Travel Blog  

2018 > 04

My family and I are just back home again after a fantastic vacation in Japan. The timing was just right for the cherry blossom season and Japan was more beautiful than ever. The japanese people call this period "Sakura" and they are just crazy about taking photos of the cherry blossom. They even have forecasts when the cherry start to bloom all over the country. You can have a look and follow the progress on the link below:

Cherry Blossom Forecast 2018 

This year's cherry blossom was quite early due to a warm and early spring in the Tokyo area. Luckily we managed to visit most of the spots when it was full bloom both in Tokyo and Kyoto. It's just an amazing sight and a great experience which I really recommend if you are planning a trip to Japan. Even though the season has finished in most parts of Japan right now, there is still chances in the north of the main island and Hokkaido.  

This was my second visit to Japan after experienced the country all white during a winter some years ago. To my disappointment that time, I didn't see any locals wandering around in their beautiful dresses and kimonos. That was not a problem this time because the japanese people were all out taking photos of the cherry blossom in their kimonos as well and if you are really luck you will even see a geisha! 

It will be major update of my Japan gallery (linked below) shortly but until then enjoy the japanese sakura!
  

Chureito Pagoda with Fuji and cherry trees in the background, Kawaguchiko

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/50 sec, f/4,5 @ 47 mm)
 

Cherry blossom in Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, Tokyo

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 250, 1/320 sec, f/14 @ 300 mm)
 

One of the best massive cherry blossom spots is Ueno Park, Tokyo

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/320 sec, f/6,3 @ 165 mm)
 

Tokyo Sky Tree in the background of pink cherry blossom tree, Tokyo

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/200 sec, f/8 @ 60 mm)
 

A japanese woman in its beautiful kimono along Philospher's Path, Kyoto

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/200 sec, f/5 @ 180 mm)
 

White cherry blossom in Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, Tokyo

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/125 sec, f/14 @ 70 mm)
 

A lonely cherry flower along Philospher's Path, Kyoto

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 1000, 1/250 sec, f/5,6 @ 300 mm)
 

Philospher's Path, Kyoto

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/100 sec, f/6,3 @ 50 mm)
 

Cherry blossom in Ueno Park, Tokyo

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 200, 1/320 sec, f/5,6 @ 300 mm)
 

Japanese women with their beautiful kimonos along Philospher's Path, Kyoto

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/160 sec, f/5,6 @ 82 mm)
 

Himeji Castle, Himeji

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/400 sec, f/9 @ 70 mm)
 

Flowers on closeup along Philospher's Path, Kyoto

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f/5,6 @ 250 mm)
 

Himeji Castle, Himeji

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/400 sec, f/10 @ 70 mm)
 

Illuminated cherry trees along Meguro River, Tokyo 

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 30 sec, f/5 @ 24 mm)
 

Lanterns and cherry trees along Meguro River, Tokyo 

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 800, 1/50 sec, f/4 @ 55 mm)
 

Mount Fuji framed by some cherry trees branches, Kawaguchiko

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/200 sec, f/7,1 @ 73 mm)
 

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The southernmost stop during our road trip in Eastern Europe and the Balkan Peninsula was Montenegro. Only two nights spent in country, one among the resorts in the popular and well known Budva and the other one in the capital of Podgorica. Limited time for photography and new experiences for sure but still we managed to do everything we wanted even with an infant in the back seat. 

First of all, the scenery of Montenegro is stunning with high mountain ridges and deep cutting fjords with excellent photo opportunities in every needle eye turn but be prepared for time consuming driving on roads in poor condition. The overall impression of the country is unfortunately pulled down by the tourist influenced atmosphere at places like Budva and Kotor with souvenir traders everywhere. Apart from this there is of course a lot of beautiful spots not to be missed and well worth a photo.
 

The serpentine Crnojevic River, Lake Skadar National Park

This beautiful horse bend view of the Crnojevic river in the Lake Skadar National Park might be one of the most beautiful places I have photographed lately. I was lucky enough that everything was just right that morning when we finally arrived at this spot after hesitant driving on serpentine roads. I must confess I didn’t have a clue about this place until I came across another travel blogger that had visited this place. As time were limited on this trip I will certainly make a longer stop at the Lake Skadar National Park if I ever will come to Montenegro again.
 

The Crnojevic River in Lake Skadar National Park photographed in the early morning

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/125 sec, f/7.1 @ 19 mm)
 

Old town of Kotor

An old town surrounded by city walls in the inlet of one of the fjords in the country. Excellent photo opportunities almost everywhere you go inside the walls but the best one is probably from the path that leads to St John Fortress which overlooks the city from above. It’s from this path the following shot is taken, in my case in full daylight but still quite nice with some cumulus building up above the mountainous surroundings.
 

Overview of Kotor from the St John Fortress hiking trail in the afternoon light

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/160 sec, f/9 @ 19 mm)
 

The Ostrog Monastery

An hour drive to the north of the capital of Podgorica, you can find the very interesting Ostrog Monastery. What makes it so special is that it is built inside the mountain highly elevated to be safe guarded from intruders. From a distance and in sunlight the white colored monastery looks almost surrealistic against the mountain and it's just as impressive when standing close by. You are able to shoot this sight from several locations which generate in completely different views and perspectives.
 

The Ostrog Monastery is actually best lighted at midday due to the high terrain 

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f/11 @ 32 mm)
 

Sveti Stefan, Budva

This five star property well known for its visits by celebrities is located a short drive outside Budva. During the early morning hours when the guests are still sleeping or about to have breakfast is the perfect time for a perfectly enlightened view of a silent and peaceful Sveti Stefan. You may either take a shot from the beach with the sunchairs and umbrellas perfectly aligned for the sunbathing guest or from the main road above where you can get a great overview shot of the strangely located resort.
 

Sveti Stefan nicely lighted in the early morning hours

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/400 sec, f/8 @ 47 mm)
 

The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, Podgorica

The attractions and sights in the now appointed capital of Podgorica are not that many or in fact none apart from this beautiful church called The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, Podgorica. Located in a rather rough and worn part of the city, it really stands out in its white colored facade during the late afternoon sun.
 

The main entrance of the cathedral is best lighted during the afternoon

(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f/11 @ 28 mm)
 

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