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How-to -- Midnight Adventure in the Japanese Cemetery

Reminder: speech today at Kent State - more info: http://goo.gl/gZ1xP


The night had been dark for many hours by the time I hiked to this point. It was raining and somehow the wetness seemed to make everything even more black. There were old and new crypts, spider webs, lonely rotting wood, creaking trees in the heavy rain, and more strange sounds from the woods. Talk about eerie! Japanese cemeteries are not places that people visit very often. It’s bad luck. Naturally, I don’t believe in any of that, so it was my good luck it was empty for photography!

Of all the spots around Kyoto, this is probably my favorite. There is an area of 1,000 Red Gates that flow up and around a picturesque little mountain. This cemetery is about halfway up the trek and it shoots off to the right. It is both great and annoying to shoot in the rain. I had to carry an umbrella, tripod, bag of camera goodies, and the like, and everything gets all jumbled up when it comes time to set up for a shot. I need an assistant!

How did I do this one? There were three exposures +1, 0, -1. Normally I do 5 from +2 to -2, but in this case, it was so dark that the shutter speeds were outrageous enough. I kept the ISO at 200. The 14-24 lens was at 15mm (on a D3X). It was aperture priority at f/5.6. The three shutter speeds were 2/4/8 seconds.

Here is one special thing I did on the last exposure. It was DARK out there. And I mean DARK. I had my SB-800 in my bag. On the last exposure, I ran over behind the gate to the right like Carl Lewis, and jammed the “Test” button about 5 times in every direction to light up that area. I almost slipped and died… I have no idea what a police investigator might assume if they found me in the morning.
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232 comments
 
I always admire the comp in your images. While there are 'rules' to follow, and occasionally broken, you seem to get your lens in the perfect viewing spot every time. There is a lot to learn when following your work. Cheers.
 
that is cool...kind of mysterious
S White
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It's amazing... so pretty..
 
Great picture, good thing you didn't die on us.
 
cool guy's.makr it's adventure in your stragle.'.)
 
Wonderful shot...the landscape, looks beautiful.
 
The picture reminds me of the song... "Stairway to Heaven" for some reason... LOL
 
interesting perspective. what's the lens ur using? there is a 2-color rainbow near bottom left corner, did u deliberately put it in there? nice shoot and very nice job!
 
man WOW fucked up when they didn't hire you... This should have been in mysts of Pandaria... Sad way they went...
 
the words in the pillar are traditional chinese character '纳奉', i don't its meaning~ but it really looks like from Mists of pandaria, haha
 
As allways Trey, you are the man. love the feeling in you pics. It´s like something out of a anime/ game/ movie by Ang Lee
 
Hey +Trey Ratcliff Seen "Spirited Away" lately? Image reminds me of it strongly. A lovely one it is.
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It's amazing picture,beautiful place
 
It looks so scary 2 walk up those steps...... :O
 
it lookng superv..............
 
Brilliant Stuff! How many exposures did you take?
 
my mind has wandered for a while..felt like i was really in this place..paradise.perfect shot.
 
It uses a fisheye lens
 
also looks a bit scary
 
Ahaaa Youu Funni Vicc . Hitt Mee Up Summ Timmme !! Buhh Dntt Stalkk Mee ..
 
i love the way you took the picture!!!
 
looks like you're heading to tribal council on survivor
 
For many of your posted photos...I can only say - simply amazing!!
 
What would have been cool if you just took a pic and found out there was a "ghost" in it, yeah i know it won't happen lol
 
How good is this photo...it kindles my imagination. Stairway to heaven or to the land of no return.
 
Awesome... what else is there to say?
 
Beautiful picture!!! Japan is one of the countries I would love to visit!
 
+Marc Westenburg Looks like Inari Taisha to me as well. Definitely one of my favorite spots in Kyoto. I could walk around there for hours, though I didn't usually go at night. More of a sunrise person, myself :)
 
I like this mountain, too. It's called Shrine Fushimi-inari located in Kyoto. I walked around those Tori-i (shrine gate) winding with the mountain and enjoyed the beauty and silence just besides the modernity of city.
 
It is truly beautiful! any advice for which we are entering this art so beautiful? at the moment only I captured with a modest digital camera sony dsc-w350; Since that time I can not get a good reflex team. for that, I love your work! a greeting!

