TOP 10: Night Photographs of Matsumoto Castle

Throughout the day I snapped a few photos of the castle and freely wondered the charming grounds. Through my observations I noted there were several strategically placed inactive floodlights and of course, a huge moat. In my mind this only meant one thing – potential for incredible reflections.

Returning under moonlight, the gamble paid off and below are my top 10 favourite photographs from the night shoot:

10. The Oreo Castle.

Out of all angles, it’s this one which resembles Mondelez’s flagship product. I love the elements in this shot, from the bridge to the trees and subtle moat. This was essentially a recreation of one of my favourite day shots. Which you can compare here: Day shot

Matsumoto castle

9. A Coy Castle.

I like the large colours and lighting in this shot. One could say the name of the featured fish reflects the nature of the castle in this frame. Or another might say – what a load of bull!



This is a photograph of the base of the castle with accompanied reflection. Through a few rotations and ‘croppings’ I’ve created this illusory effect, which if you stare at it long enough – you may (like me) start to see faces. 



7. Mythical.

I hold my hands up and say I have no idea how this photo turned out this way. Maybe there was a lapse in the floodlights, maybe the lens is dirty, maybe both. But either way it’s one of those photos where you check back through the gallery and it’s a definite anomaly. The scattered bokeh type effect gives the impression that it’s snowing or raining, making the shot cold and distant. Yet it remains classical and almost fictional. These qualities as well as the fact that I have no other shot like this make it one of my favourites. 



6. Seb’s Cinema Silhouette.

There’s a level of deepness to this shot. It’s almost surreal, like she’s standing in front of a movie screen. I like the fact the only bit of light on the water reveals a breaching fish giving indication as to what lies beneath the still surface.



5. Koi Castle.

This portrait frame simply encapsulates everything you will see when you come to view the castle at night. I also like the fact it’s the backside of the building which I’ve found is rare to see in photographs.



4. Money Shot.

One for the printers! The castle fills the frame perfectly, the reflection is strong, the focus is correct and the detail is apparent. Gorgeous.



3. The Art of Reflection.

Taking the reflection alone, you could be mistaken if you thought someone had hand painted this shot!



2. Magical.

The monochrome approach adds a certain level of poignancy to this photograph. I love the mirage type effect in the reflection. From the left the little floating bits in the water become sprinkled white dust. The strength of character from the actual castle allows you to appreciate the full length of the frame. All of these elements combine to make this photograph magical.



1. Perfect.

I could have chosen one of my more quirky or artistic photographs for numero uno, however the work that went into this shot and the resulting end product make this quite simply – the best. I remember taking this photograph with a very specific landscape vision in mind. To bring it to life I balanced on the back support of a nearby bench to generate the height needed to encompass the full reflection of the castle as well as the distant floodlight.

Pushing the boundaries of both my balance and the capabilities of the kit lens, I managed to position the floodlight near the vertical middle of the frame to showcase it’s illuminating butterfly effect on the Castle which in turn summons the equal reflection. However probably my favourite thing about this whole photograph is the fact that the sharp peak of the castle is precisely in the horizontal middle of the sky – somewhat daring to burst the frame. The limits are being pushed and this is a photograph which I hope inspires others to not only visit Japan, but specially Matsumoto…


Thanks for reading! If you want to see what this location looks like in the day then check it out here: 

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