Photography has changed the way I see the world around me.

Through it I discover new things and rediscover old ones. Like my island, New Caledonia.

This blog is just me sharing my world through my photography.

Hope you enjoy.

Posts tagged split tone

Shirakawa, Japan

A small, traditional village situated in a valley along the Sho River. Shirakawa-go is best known for it’s gasshō houses but has so much more to offer. We spent about five hours here and it still wasn’t enough time to visit everything. So much to see.

We went to where all tourists and photographers go to capture an image of this beautiful village, the observatories. There are two, the Ogimachi Castle Observation Deck and the Tenshukaku Observatory. Though the latter you are not permitted to use a tripod. I got told off by the local photographer. I didn’t argue.

I took panoramas at both observatories. Both images are good but I chose to share this image because I prefer the view of the village from this point. It was taken from the Ogimachi Castle Observation Deck. I stitched the eight images in Lightroom which did a very good job. Well, as long as you do the necessary out in the field. Meaning, levelling your tripod and overlapping your exposures by, at least, a third of the image, LR will usually do a good job. I converted the panorama to black and white and used my split-tone preset than added grain to it. The reason being, I think it would look great printed on rough or corse paper, giving another dimension and adding to the mood of the image. Wanting to somewhat recreate that, I added grain. I like it. I like it a lot. And yes, I think this is one of my favourite images of Japan.

panorama from 8 images | 28 mm, 1/50th second @ ƒ/11, ISO 100


Kanazawa, Japan

Kanazawa is known for it’s Geisha teahouses so we thought we’d wander over to 1 Chome Higashiyama for a look. It was a 20 minute walk from the Kenroku-en garden, well actually, about 30 minutes. We got distracted at the Asanogawa Bridge when we saw a small alley with wooden houses. We ducked into it to satisfy our curiousity and found ourselves back along the Asano River. We continued walking upriver till we reached a little bridge and crossed over. Kazuemachi was the tiny suburb we had just walked through. Beautiful area along the river with wooden restaurants and houses looking alike. Apart from a couple of locals there was no-one around. It felt like a small village. We didn’t end up visiting the teahouses, deciding to head back to the hotel for a rest and shower before heading back out for dinner.

My edit for this image is slightly different to what I usually do when I use split-tones. I edited the photo in colour first and once finished, I dropped the vibrance to -100. The pale colours that are left are the most saturated colours of the images. This is when I added and tweaked my split-tone preset. Then I increased the general saturation slider to my liking. Just enough to add a bit of those over-saturated colours to the image. An interesting edit but I’m not sure if I like it or not. Not a process I’d use on a lot of images… Still not sure about the edit.

75 mm, 1/160th second @ ƒ/11, ISO 1600


Kanazawa, Japan

We only spent one day in Kanazawa and no, it’s not enough to see or do everything they have to offer here. We arrived around 11 am and headed straight for the hotel. Once unpacked, we went back to the Omicho Market, which we walked through to get to the hotel, for some lunch and a bit of a wander.

Kanazawa Castle was only a couple of blocks from the hotel so we headed there next. Wide, open grounds outside as we approached and the same goes for inside the compound. Unbeknown to us, we entered through the main gate called Kahoku-mon. The photo is taken looking back out from where we came in. I saw the huge, wood and metallic doors and frame and used them to, well, frame the Hishi Yagura. Which is a part of the Castle. From the gate to the grounds to the castle, the workmanship, the details, the beauty is amazing. And quite peaceful as you stroll through the grounds. This Castle is a must when visiting Kanazawa.

Once again I used my preferred split-tone preset, at the moment, for this image. Not a lot of colours in the middle of the day and black and white just wasn’t good enough for this photo. And I think it suits this kind of image well.

28 mm, 1/320th second @ ƒ/11, ISO 100


Kyoto, Japan

Our long day in Kyoto and beautiful night in Gion ended with this photo of Yasaka Shrine. Though it was late, around 10 pm, there were still a number of people going in to visit or worship. A stunning shrine located on a main road and surrounded by greenery. Behind this entrance is a huge park with many shrines, gardens and ponds. Magnificent.

I took two photographs of this shrine. This one and another with light trails in the foreground. The light trails weren’t criss-crossing the way I liked so I kept this one. I went with a desaturated look with one of my split-tone presets added on top of it. It’s the same preset I’ve used on a number of other photos from Japan. Now, I wasn’t sure about keeping the dead space in the foreground but without it, the mood of the image changes. It becomes cramped and busy. Not forgetting the aspect ratio changes to panoramic. Keeping it, I found, pulls the viewer back, showing a more tranquil scene. Less busy. Showing a few people instead of a small crowd. Makes all the difference.

