Imperial Palace Gardens…

The Imperial Palace East Gardens (皇居東御苑, Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen) are a part of the inner palace area and are open to the public. They are the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defense, the honmaru (“main circle”) and ninomaru (“secondary circle”). None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 180 mm, 1/200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 720

There are a number of grounds and gardens which make up the Imperial Palace precinct. With limited time we were only able to see just a small fraction of the area.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 210 mm, 1/250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 1100

The gardens are spectacular and I can only image what it would look like in autumn. We were there in early spring, the flowers had not yet sprung. The translucent greens in the delicate foliage was divine with an almost inner glow.

Imperial Palace Gardens

Imperial Palace Gardens

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 160 mm, 1/160 sec at f/5.6, ISO 1250

My youngest daughter and I had a lovely time wandering the paths amidst the play of wonderful light washing through those fantastic green leaves.

Leaving

Leaving

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 122 mm, 1/125 sec at f/8, ISO 900

Alas time was short and it was time to leave this special place.

An Avenue of Poplars – Topping Coolah…

I’d just dropped my daughter off at the grandparents place but I wasn’t stopping. We’d just come from doing some milky way panoramas and light painting to the south of Coolah. I wasn’t yet finished however. I was keen to try one more shot from the road leading into Coolah from the east.

Topping Coolah

Topping Coolah

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 25 sec at f/2.8, ISO 3200 x 12 Frames

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

This is another double row pano taken with my new Novoflex Panorama rails. One row of six images taken straight out at 0˚ and a second row pointing upwards at 45˚.

My aim… well this road leading into town has a row of poplars along the side of the road. I wanted to shoot down the road pointing towards town with the arch of the milky way topping the town and the trees in the west.

I must admit to being a little worried about what the light pollution was going to do. Coolah is a tiny town but basically any lights in the direction you’re shooting in at such high iso’s for astro work is typically bad. I somewhat compensated by shooting the lower row of frames at ISO 3200 and the upper row at ISO 6400 and hoped the pano blending would compensate. It did perfectly so I’m happy with the end result.

A little light painting of the foreground with my headtorch was all that was needed to lift it from the inky darkness.

Imperial Palace – Edo Castle…

We were visiting the site of the old Edo Castle in the Tokyo Imperial Palace gardens. 皇居 Kōkyo, literally “Imperial Residence” is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and contains many historic buildings and a beautiful garden.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, 1/320 sec at f/6.3, ISO 900

The total area is quite large at 3.41 square kilometres. It’s amazing to think this wonderful area of greenery is mere metres from the bustling metropolis of Tokyo and Ginza.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 92 mm, 1/100 sec at f/6.3, ISO 180

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135 mm, 1/160 sec at f/7.1, ISO 360

The Imperial Palace East Gardens (皇居東御苑, Kōkyo Higashi Gyoen) are a part of the inner palace area and are open to the public. They are the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost circles of defense. None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guardhouses still exist.

Edo Castle

Edo Castle

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28 mm, 1/160 sec at f/8, ISO 100

Edo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867. Emperor Meiji also resided there from 1868 to 1888 before moving to the newly constructed Imperial Palace.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, 1/320 sec at f/5.6, ISO 280

A wide lawn and the remaining foundation of the former castle tower can be found on top of the hill, where the castle’s innermost buildings once stood. The castle tower was completed in 1638 as the tallest castle tower in Japan’s history. But only a few years later in 1657, it was destroyed by citywide fires and has not been rebuilt since.

The Gates

The Gates

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85 mm, 1/100 sec at f/7.1, ISO 140

Pink Sakura @ The Imperial Palace…

Whilst making our way from Ginza towards the nearby Imperial Palace grounds we came across the lovely area of delicate pink sakura.

Pink & Green

Pink & Green

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 160 mm, 1/200 sec at f/8, ISO 100

It was an ideal opportunity to take a few nice family photos standing below the outstretched arms of these cherry blossoms. Long rows of trees with delicate pink flowers receding into the distance.

Pink Snow

Pink Snow

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, 1/320 sec at f/6.3, ISO 125

It was a chance to utilise the longer end of my trusty walkaround lens. Shooting wide open at 300mm lets me nicely blur the background for a smoother pink bokeh.

I’m really enjoying the freedom and flexibility of the Nikon’s 28-300mm lens. Having just the one camera and one lens whilst travelling is a real pleasure. It’s a compromise but the quality is really quite surprising. Sure it’s not as good as the 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 and 300/4 combo. However it’s not going to kill me walking around all day either 🙂

Sakura Fall

Sakura Fall

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, 1/320 sec at f/7.1, ISO 110

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 105 mm, 1/200 sec at f/7.1, ISO 100

Astral Plain…

I was already pretty satisfied with the source frames I’d taken for the previously posted panorama on this astral plain. I was however keen to do another one. This time a full 360˚ pano and also one which was a bit closer to the trees and the building. Basically I aimed to get as close as I could whilst still having the milky way arch overhead above the treeline.

Astral Plain

Astral Plain

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 25 sec at f/2.8, ISO 6400 x 16 Frames

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

As it happened I wasn’t able to move all that much closer. The milky way was moving towards the horizon in the west as the night progressed. I did however move quite a bit to the right from the previous spot. I’d noticed a fair bit of light pollution on the horizon through the trees from some town in the distance. I decided to place this behind the house to hide it more.

The image leading this post is a nice crop from the centre of the full 360˚ by 180˚ flattened equirectangular projection below.

Astral Plain

Astral Plain

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 25 sec at f/2.8, ISO 6400 x 16 Frames

Two rows of eight (8) frames with the Samyang 14mm is enough for a full 360˚ circle. The first row of 8 vertical frames is taken looking straight out level and the second row is taken with the camera tilted up 45˚.

I actually took a total of 26 frames for this shot. I had to repeat a few of the frames, either where I’d over or underlit the frame. We also did a number of takes of the central frame where I was lighting the inside of the house in various colours.

Astral Plain

Besides a dark hole right at the bottom this overlapping coverage also allows me to produce a full spherical panorama. You can view the scene in the interactive panorama tool above. In this you can pan left and right and up and down to view the entire scene.

It was 9:30PM and by this time my daughter was getting cold and tired. She was also getting a little wet from whatever this tall thick pasture was. It was time to pack up and head back to town.