 
Fantastic! If anyone were ever to reissue an edition of Lafcadio Hearn's "Kwaidan" (Ghost Stories) this ought to be an illo for it! Fantastic shot.
 
It's wonderful to see an image that I've never seen and probably never will. I imagine very few non-Japanese would ever get to see a Japanese cemetery, period, let alone on a night like that one. Awesome, Thank you.
 
让我想起了<鬼武者>
 
Stunning capture! I lived in Japan for 11 years and this is one of the most beautiful photographs I've seen in an immensely photographic country. Makes me want to go back.
 
That looks rather cool looking cemetery:)
 
Beautiful! I have always wanted to go to Japan! (Lcky you!)
 
I swear, these look more and more like previews to a new crazy-beautiful video game. Future game developers, take note! :)
 
+Trey Ratcliff Hi. It's not a cemetery but an Inari shrine. It enshrines the god of five main cereals in Japan.
 
love your rendication of your trip in for photo taking. It was so descriptive.
 
did i see this in one of the movies either Ongbuk or some other movies very similar setup
dea me
 
nice picture but do u thinks cemetery is full of light lol
 
Shots like this really, really make me want to go to Japan.
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I have yet to come across a pic by +Trey Ratcliff where I look at it and say to myself, "Eh, not bad." It's always, "Wahhh. . . ."
 
Sounds spooky to me!Were you scared?
 
Actually, sometimes it's "Wow!" but you get my point.
 
looks interesting bt yet scary...
 
i ll never be bored telling u how much i love the way u process ur colors
 
hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm quite interesting
 
Funny enough I've been following that website for years now, I have several of my favorite photo's as my screen saver and background on my desktop. I added you on Google because I liked your photos but it wasn't until I saw this photo (1 of my background photos) that I put 1 & 1 together. So a big thank you for sharing all these wonderful photos!
 
This is so awesome Carl Lewis wannae! LOL! Good Work!
 
It is very very nice the outside kind of scared little bit
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Wow, looks like something straight out of an anime. Beautifully captured!
 
would love to go there!!!
 
This is an amazingly beautiful picture, what a cool place to visit.
 
That is some nice stuff... I love the picture and the way you captured it... : )
 
IT LOOKS LIKE A DARKEND CORRIDOR TO A CHINESE RAILWAY OR WALKWAY-DEAN
 
look like a restaurant too me............ SMH
 
But the result is worth it all. I'm fortunate to have my husband act as my assistant, he carries bags, finds stuff and hands it to me, and sometimes gives unwanted advice. It's great.
 
i would like to go there someday but i have to find enough $$$$ first!...lol
 
This is a wonderful picture thanks for sharing :)
G Rui
 
Animation movie “Spirit Away”
 
Looks hauntingly beautiful...
 
What software do you usually use for HDR Processing?

Awesome Shot though. :)
Mohan D
 
i experienced like this this is awsome
 
great photo Trey. Desktop, say hi to wallpaper
 
I had a similar experience at Kuo Mizo tera. February day after a snow, melting sounded like ghost footsteps. We walked into the grounds like ghosts ourselves, from the service entrance.
 
Wow that photo captures so many things, you just get hook on it!!! Very beautiful!
 
Wwwwwooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
 
Wow - really interesting to hear exactly how you took this shot! Thanks...
 
Through the garden and out the other side into paradise...love the the energy of the photo
 
Your pictures are very beautiful and they take me to the destinations thank you I feel like I have traveled the world today & wow the Glory of God's beauty
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I'm pretty sure I've been in exactly that spot in Kyoto, taking pictures. None of them turned out anywhere near this awesome.
 
omg! what beautiful scenery!
 
Great talk at KSU was great to get to see you in person.

 
So much detail to look at and explore! +Trey Ratcliff Very cool, must have been fun to discover :)
 
hey congrats that u have a HD camera.....
 
Trey how do you make it look so cartoonie?
 
+Trey Ratcliff , you went to cemeteries in Japanese temple at rainy night? Wow amazing, those nights make us, Japanese people I mean, feel a bit horrific with those places...
 
beatifull mike.................................
 
This photo has an amazing mood to it! Is it taken at Fushimi Inari near Kyoto? If so, I think I know the spot!
 
This looks like it could be the set from a live-action Mists of Pandaria World of Warcraft movie
Jade Ho
 
rat dep.thank 'u
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Love this shot Trey, you are AMAZING!
 
miracle is possible in loving us much you want,let get in romantic place.'.o
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