Thursday, January 20, 2011

Japanese Castle with Stair Trails

This image of star trails taken in 1998 over Iwakuni Castle in Iwakuni, Japan, took a bit of pre-planning.  I had this image in my mind for over a year before it was taken because I would need a clear night; no haze or cloud cover.  Both happening on the same evening is rare in industrial coastal Japan.

Click on image to enlarge

On the afternoon I saw my ideal weather conditions, I travelled to Kintai-Kyo around 4:00 pm to make sure I caught the cable car going up the mountain to the castle before it shut down at 5:00 pm.  I set up my 4x5 camera on my tripod, framed the picture, checked and double checked focus.  And waited a few hours until dark.  Patience is required for architectural photography. 

The castle is lit with spot lights until 11:00 pm, and then they're shut off.  This allowed me to take one exposure of the lit castle, then when the spot lights were turned off, take a second exposure the stair trails on a single sheet of film.  The star trails exposure was for 45 minutes.

When I finished with the photography, and since the cable car had long stopped running, I had to walk down the dark mile long access road from the castle to the bottom with my camera equipment in a photo backpack.

Unique images take planning and going that extra bit to make happen.

Please visit Todd A. Smith Photography, LLC website to see more of Todd's work.

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