Photoessay: Autumn again

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Autumn in Japan these days seems to come later and later – the end of November or early December, in some areas further south. It probably ranks second only to the cherry blossoms as the season for landscapists to chase; I can’t say I did that but I did time the visit to coincide with some color in at least one of the locations we visited. It’s perhaps also my favourite season of the year as it’s the one I see the least of, living in the tropics – we get summer and an approximation of winter (monsoons) and spring isn’t that different, but the leaves never turn, the landscape doesn’t become warm, and the city isn’t redolent of reminiscence of the year that’s just passed. I’m sure I’d probably get bored of it if I lived at higher latitudes, but for now, please enjoy a (even) more abstract set than my usual landscapes. MT

This series was shot in various parts of Japan in the last year, with a Nikon D850 and 24-120 VR, and post processed with Photoshop Workflow III.

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Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. Michael Hanson says:

    I think the second image is the best, so simple yet so well-balanced. I find that fall foliage is one of the most deceptively challenging things to shoot. It looks splendid in person, but it always seems to lose something in a frame, especially since there are so many fall photos out there.

    • Thanks – perhaps the impression of density and plentifulness of the leaves goes once the scene is isolated from the surrounding context…

  2. Very nice images as usual. In Calgary, Alberta, we got a 20cm snow dump the first week of October.

    • Thanks – actually shooting a city in the snow has been on my bucket list too…problem is it isn’t so easy to coordinate logistically if you don’t live there.

  3. Thanks Ming, As ever a wonderful set of images, the 2nd, 6th and 8th, particularly resonating. Unfortunately, since seeing them I’ve also been unable to shake this from my mind: but maybe now I’ve shared, I’ll be free. 😉

  4. Next year Ming, take a trip to Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Considered by many to be the best in the world……….

    • On the list for a while, sadly no time and the US isn’t exactly visitor friendly for my kind of passport…

      • “… the US isn’t exactly visitor friendly for my kind of passport…”
        Good point!

        • There was a point where it wasn’t as bad, but even with a 10 year visa and several years left to run, things seem to be regressing…

          • There is another factor which I find distressing: the economic uncertainty and the increasingly divided society that is now reflected in the attitude of American on the street. On the other hand I see a generally “happy” and “upbeat” public in Malaysia and Thailand; though the person on the Singapore street does appear a little stressed by taxation and work, and perhaps by all the glitz that is so visible at Marina Bay Sands shops etc but not accessible (for financial reasons of course) by her/him

            Just my tuppence worth

            • The great economic inequality is everywhere; in some ways it’s worse in developing countries because the rich grew very rich very fast in the absence of regulation (or developing regulation, or shaping those regulations to suit themselves) without the moderating factor of time. Singaporeans are perpetually unhappy because they always seem to find something to complain about – the reality is they have the highest medians and best services amongst any nation because the national culture has been ingrained that ‘they must not lose’ (thee is even a local idiom for this). Malaysia and Thailand have massive income disparity, very little influence over anything at the mass population level, and much more of a sense of fatalism – hell, we are supposedly a democracy but only had our first change in ruling party since independence earlier this year!

  5. My wife and I love this series of images. The colors are awesome.

  6. David Cohron says:

    Beautiful images Ming!

  7. This is in Japan, you said? Curious that autumn comes so late there. Apparently Tokyo is almost the exact same latitude as where I am (Tennessee, USA) – both around 36 degrees North. But by the end of November we are well into dead leaves and winter. Wonder why that is?

    Just thought that was interesting. Beautiful pictures as always!

    • Yes, Japan. My theory: something to do with wind temperatures and humidity affecting different species differently?

      • That could very well be it. I know most of it has to (obviously) do with the length of days, but this isn’t altogether the only factor, because temperature/other weather conditions clearly play a role as well (at least here in the USA).

        Just curious how much of a difference there is – easily a full month between Japan and here!

        • Seems to be getting later and later, too – there are recent years where you’re still seeing decent color further south in Kyoto in mid December (theoretically, winter). Or perhaps the slight differences between the Gregorian calendar and actual solar time are compounding to the point we need an adjustment…

    • Peter Boender says:

      Although it’s certainly a factor, latitude isn’t the only thing that determines the weather. It’s mainly because of the particular climate of the location (and yes, there can be yearly variations). Tennessee has a land climate, while Tokyo has a sea climate. Sea climates tend to be “softer, more mellow”, while land climates are generally a bit more “distinct and extreme”. The predominating ocean current flowing along the east coast of Japan is a big influence as well. Other examples of cities on the same latitude: New York, NY and Madrid, Spain. Definitely not the same weather type. Also compare cities on the North American east shores with cities on the European west shores, even those on the same latitude. They’re all on the Atlantic ocean, but the European side has a much warmer sea climate than the comparable cities in North America, simply because of the warm gulfstream on the east side of the North Atlantic, whereas Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Massachusetts, Long Island and the like are hit by a cold gulfstream arriving from the polar regions.

  8. 35:Chronicle says:

    What a beautiful collection. 🙏

  9. Peter Boender says:

    Seeing these brings back cherished memories Ming. Also shining through is your sentiment for this place at this time of year. I know it’s close to your heart. Many thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Peter! Yes, somehow there’s something special about Japan in autumn…I suppose this is equally true for other places with big seasonal changes in foliage, but the atmosphere here is hard to beat…

  10. Fine photographs Ming; Nikon D850 and zoom lens displays great capability in the shot of falling leaves

  11. Wow!

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