In 2017, I went to Tokyo’s Bunkyo ward to see the Hakusan Shrine Hydrangea Festival for the second time. I never used to like these flowers, but the more I went, the more they grew on me. This time, I didn’t get up early like I did the previous year, so I got there much later than planned. And what’s worse, it was pretty cloudy. Blue sky only poked its way through the clouds only once or twice. Well, at the time, I thought it was unfortunate, but my mind soon changed.
Prior to this very article, there was a pattern in my flower photography. I took most photos on fine days OR fine days with few clouds. At that time, I thought that was the normal thing to do.
But that can be problematic because many flowers are reflective. Clear blue skies allow a lot of light through. Too much, and it’ll make your pictures too bright. You risk blowing out the details.
If the sky is overcast, clouds act like a diffuser making the light softer, which is a huge plus. I didn’t realize that fact for a long time. It’s good, as long as you focus on the flowers and nothing above.
I had a great time there with my camera, enjoyed chatting with a couple of people, and enjoyed the flowers. When the hydrangeas bloom at Hakusan Shrine, it is such a beautiful place. I urge anyone who visits Tokyo in June to visit it. Depending on when you go and what time you go, it can get quite crowded, but that is okay as it is still very local. The shrine and the area around it aren’t that big, but about 3000 hydrangeas are there!
If you don’t know anything about hydrangeas, they can be blue, red, white, pink, or purple, and there are two types. One is roughly ball-shaped. The other is somewhat flat, with a central core surrounded by an outer ring of flowers. I like them both. They are great to look at and photograph.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. And if you have been to this event, what did you think of it?