed and my girlfriend and I were the only ones being there apart from some staff doing some maintenance work. As wood really loves warm golden hour sun, the gate looked really fantastic during the sunset. The only thing I wasn’t happy with was that cherry trees haven’t started blooming yet. The image would be so much better if the cherry tree in the foreground was densely covered in pink blossoms!


Camera info and post-processing

  • Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review)
  • Lens: Canon 16-35 f/4 L IS USM (read my review)
  • Focal length: 24 mm
  • Aperture: f/8.0
  • Exposure time: 1/80 s (“middle” exposure)
  • ISO: 100
  • Number of exposures: 5
  • E.V. Step: 1.0
  • Flash used: no
  • Tripod: yes
  • Filters: no
  • Technique: HDR, tone-mapping
  • Software: Magic Lantern, Photomatix Pro (Contrast Optimizer), Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC 2015, ON1 Effects 10.5

This time editing was very simple but still it was enough to create the image I had in mind.

This time editing was done in Adobe Lightroom and Photomatix so it means I didn’t use neither Capture One nor Photoshop for this image. The reason I had to use HDR here was because some parts of the sky were slightly overblown and some shadows were too dark (almost black).

I started with correcting distortion and chromatic aberration for my source images and then sent them to Photomatix Pro where I used default Contrast Optimizer settings and went back to Lightroom.

Back in Lightroom I increased Vibrance and Clarity and additionally moved up saturation of blues (to make sky more saturated) and reds (to make the wooden building more saturated).

I also used Upright tool to fix leveling issues and make the vertical lines more straight.

2017-01-17T19:42:24+00:00 August 1st, 2016|Posted in: Japan|