We were going to catch a bus, just to the right of the image, back to the motel but when I saw a cab approaching, we jumped in that instead. Home in 10 minutes, fantastic. And the cabs are super clean and quite affordable. We hesitated taking them for the first two, three days of our trip, thinking they were expensive. Hearing they were expensive. Not the case at all. The only time we caught them though was to head home quickly at the end of a night. More sleep. Sleep is important hahaha! Goodnight.

28 mm, 1/30th second @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 3200


Kyoto, Japan

One of the reasons we wanted to visit the Gion District was in hopes of seeing a Geisha or Geiko as they prefer to be called in Kyoto and Maiko, apprentice Geiko. We were not disappointed as we saw a handful of them while strolling the alleyways. They are just stunning. Beautiful. And we both wished we had booked in advance a restaurant where they performed. Next time.

I’m not a portrait photographer but on very rare occasions I’ll tempt it. This evening didn’t start as one of those occasions but ended as one. We had seen a few Geiko and Maiko on our stroll and though Géraldine captured a couple of portraits, she wasn’t satisfied with the results. Not her fault though but largely due to seeing them too late and not being able to frame in time. Don’t get me wrong, we kept our eyes open but they seem to come out of nowhere. So I thought I’d try as well, hoping between the two of us, we’d come back with, at least, one satisfactory portrait. And we got lucky. Seeing these Maiko early enough to be able to snap half a dozen photos from full body to head shots. Unfortunately, only two are usable but two more than we had and are happy with.

So how did I get the shot? Preparation.

  1. I needed a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action and get a sharp photo. Because of their attire, Geiko do not walk very fast so I thought 1/250th of a second shutter speed would be fast enough.

  2. I wanted a shallow depth of field to blur the background. ƒ/2.8 is the widest my lens opens too so I used that.

  3. Have an ISO high enough to give me a proper exposure. In those little alleys nearing sunset it was 400.

All I had to do now was frame and shoot. But I forgot one thing, to put my camera in Continuous-Auto-Focus mode. I had left it in Single-Shot-Auto-Focus which isn’t ideal for subjects moving towards you. Hence, getting only 2, out of 6 or 7, shots in focus. A real shame because the close-up portraits were pretty good but unfortunately out of focus. A lesson learned for me but, I hope, a lesson for someone out there.

Now you’re most likely to see a Geiko and/or Maiko from an hour before and after sunset as they make their way to an appointment. They’re not on the streets for very long as their place of preparation and their appointments are not far from one another. Just keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready.

This post was updated on the 24/07/19. I previously said the main subject in this photo was a Geiko but is in fact a Maiko, an apprentice Geiko. A huge thanks to my friend, Géraldine, for correcting me on that. The lady in the light pink kimono to the right is a Geiko. Sorry for the mistake.

75 mm, 1/250th second @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 400


Himeji, Japan

Himeji Castle, also known as Hakuro-jo or Shirasagi-jo meaning White Egret Castle, is a prototypical architectural example of Japanese castles. It is magnificent ! Even from afar you can tell it is something spectacular.

Himeji was only a quick stop for us before heading to Kobe for the night. We didn’t want to visit the castle, just have a quick wander around the grounds and take a couple of photos. You need a half a day to visit the castle and it’s grounds. You can actually see Hakuro-jo as you approach Himeji Station and it’s only a ten minute walk from there. We couldn’t resist the stop-over.

Again here, I used one of my split-tone presets to give the ancient era feel to the image. Check out my last post for a quick rundown on my editing process for these types of images.

75 mm, 1/4000th second @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 100


Himeji, Japan

Leaving Miyajima, we headed to Hiroshima Station to catch a Shinkansen to Himeji to visit their famous castle. Surprisingly, you can see castle from the Himeji Station. From their you just follow the main street straight to the castle. Easy-peasy.

Along the way though, we saw these beautiful jinrikisha, literally meaning man-power-vehicle. Or rickshaw in English. Women pulling rickshaws are very rare, apparently, I haven’t seen any and the men I’ve seen were very fit and young. We saw jinrikisha here in Himeji and in Kyoto as well. Specifically around the bamboo forest. We didn’t try them out but saw Japanese in kimonos and tourists use them.

I edited this image with my favourite split-tone. The jinrikisha, the castle and the old stone and chain barrier lend itself to an old fashion photograph. Well, my take on it anyway. Editing these kinds of images I always set my white balance first before converting to black and white. Then I edit the monochrome image to my liking and finished off by adding my split-tone preset over it. Tweak it and that’s it.

