Snow covered pine in the forest at the top of the ropeway... feels like home!

Our second day took us to the Shinhotaka Ropeway where we were treated to some spectacular views of the Northern Alps and a fantastic ropeway (tram) ride that took us to 2,200 meters. The mountains were already covered with a thick layer of snow and the frigid air was absolutely wonderful after the extra-long summer and warm fall we had experienced. We were able to wander around a bit through the woods at the top of the ropeway and that felt more like home in Colorado than anywhere I’ve been in a long time.

On the drive back to our ryokan, we stopped by a waterfall that was just off the highway and stumbled into a lovely winter scene of flowing water, snow and ice. We spent nearly an hour there in the freezing cold shooting the waterfall and the stream that flowed from it. To really put the icing on the cake, we were the only people there and it was incredibly peaceful.

I was really happy at this point that I had brought my heavy tripod with me on this excursion! The waterfall and creek photos all range from six to thirty seconds depending on the ambient lighting and the best aperture I could use. I was set at ISO 50-100 for the whole shoot and I used the smallest aperture I could to achieve maximum depth of field and minimizing diffraction (the tendency for images to get soft with an aperture that is very small). I did my very best to adjust the exposure so that I could streak the water while still maintaining detail throughout the highlights.

Panoramic image from the top of the ropeway composed of 31 different photos.

I have strung together a couple of panoramic photos from the top of the tram and using Photoshop CS5’s panoramic stitch for the grunt work, they have turned out absolutely stunning. The largest of them is nearly five feet wide at 300dpi and is composed of 31 different images…. huge.