Azalea Festival 2024 at Nezu Shrine was awesome

Azalea Festival 2024 at Nezu Shrine was awesome. I’ve been to it many times. But this year was the best. The flowers were perfect. The only other thing I needed was more time! It’s hard to believe I almost didn’t go.

You might be wondering why didn’t I almost didn’t go. Well, Tokyo’s weather has been so bad this year. The city had seen so much rain and overcast weather. Spring has been a washout.

Rain, rain, rain. The cherry blossom season a few weeks earlier was mostly lost to it. I only got three photo sessions with those flowers. It was disappointing.

Well, the weather gods smiled upon me. On April 26, I looked out my window in the morning and saw the sun and some clouds. I made a quick decision to go to Nezu Shrine. I hate photoshoots before work because I like to take my time. But I needed to go because I hadn’t published an article for two weeks.

Well, there was one more thing I could complain about. I had limited time since I had work. That meant it was a shoot-and-scoot photo session. But in just over thirty minutes I took four hundred photos. It was a non-stop move-and-shoot.

What did I enjoy most about Azalea Festival 2024?

It was the colors. Of course, the azaleas were bright and vivid. But they were under some great blue skies with a few clouds.

The next part of the puzzle was the Kaya trees. They were huge and lusciously green. For me, they were the icing on the cake. It was the perfect spring day for Tokyo.

It’s a cheap event. The cost of admission is only ¥500. Actually, I’ve been about ten times and it’s always been that price. It’s a good deal.

What didn’t I like about it?

  • Nezu Shrine’s Azalea Festival is popular. Even on weekdays, it gets crowded. When you go, prepare yourself for that.
  • There was some construction work this year. It didn’t look pretty. There was a simple fix, though. I composed my photos so you can’t see it.

What photo gear did I use for Azalea Festival 2024?

  • Camera Body: X-T3
  • Lens: XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

Why did I choose the 16-55 lens?

  • It’s not the perfect lens for flower photography. However, the focal length gave me what I needed for different situations. I could zoom in on my subject somewhat and zoom out to shoot the wider scenes hill. 
  • I’ve taken over one million photos with it. It has never let me down. I know it intimately. While it is a little heavy, I trust it and this session needed speed. I couldn’t waste any time. It was shoot and scoot. This choice was a no-brainer.

Photography tips

Azaleas come in a variety of colors and can reflect light very well. That can be problematic for flower photographers. This year I saw an interesting solution.

One woman used a neutral density filter. It probably blocked a couple of stops of light so she didn’t need a tripod. It would have brought out more details in her photos. Next year I might try it!

In conclusion

My time at the Azalea Festival 2024 was great. The flowers were brilliant as was the weather. The morning’s photography was superb. The only thing I could complain about was the time. One day I’ll spend the whole day there and do it justice.

What about you? I’d love to hear about your photo experiences. Do you have a bad weather experience that turned out to be fantastic? If you do, leave it in the comment section below.

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