Tokyo in Pics


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

Cherry Blossoms on the Sumida River - 2018

In 2018 I’ve been trying to shoot as much as I can, and will, continue to shoot as much as I can.  It wasn’t my New Year’s resolution, it is just something I’m doing.  In March I managed to publish thirteen articles, which was a record for me on Tokyo in Pics.  I’m quite happy with what I have produced, but I think you, the reader, must be the ultimate judge.  Anyway, as with all ongoing projects, disaster strikes at some point and unfortunately, I’ve had my own and one of them hit me for this article when I went to the Sumida River for the pictures for this article.

Sumida River Park in Tokyo is a great place to enjoy a walk under the cherry blossoms

On the morning I visited, I thought, I was ready, completely ready.  My batteries were charged; I knew where I wanted to walk because I had checked the maps; I’d checked the weather forecast and found it would be a great day.  There was just one thing I didn’t think about.  One vitally important thing.  I had completely ignored the sun.

The cherry blossoms, Tokyo Skytree and ... the sun

The Sumida River has two banks, which is as it should be, it is a river after all.  So, when I arrived in the early morning I naturally looked across the river.  I was on the west side and suddenly realised something.  Tokyo Skytree was on the east side.   Oops.  Well, as it was the morning, the sun was also still in the eastern sky, BEHIND Tokyo Skytree.  I realized my mistake and cursed profusely.  How dumb was I?  Any shot of that tower was going to be backlit.  Obviously, to carry out my original plan, I needed to have been there in the afternoon, not the morning.  I found myself wishing for a tripod and neutral density filter, and neither were to be found.  Oops again.

One of the cruise boats and cherry blossoms

As someone once said, “A mistake is a lesson, not a loss”.  I wasn’t going to go home with a loss, so I pushed on and took pictures as planned.  And I made a note to myself that in future I would know where the sun would be, well and truly before I started shooting.

A couple of girls at Sumida River park looking very traditional

A mistake is a mistake and not much can be done when they are made.  We just need to find a way to reduce the pain once they are made.  I think one way is just accept them by realizing they are going to help us in the future as they have given us some experience.  We can fall back on those experiences to help us when we face other difficult situations in the future.  In the end I wasn’t that upset anyway.

The Sumida River is a beautiful river with some very nice views

My remedy for that mistake was just to keep shooting as if nothing had happened. I took pictures as I liked.  And I event shot a backlit Tokyo Skytree.  So there, I didn’t come out with a complete loss.  I didn’t come away with a great win, but no loss either. Some pictures of a nicely exposed Tokyo Skytree with equally nicely exposed cherry blossoms underneath in the morning sun would have been great, but my day didn’t work out like that.  I made do with what I had.

Anyway, a few days later I went back again after work around sunset just to get that one picture I wanted.  Granted it’s obvious that one picture looks different to all the others in this article, but I can live with that.  In the end I’m just happy I made the situation work for me.

Tokyo Skytree in the afternoon

And if you enjoy the pictures in this article please feel free to leave any comments below.