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.