Tokyo in Pics


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

Plum Blossoms at Yushima Tenjin in 2018

Photography can be very frustrating at times.  I mean there are times when everything goes right and there are times when things doesn’t.  That is the story of my life recently.  A couple of weeks ago I had visited Yushima Tenjin and it was terrible because even though the Plum Blossom Festival had started, due to Tokyo’s long run of cold weather, the flowers had hardly bloomed.  Well, this time, I knew they had bloomed as I rang the day before, so I woke up and with the skies looking great, after my morning shower and breakfast, I headed to Yushima Tenjin, once again.  And yes, the flowers were in bloom.

Yushima Tenjin during the Plum Blossom Festival of 2018

Well, mostly in bloom, for which I was very thankful.  But disaster struck, the weather rolled in and as you can see in the pictures, there are a lot of clouds in them.  In end it was all fine though, as I was just happy to get and about and enjoy some beautiful flowers on a not so cold spring day.  Such is life!

One of Yushima Tenjin's many plum blossoms

Still, it was a good day.  Most of the flowers looked good and it was attended by a good crowd.  And let’s be honest, just getting out on a nice day in Tokyo can be a reward in itself.

Lots of flowers over the ema (plaques upon which dreams/wishes are written)

For photos, I used my Fujinon XF 16-55 mm as always, but this time I also had a XF 55-200.  Both great, but obviously very different lenses.  The 55-200 has better bokeh, but for shooting flowers it probably isn’t the ideal lens as minimum focus distance is over a meter, 1.1 meters to be exact.  At places that can get crowded like Yushima Tenjin during the Plum Blossom Festival, a big minimum focus distance like that, is less than ideal.  On the positive side though, the lens isn’t very big, and it is quite light.  And, it has stabilization!  It seems to be an all-around piece of kit and it comes at a reasonable price.  Eventually I’ll get around to writing a full review of it.

Even on a weekday the Plum Blossom Festival at Yushima Tenjin draws a good crowd

I think the day worked out quite well in the end.  Granted, I didn’t get everything I wanted, especially with the cloudy weather, but I did go there to shoot flowers and I think the pictures, while not great, are satisfactory.  My technique definitely needs working on though.  One day I might try using a reflector or even flash with them.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the space below!  You can see Yushima Tenjin’s website here and my article about it here.