Kyoto is  a very special place and has been one of my favourite to visit and photograph thus far. Much of it has been preserved and the city is a mix of ancient and modern Japan. This area, part of the Gion District, has geisha roaming the streets and many men and women still dress in traditional attire. I was lucky enough to see 3 or 4 geisha in my stay in Kyoto, which I found pretty exciting. What I love about Japan is their importance they place on the practical arts and I’m talking about skills such as woodwork and other crafts such as embroidery and painting. I think I would have been a good fit with ancient Japan and would have loved to have dedicated my days to one of these ancient crafts. Pictured here is the philosophers walk which winds its way up to Kiyomizu-dera temple. The walk itself is very famous and I came back with my camera to shoot it under the moonlit sky. I had the place to myself and wandering the alleys, it was pretty amazing.

Post-processing and camera info:

So I was able to shoot this HDR image by placing my camera on a tripod and firing off 5 bracketed shots. I then took these 5 shots back onto my computer and used the brand new Photomatix 5 to create a tonemapped image. Photomatix 5 has a new HDR algorithm called contrast optimizer and have been loving using it because of its realistic gritty look.

Photomatix PRO – Is a MAC and PC HDR software for creating stunning HDR images. They have a free trial, but if you end up buying a copy of Photomatix you can get a 15% Discount with the coupon code LukeZemePhotography

I then took the image into On1 Perfect Effects  which is a part of the photo suite On1 Photosuite which has all of onone’s software in one neat package. In Perfect Effects though I used a filters like dark contrast, tonal contrast and high pass sharpener to get the look I desired. In Perfect Effects you can layer as many filters as you like on top of each other and each one had a variety of options for you to make changes to them. I also like to use Perfect Resize to adjust the size of the image to about 45inches so that my printers can use it for large artworks. Perfect Resize uses fractal mathematics to enlarge your images and the results are fantastic. Perfect Resize is also a part of OnOne Photosuite but you can buy it as a standalone. I think you are better off getting the whole suite though as you won’t regret it.


View Kyoto by Moonlight in a larger map


Nikon D800


Nikkor 14-24mm

Focal Length




Shutter Speed

0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0 & 8.0 seconds



HDR info

5 bracket HDR using Photomatix 5


Kyoto, Japan

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1 Comment on "PHOTO OF THE DAY- Kyoto by Moonlight"

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Deano @ JTM

Hey mate,

Stunning photo! Found it via Flick Japan HDR pool.

I’ve featured this photo on my Japan travel site – – with full credits of course! If you have any other photos you’d like featured just let me know.

By the way, this street isn’t actually on the Philosopher’s Path – that ends up at Nazenji Temple which is a bit north of Kiyomizu Temple.


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