FujiFilm X100s – Fall Colours In Karuizawa

Back in November, I took myself and my then newly acquired FujiFilm X100s to Karuizawa, a beautiful holiday town a few hours out of Tokyo (on the Shinkansen, or Bullet Train), in to the Nagano prefecture. The images in this post were some of the first I took with the camera, as I was trying to memorise its controls and see what kind of images it worked best with.

An appealing aspect of life in Japan, especially after living in Hong Kong and Singapore, is having four distinct seasons to enjoy. Kaurizawa is famous for being a great place to enjoy the fall (autumn) colours, as well having a range of local delicacies, from amazing apples and apple jams/compotes, to freshly made buckwheat soba noodles. Coffee roaster and retailer Maruyama have their flagship store in Karuizawa as does the excellent Sawa Mura bakery.

The scenic beauty and good food are only part of Kaurizawa’s charm. The town is famed for its Onsen, or volcanic hot springs. Perhaps this trio is why Karuizawa became such a hangout for writers, artists and poets in the early part of last century.

I was fortunate enough to stay at the rather nice Hoshinoya resort, which in every way managed to balance tranquility, elegance and luxury. From the moment I arrived and was welcomed with a cup of hot, ginger-spiced apple juice, I felt relaxed and at ease. The luxury private onsen, manicured yet natural walking paths and exquisite food simply added to the sense of being unobtrusively pampered.

And, while I was a little late to see the peak of the fall colours, walking around Karuizawa still managed to set the mood for winter and greeted me at every turn with fascinating visual moments.

One thing I really enjoyed on this trip was the way the x100s managed what we could call “subtle” compositions. There’s something I can’t quite nail down yet about the images the Fuji gives me. They are sharp, colours render well and yet, they seem to go so nicely with subtle kinds of processing, small adjustments in clarity and negative contrast values. Maybe it’s an antidote to the overcooked styles currently in vogue or the fetish with film? I don’t know.

But, I do like the kinds of images the X100s seems to encourage me to make and it feels like a nice, responsive instrument in my hands.


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  • Andy Johnson - 12th April 2014

    Lovely photos and reflections! I too enjoy how small the adjustments are that I need to make for the images from my x100s to look great. It was a surprising change from what I had come to expect from my Canon SLRs.

  • Veronica - 31st July 2014

    Love the pictures that you took. They all convey something different; they are all unique. It’s amazing how you can journal things down through photography; years from now, you can look back at those pictures and remember that you were once there, what it felt like, what it meant to you.

    I never knew Kaurizawa had so much to offer. Beautiful place, lovely scenery. Perfect for a photographer. It seems like it was a very relaxing kind of trip.

    You have now inspired me to start using my own Canon. I don’t fully has a grasp on the potential of the camera yet, but I’ll get it.

  • Paula - 6th August 2014

    I struggle to get my camera to focus, probably because it is a run of the mill holiday maker’s point and shoot camera. I absolutely adore the images you captured and the colour of those berries on the last are just breath-takingly vibrant.

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In his Tokyo studio Fernando combines his life-long passions for art and technology. On the road, he is always looking to take the next wrong turn, just to see what kind of images and stories might unfold. A photographer & writer, with a background in music, Fernando has lived in Chile, Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. Read More.


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