Every December, the northeast city of Sendai, Japan, holds one of the biggest winter illuminations, named Sendai Pageant of Starlight. It featured more than 600,000 bright lights strung on top of Zelkova trees that line up Jozenji Street, the main thoroughfare right in the heart of the city.
While the light-up itself is a huge attraction for a lot of folks in the city or from far away, the event also holds a yearly photo contest, aiming to showcase the beauty of Sendai under the magnificent illumination. In 2018 I decided to enter the photo contest “architecture & bronze statues category“, simply because deep in my heart I have a fascination with architecture (I often wander around in streets taking shots of buildings).
To my surprise, I ended up winning the grand prize for that category. Without further ado, here’s the winning shot, titled 光の教会 (meaning ‘Church of Light’). The original winner announcement page is here.
Personally, I felt something magical when I saw this building. It stood out surrounded by the dazzling lights with its beautiful stained glass facade. Being a big fan of slow exposure I decided to crank down the shutter speed and waited for the right moment. Out in the cold, I recalled using a rather old manual lens from Takumar, the tanky 85-210mm, which is not a sharp lens at all yet it does have a certain character.
Other than the shot above I also submitted two other entries that did not end winning, but nevertheless, I like the results.