Flash photography and flowers at Hanegi Park 2024

I chose flash photography for plum blossoms at Hanegi Park in February 2024. Do you want to know why? Well, the weather forecast said the skies would be fine for when I wanted to go. It wasn’t to be. It was cloudy. How did I turn this to my advantage?

The sky looked dreary. I needed something to make the flowers “pop” under those conditions. There was one answer. It would be a day of flash photography. The extra light would give me what I wanted.

So I caught the Keio-Inokashira Line train to Higashi-Matsubara Station. Then, a ten-minute walk to the park. When I arrived, I could see many people. They were everywhere. The annual Plum Blossom Festival drew them.

That was annoying, but something truly disappointed me. Once again, I couldn’t see Mount Fuji from the park. The last time I saw it there was in 2017. Well, that was okay because I was there to see the flowers. Not all were in full bloom, but enough were. Anyway, after a few photos, I decided to use my flash.

Why did I choose flash photography?

As I mentioned already, it was overcast. The clouds were a problem. They blocked the sun, so everything looked dull. The flowers didn’t look pretty at all. They were drab and greyish. The backgrounds were worse. Shadows were everywhere. Natural light wasn’t the way to go on this day.

Flash photography was the panacea. It cured everything for me. Why?

  • A flash of light and shadows disappear. 
  • Backgrounds can get darker. That was okay because the flower was the subject of the photo. Flash gave me good separation.
  • Some people say flash results in a less-than-natural look. I disagree. It’s marvelous.
  • You can use much smaller apertures since you have more light. That gives you more flexibility. Is bokeh important? Or do you like everything in focus?

How was the Hanegi Park plum blossoms experience?

It was good even though I was out of practice with flash photography. The last time I used it was probably for cherry blossoms in 2023. That was the least of my problems.

The biggest problem was the people. Plum Blossom Festival 2024 brought a huge crowd. The park’s paths were narrow, so I constantly had to move to let someone past me. It was hard to find a rhythm. Should I have gone on a weekday? I could have, but the weather forecast predicted rain.

I must admit I got lucky. While I was at Hanegi Park, a few patches of blue sky drifted through. They didn’t last long, but I made good use of them while I could.

Flash photography gave me the results I wanted. It made the flowers pop and separated them from the background. The photos were good.

What was my photo gear for this event?

  • Camera body: Fujifilm X-T3
  • Lens: Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR
  • Flash: Godox V860II

Wrapping up

Clouds threatened to ruin my day. But flash photography gave me a way to overcome my problems. It banished shadows and accentuated the vibrancy of the blossoms against darker backgrounds. The results were magnificent. Each photo had life.

So, I’m looking forward to spring 2024. The upcoming flower festivals excite me. I will be using the flash more for them. The cherry blossoms should be ideal for it. Anyway, if you have questions or comments, leave them below.

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