Sekonic Reunited / Himeji Castle

Up to now there has been a common thread of frustration while taking pictures: blinking highlights.

I’d take a picture, look at the LCD panel, and see white areas flashing back at me, a sign of washed out whites due to over-exposure. It was really annoying: almost every shot I took in Shirakawago was over-exposed. As a rule, I like to shoot at minus one-third stop anyway, but everything seemed to be at least two-thirds over-exposed. I wanted to blame the camera because whenever I composed a shot I was always trying to meter off something close to middle-gray. And yet the results were always off. Sometimes way off. It might take six or seven shots of the same thing while fiddling with exposure settings before getting a decent shot. But I am hesitant to blame the camera.

I was thinking about this while on the train home from work on Thursday. On Saturday (yesterday) I wanted to go somewhere to photograph, and was considering the options. It had to be a short day trip, because I have a gig on Sunday and I should be back home by Saturday evening for an early night’s sleep. Wherever I was going to go, I had to do something about that trend of flashing highlights. Then I remembered that I had some old photo gear in the closet that I hadn’t touched in ages — since the F3HP days, in fact — maybe somewhere in there was my old trusty lightmeter.

The first thing I did when I got home was rummage through my closet. I soon found it. An old Sekonic, a bit banged up but still working. I am sure I hadn’t used it in seven or eight years, not since I lived in Korea.

Never mind the washed-out wall on the right.

I decided to go to Himeji Castle, since I had never been there before and it was only an hour by express train from Osaka. What a day it turned out to be. The lightmeter performed admirably. I shot entirely on manual, adjusting the settings according to whatever the lightmeter said. A beautiful blue sky, white plaster walls, and direct sunlight was an excellent challenge, but I am very happy with the shots. I have my lightmeter to thank for that.

Himeji Castle is another World Heritage Site (there seem to be many in Japan!) that is well worth a visit.

The nearby Kokuen garden was built in 1992 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of Himeji municipality. It is a beautiful setting of trees, ponds, streams, goldfish and trees.

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One thought on “Sekonic Reunited / Himeji Castle

  1. […] The theme of walls carries over from recent posts (of buildings in Kyoto, Osaka, Kanazawa and Dubai) with today’s picture of a wall section from Himeji Castle, complete with loopholes in the shape of squares, triangles and circles. Easily one of the most beautiful buildings in Japan, this is must see if you ever visit this part of the world. And if you are blessed with sunny weather, you are in for a photographic treat, as the black roof tiles, white plaster walls, blue skies and dark shadows juxtapose wonderfully. Although it has been about ten years since I took this picture, I still remember the immense excitement I had on that day with the perfect shooting conditions. An added feature of the day was that I shot entirely on manual, using a Sekonic light meter to decide the settings–recounted in a short post here. […]

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