Nachi Falls, Wakayama, Japan by Patrick McNeill

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Picture Story

This is the pagoda near Nachi Falls (in the background), the tallest waterfall in Japan. There is often mist around the waterfall but this is in the mountains, so there was some other mist in the area that can be seen along the mountain peaks. It was raining pretty hard a little while before this, and I had been down at the bottom of the falls trying to shoot from under an umbrella with tons of mist coating the front of my lens. But I wasn't going to be back any time soon, so I took the trek up to this viewpoint and luckily the rain ended. It's actually hard to find the right spot to get this shot and I did a lot of scouting around to find the best vantage point. After finding my spot I had to wait for some tourists to stop wandering around and I saw that the pagoda actually closed for the day, so I could shoot at will. I used a tripod to get a shutter speed of about a half second, with a low ISO to avoid noise in the image. I used an aperture of f/9 to make sure the image had good depth of field and was sharp from front to back.

I would recommend visiting in the spring or fall, and that goes for pretty much the entire country, so the summer temperatures and humidity don't ruin your enjoyment of Japan. This site would probably be pretty good after a fresh snowfall in the winter, although you'd want to ensure that the water flow isn't low before you make the trip out here. As a side note, if you're thinking about driving to the famous site of Koyasan after this, I recommend taking the long route rather than going through the mountains; that was the longest and scariest drive of my life!

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