In 2016 I bought a Lee Filters 100mm x 100mm Super Stopper neutral density 4.5 filter. A neutral density filter is a piece of material, often glass, that is dark. You put it in a holder that fits over your camera’s lens. It reduces the amount of light that passes to the sensor. You could compare them to sunglasses.
Reducing the amount of light available means the shutter needs to be open longer to get a good exposure. The result is those silky-smooth pictures of waterfalls we see on the internet. Or there are the pictures of people walking like ghosts through a scene. You can get some other cool effects using them too. Whoever invented them was a clever person.
I hadn’t paired my Lee Filters with my Fujifilm X-T2, so I was eager to try it. Wadakura Fountain Park near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward was going to be my visit target! Wadakura is a great place for these photos due to its fountains and a waterfall. There, a lot of water flies around. It was perfect for my own silky smooth pictures. They would be the pictures for this article.
It wasn’t the best day for photography. The skies were quite overcast, but I wanted to try the filters. In the end, I was pretty happy, though a less cloud would have been welcome. After roughly four hours of shooting, I headed home with forty-two pictures. In the end, I only deleted two.
Problems photographing the waterfalls
Waiting is the hard part. Even though there are two sets of fountains, they don’t operate often. Those in the middle go off twice an hour. The modern art waterfall and its fountains go off only once per hour. I didn’t know until I talked to a security guard.
So, I set up the camera, checked the amount of light for the filter every so often, and then waited. Once a fountain stopped, I’d move to a new position and then repeat the process. If you ever go there, make sure you take something to pass the time. I didn’t even have a book.
A brief history of Wadakura Fountain Park
Wadakura was built in 1961 to celebrate the marriage of then Crown Prince Akihito to Michiko Shōda. In 1995 a second set of fountains and waterfall found their way into the park. This time it was to celebrate the marriage of then Crown Prince Naruhito to Masako Owada. Some canals were also added to symbolize two generations of royal weddings.
Where is Wadakura Fountain Park?
It is between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace. From the station, it is about ten minutes. Otemachi and Takebashi are also near. Here is a map:
What else is there?
The park contains a restaurant and another enclosed area which anyone can use for free to enjoy a break. It is an excellent place to go if you need a break and is quite popular with office workers. And the Imperial Palace and Marunouchi area are close too.
Other photo spots near Wadakura Fountain Park
- East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
- Hibiya Park
- Imperial Palace
- Masashige Kusunoki (samurai statue)
- Tokyo Station
I can’t wait to return and hopefully get better clouds. A night visit would also be great as the fountains light up. Japan’s Ministry of Environment runs Wadakura Fountain park. Its homepage is here. And if you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the section below. Please don’t be shy. I don’t bite.