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Outdoor Photography of Japan: Through the Seasons Paperback – June 10, 2011
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This book is also available as a 3 part series for both Kindle and also in print. If you just search for "Outdoor Photography of Japan" in books you should find all 3 parts easily. If you are on a budget you can purchase each of them separately in different months, or you can purchase Volume 1, see what you think and then make your decision to buy or not to buy additional volumes.
- Volume 1 includes Winter & Spring
- Volume 2 includes Summer only
- Volume 3 includes Autumn only
What's the difference between the Complete Kindle Book and the 3 Volume set of Kindle Books? In the 3 Volume set the image quality is better - the images have not been reduced in quality for the 3 Volume set. On a Kindle or on a computer monitor it is very unlikely that you will be able to notice any difference.
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The pictures in the book are taken from their travels over a 10-year period to the northern island of Hokkaido as well as the northern and central prefectures of the central island of Honshu. They commence in the winter months, and the book is arranged through the seasons thereafter. Part of the significance of the book is discovering the "art of the possible," that is, how they traveled around Japan, where they stayed, how long it took, etc., and simply learning what areas and places they considered important to see. It was interesting to learn that in all their travels they elected never to climb iconic Mt. Fuji, due to the crowds, and the regimentation along the trail. Best, it seems, to be seen from afar, and this collection contains an excellent picture of Mt. Fuji, with susuki grass in the foreground.
The highlights commenced on the first page of the narrative, with the "Frost Flowers" which were photographed on Mt. Takao and are the stems of the Keiskea japonica (there is no English common name.) They are not really a flower at all, but rather the appealing shapes that are taken when the sap in the stems freezes, expands, and breaks the stem, like a frozen water pipe as the author says. Another unusual winter phenomenon is the "snow monsters" on Mt. Zao, which are a hoarfrost phenomenon that can be over three feet high, "growing" in clusters. Also unique are the snow protectors which are placed over the coniferous trees in the Jindal Botanical Gardens. Spring commences in early March with the appearance of the tiny Chrysosplenium album. The three panorama photos, of white and red tree blossoms in the Hinatawada area are particularly appealing.
Cherry Blossoms. At the beginning of April, the true symbol of spring in Japan. Once again, Numazawa, who is credited with most of the photos, has included some outstanding examples. There are also some excellent pictures of violets, lilies, peonies, calypsos, hydrangeas and anemones. The "dai" flower seems to be unique to Japan, and is so-named due to its resemblance to the kanji character in the Japanese alphabet. As the authors move along into summer, they include numerous landscapes as well, and one of my favorite is the mixed green fields and forest, as shot from a climb up Mt. Shibutsu. There are some excellent photos of sunsets, as well as various atmospheric phenomena, such as the "Brocken Spectre," where the light projects the climber's shadow forward through the mist. Snow will linger on the mountains, both in Hokkaido, as well as the Japanese Alps on Honshu, even in high summer.
The colors of autumn provide some additional excellent photographs in the last third of the book. The cluster amaryllis are some brilliant red flowers that bloom in late September. The photo of the Upper Tama River is "screensaver" quality. Naturally as autumn progresses, the chrysanthemums thrive. And the Ginkgo tree shows it beauty, in brilliant yellows, and when grouped with maple trees running to scarlet, more "screensavers" are provided. Overall, the narrative is straightforward, and sufficiently informative, though at times it could be insipid, for example: "dangerous as heck," which is used to describe certain sections of their hike.
Still, the reason, far more than ample, to buy this book is the excellent pictures, which can serve as an inspiration to "photocopy", that is, take your own there. 5-stars.
I know I will use this book time and time again for its fine art quality photos. If you are looking for inspiration, love nature photography, or are thinking of traveling to Japan, then this is a Must Read.
I have a friend I often travel with and sometimes use her ipad when we travel so it is linked to my account. I downloaded the book it her ipad before we went to dinner. at the restaurant I pointed out the book to her and suggest she skim through it. she spent the entire dinner looking at the photos and reading the text. a few times she commented that a photo was too perfect to be real.
I am a huge fan of the work of late Ansel Adams and the man himself. I get the same inspirational awe from the photos of this book as I do from the work of Adams. The lengths or more accurately the distances the two men who created this book have gone is impressive.
I 'purchased' this as a Kindle freebie (the 'complete' version) and looked at it on my laptop via the cloud reader--beautiful shots, gorgeous colors and overall a fascinating look into the scenery of Japan. Interesting to see the natural beauty in the non-urban areas which is what I typically think of.
I was able to download it for free, but this is the sort of book that fully deserves to be kept in the paper version for full effect and I intend to purchase the paper version!
Highly recommended (particularly if you love beautiful flowers!)
However, that said - the photographs are poetic, capturing the unique beauty of Japan.