Taking family travel photos in Japan

In Photography, Travel, Travel Destinations by Keehian Tan2 Comments

We have been to Japan probably over 10 times over the years and we have always enjoyed Japan as it is easy to get around and very safe. It is pretty crowded though so timing your visit is probably important to avoid the crowds.

  • Aperture: ƒ/7.1
  • Camera: NIKON D700
  • Taken: 6 June, 2010
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • ISO: 2800
  • Shutter speed: 1/125s

When I went to Arashiyama 7 years ago I really liked the bamboo forest. It is really a must see place in Kyoto. When I went back two years ago, it was too crowded so it is really hard to get such a shot.

Bamboo Forest

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: NIKON D700
  • Taken: 20 January, 2011
  • Focal length: 14mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s

Some of my favorite pictures is from places that are not scenic like train stations and Shopping center. This shot was taken while waiting for a train at JR Aso station. At 14mm, you have to be really close to the subject to achieve such and effect. You also need to squat such that you are shooting upwards and tilt the camera slightly. This allows you to create a different perspective to make the subject seems more grown up and dynamic.

Coming of Age

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: NIKON D700
  • Taken: 25 January, 2011
  • Focal length: 140mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/1600s

This was shot at the old town in Kanazawa in Winter. The previous picture is shot with a wide angle and this is shot with a strong telezoom at 140mm. The effect is very different. The previous pic has a right in your face feeling while this one is more like an observer peeking in from afar. The f2.8 helps to isolate the subject from the background enough to make the subject stand out but not until the background is unrecognizable. You want to know where the place is in your travel photos.

Mother and Daughter

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: NIKON D700
  • Taken: 26 January, 2011
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s

This shot was taken in the Hida Folk village in Takayama. This is located right in the Takayama city so it is much more accesible than shirakawago in mid winter. We have went to the shirakawago (see below ) in summer and I would say this place is probably better in winter. At first I was worried about getting modern building in my backdrop, but there really isn’t any. In fact I think the setup is more scenic for photograph as it is artificially layout as a musuem. In winter there was really nobody too. We arrived at Takayama in the midst of a pretty heavy snow storm so when we went to visit the Folk Village, the snow cover was fantastic.

Innocence

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/1.4
  • Camera: NIKON D700
  • Taken: 3 April, 2012
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 280
  • Shutter speed: 1/125s

This shot was taken in some outlet store somewhere in Japan. I really don’t remember where it is but it probably isn’t useful to know where this shot is taken. This was during the time when I was still extremely enthusiastic about taking photos so I would snap shots literally everywhere even while shopping. Some of the shots actually turned out really nice. I love the expression and the slight motion blur of her hand.

I love shopping

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: NIKON D800
  • Taken: 25 July, 2013
  • Focal length: 145mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/5000s

This shot was taken at a famous location in Hokkaido which I have previously researched before the trip. Some shots are impromptu but there is no harm reading up a little on where to shoot and do some planning. I was standing really far away at the other end of the road. So basically my wife and kid cannot really hear what I am saying. We rely on sign language to communicate.

Promise

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/1.4
  • Camera: NIKON D750
  • Taken: 9 September, 2015
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s

This shot was taken at a at Shirakawago in late summer. When you are on the road, there will be lots of chances to shoot literally the road. Don’t just ask your subjects to stand there, try to walk naturally down the road. Make sure the road leads into the picture and not out of it

Country Road

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/1.4
  • Camera: NIKON D750
  • Taken: 13 November, 2016
  • Focal length: 24mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/4000s

This is a pretty recent photo from my last trip to Japan. As it was only for a few days after a business trip, we decided to do Hakone. We passed by this field while on the way to another attraction and was surprised by how nice it looked. We did a u turn and took some shots. After the trip we realised it is a pretty famous attraction and November was the time when the fields were bright golden in color. It was pretty crowded along the official trail so we had to shoot along the road just to get a clean shot. Although you cannot see it, there are people inside the grass fields along the trail.

He ain’t heavy

 

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: NIKON D700
  • Taken: 6 February, 2013
  • Focal length: 200mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/2500s

This photo is taken while we were waiting to see the monkey show. The photo is slightly edited to reduce the color saturation of the railings to give a more winter look. I usually don’t do major edits to my pictures like adding a moon, clouds, etc but I do reduce the color saturation of distracting elements quite often. This is shot from a distance using a telelens to give a more private feeling to the picture, like we are watching from afar. I find a lot of my favorite pics are not taken at “famous” locations. They are usually taken along the way to the famous locations… Sometimes all you need is good light and an interesting expression and setting.

Winter at Kawaguchiko

Comments

  1. Hello Kee Hian, really liked your photos and the compilation with accompanying music. It is very well done and even though I’ve been to some of the places you’d shot at, the photos give me a fresh perspective, and inspire me to visit again.

    Hope to see more photos of your family’s travels. All the best!

    1. Author

      Sorry for the late reply as I was on vacation at late Dec. Thanks for the kind words and I have some pics from my latest trip up already 🙂

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