This image happened almost by accident. I went to the famous bamboo grove at Arashiyama to see the peaceful avenues of bamboo and to photograph them – only to find they were jam-packed with people. Not a few people, hundreds and hundreds of people. And they kept coming all day long. Even a long exposure image didn’t erase all the people from the scene.
While waiting under the mistaken impression that eventually the crowds would clear, I wandered down the main walkway and started shooting up with my infrared-converted camera. I had this idea that the bamboos – such a beautiful soft green – would look lovely and ethereal in infrared. I had tried this before on some of the bamboos down other walkways, but down this walkway I spotted a twisting, skeletal tree within the bamboos. When I took this picture, I knew it was the one. I simply shot it handheld because I wasn’t expecting anything from my little walk – it was just something to do while waiting for the crowds to clear. Immediately I grabbed my tripod. I composed a few images on the tripod but, in fact, I didn’t like any of them as much as this one that I had shot handheld.
I found post-processing this image really easy. I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like – I wanted that twisting tree to be almost completely black and to be framed by the ethereal whites of the bamboos produced by my infrared camera (my camera is converted at 830nm, so it only produces black and white images). Post-processing was just a matter for darkening the dark tones and brightening the bright tones and that was it.