Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Wadakura Fountain Park - 和田倉噴水公園

In 2016 I bought a Lee Filters 100mm x 100mm Super Stopper neutral density 4.5 filter.  If you don’t know anything about neutral density filters, they are essentially a piece of material, often made of glass, that is dark.  You put them in a special holder which fits over your camera’s lens to reduce the amount of light that gets through to the camera’s sensor.  Basically, just like sunglasses.

The waterfall in action at Wadakura Fountain Park (15 second exposure)

Reducing the amount of light getting in so your camera’s shutter means it needs to be open for longer than usual with the end result being those silky-smooth waterfalls we see on the internet, or the ghost images of people as they walk around while the shutter is open.  Basically, you can get some really cool effects using them.  Whoever invented them was obviously a very clever person.  Just what I needed.

The original fountains with the Palace hotel directly behind (30 second exposure)

I had never paired a neutral density filter with my Fujifilm X-T2 to take pictures for a blog article so I decided to rectify that and visited Wadakura Fountain Park near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward.  Wadakura is a very good place for photos due its fountains and a waterfall - lots of water flying around that I wanted to make silky-smooth for my own pictures that I could put on the internet.  The type of place that begs for neutral density filters.

A 15 second exposure with the fountains almost at full-power

It wasn’t the best day for photography though as it was quite overcast, but as I wanted to get out and try the filters there wasn’t much choice but to just go for it.  I think I accomplished my aims for the day.  In the end, I was quite happy, though a little more blue in the skies would have been welcome.  After roughly four hours of shooting, I got forty-two pictures with only two being deleted.

The biggest problem I faced there was the waiting.  Even though there are two sets of fountains, I never realized that they don’t operate that often.  The central fountains go off twice an hour, and the modern art waterfall and its fountains go off only once an hour, which was something I didn’t know until talked to the security guard there.  So, it was set up the camera, check the amount of light for the filter occasionally and then wait for the fountains to work, move to a new position and then repeat until it was time to go home.

For a little background information, the original fountain park was built in 1961 to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince Akihito to Michiko Shōda (the current Emperor and Empress who live just across the road in the Imperial Palace).  The park was refurbished in 1995 with the addition of the second set of fountains and waterfall to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Naruhito to Masako Owada.  There are some canals which join the fountains to symbolize two generations of royal weddings.

The park contains a restaurant and another enclosed area which anyone can use for free to enjoy a break.  It really is a nice place to go if you need a break and is quite popular with office workers who want to eat their lunches outside.  I can’t wait to go back again when I get better clouds to work with.  A night visit there would also be great as the fountains are lit up.

Japan’s Ministry of Environment is responsible for Wadakura Fountain park, and you can see its homepage here.

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