On the left side of this alley is the main river that runs through Kyoto and on the right is a smaller water canal. So when you walk down this amazing ancient alleyway in Pontocho the ambience is mellowed out with the sounds of trickling water. Japanese symbols and signs jump out at you and each little establishment has it’s own unique look.

The area still has its fingers deep in the roots of tradition and most of the structures here look like they might have 1000’s of years ago, that’s how old Japan’s history is… much older than my home continent Australia 😉

You know how on Japanese movies you always see those restaurants where patrons remove their footwear, the walls are wooden lattice with traditional white paper covering the holes and the doors don’t swing they slide ? Well this is where you can find many of those places. They are real ! haha and not just sets from a movie.

In this image you can see a couch out the front of one restaurant whilst another has all these cool lanterns and a menu to peruse. The whole street was an explosion of colours due to the rain making everything reflect and shine…It was pretty magical… I love exploring places like this so much !

Software Used:

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

– On1 Perfect Effects  An amazing Filter program to stylise the image. a standalone Filter program which can also be launched from Lightroom, Photoshop or Aperture

– Topaz Adjust 5 is a great Filter program with a variety of choices, 15% off all Topaz software use discount code LukeZemePhotography

-NIK Collection

Image Location:


View HDR “red Lantern Alley” print by artist Luke Zeme in a larger map

Editing info for budding photographers or pro’s who want the latest:

I used Photomatix PRO, Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom from the Adobe creative cloud, OnOne Photosuite 7 & Perfect Effects 4, and from NIK I used Color Efex Pro 4. As this was a HDR workflow the software has been previously listed along with explanations and discounts where I could get them for you at this link…  LINK TO HDR SOFTWARE

Thanks guys and gals, Luke

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Please use this contact form for any enquiries and we will get back to you asap. Thanks :-) Thanks, Luke

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