Winter Festivals

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Both the Towada Snow Festival and the Hirosaki Lantern Festival are coming up (this weekend or the next). I’m excited to put the Low Light Monster to the test. Last year at the Towada Snow Festival, there were colored lights and plenty of dancing and ice/snow sculptures. I visited Hirosaki Castle a week early last year, and only saw the setup for everything… unfortunately nothing was lit.


Who knows what’ll come up once I’m there, but I’m planning on having the 85 f/1.4 on for the most part. Just because of that ability to suck in light. If there’s enough light, I might throw on the 70-200 f/2.8 to get closer to the performers on the snow stage (it’s pretty impressive). I’ll need a bit of speed… maybe about 1/160sec at a minimum for most of the stuff since everyone’s dancing around to keep warm.


One word of advice to anyone going with a camera: the large tent might be warm, but it’s extremely humid due to all the cooking vendors and hot bodies exhaling. Make sure to put your lens cap on… otherwise your cold lens will condense the moisture in the air and cause your front element to fog up (note to self- bring a lens cloth for when I forget about my own advice).

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Well, as you can see, I slowed the shutter speed down to catch some of the motion. Instead of 1/160 sec, I used around 1/80 sec. ISO at 1600 for the most part gave me a good working zone for color and shutter speed. I do believe this shot was at f/4 on my 70-200mm. 

I started off with the 85mm but it seemed that it didn’t give me the reach I wanted. On went the 70-200mm and I was off. Here’s one of the applications where the zoom came in handy. Usually it’s better to use your feet to zoom. But in this case I only had a couple of spots to move. The zoom had to compensate for the courtesy of not standing in front of everyone, but occasionally I had to move from side to side to get the angle/background I wanted.

One great thing about Japanese festivals is that they love to get everyone involved. Rah-se-rah rah-se-rah ra-se-rah-se-rah-se-rah is the common chant that they dance to. It’s great when everyone gets involved and starts dancing.

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