53 mm, 1/200th second @ ƒ/11, ISO 100


Miyajima / Itsukushima Island, Japan

Leaving Miyajima was quite difficult. It’s such a beautiful island with so much to see, visit and experience. It’s also one of those places that transforms itself with the passing of each season. A place that makes you long to come back and discover it’s other facets. A word of advice, if Miyajima is on your bucket list, move it to the top of it. And stay a minimum of two nights, you won’t regret it.

Since the day we arrived I’ve wanted to photograph the Stone Torii of Itsukushima Shrine. It was the first stone torii I’ve ever seen and, to tell you the truth, didn’t know they existed. In stone, that is. We were slowly making our way to the ferry to leave the island, when I took this shot. Not the best composition, I admit, and I don’t know why I didn’t take the time to find a better one. From the get-go it was going to be a black and white image. Apart for the trees and sky, the lack of colours, a lot of stones and sand, I could only see this image in monochrome. Taking the shot at midday added contrast and a little interest to the image. Oh and before I forget, the lights next to the lion-dog weren’t on in the middle of the day, I added that in post. It attracts the eye just enough to make you notice the, otherwise, camouflaged lion-dog. This is a snapshot, nothing more. Glad I got something though.

28 mm, 1/3200th second @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 100


Hiroshima, Japan

Officially named Hiroshima Peace Memorial, this landmark is more commonly known as Genbaku Dome. Translated, it is what the rest of the world knows it by, Atomic Bomb Dome.

This photo has become one of my favourites from my Japan trip. I wanted a photo of the ruins with the Motoyasu River in the foreground and I thought I had it from the Aioi Bridge. Unfortunately, it was low tide which change the composition and mood of the photo. I did notice a small dock area and beginning of a path that lead underneath the bridge. Once down here I just loved the composition. I still wish I had a wider lens though, just to fit a bit more in. It looks a little cramp to me but nonetheless, one of my favourites. To me, black and white was the only way to go with this image. The sandstone lantern and wall, the carved rock and the Dome made me think of an era long gone. Once the black and white was done, I slapped on my split-tone preset, tweaked it and, oh man, looove it! I think I’ve captured a unique image too.

The Peace Memorial Park, which is build around and opposite the river of the landmark, is beautiful. There’s also the Memorial Hall for the victims, Memorial Museum, the Gates of Peace, not forgetting the flowers and sculptures. We didn’t get to see all of it but from what we saw, it’s well worth a visit. Well, it’s a must really.

28mm, 1/80th second @ ƒ/16, ISO 100


Hiroshima, Japan

Continuing from my last post, once we had finished lunch, we made our way to the Peace Memorial Park to see for ourselves the remains of the atomic blast of 6th August 1945. The Atomic Bomb Dome or officially the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.

We checked both Google and Apple maps for directions and they both us it would be a 25-30 minute walk. It took us 45 minutes. And we weren’t dragging our feet either. Go figure. We did get to see the city and especially liked the side streets with their small restaurants and boutiques, and beautiful old buildings.

When you think about the impact of an atomic bomb and the sheer destruction it can cause, you start to wonder how it is possible for this building to still be here, standing. I can understand why some would want it torn down but am glad to see it stand. A memorial of the bombing and a symbol of peace. To me, it’s also a reminder of how far mankind is willing to go to destroy each other. Very sad.

This photo was taken from the Motoyasu Bridge looking through it’s guard rail. At the time of taking the shot, there was no way of avoiding it, I wasn’t content having the modern building as a backdrop. Once home though I quite like it. Actually, now I’m a little pissed at myself for not having centred the dome with the Hiroshima Chamber Of Commerce building. Too late now. I went with a split-tone edit after I had edited another photo of the Dome beforehand. I liked it so much I applied it here.

40 mm, 1/640th second @ ƒ/5.6, ISO 100



Kyoto Tower is very visible from inside Higashi Honganji Temple. You may of seen my first post from Japan that shows a different perspective. I didn’t know this but Kyoto Tower is the world’s tallest non steel-frame construction. Interesting huh ?!

So one of the reasons I took this shot was because the side exit of the temple made me think of an underground tunnel leading to the tower. Wish it was true.

I went with black and white here, simply because of the high contrast and the coloured version was boring. Love the trees too. Oh and I also added a slight split-tone to the shadows to cool the image just a touch.

1/200th seconds @ ƒ/11, ISO 100, 60 mm



Though we arrived in Tokyo, we didn’t stay there on our first night. We headed straight to Kyoto. Yes I know, we could’ve landed in Osaka, which would’ve been a lot closer, but it’s a long story. We arrived in Kyoto mid-afternoon. Once we found our hotel, we just dumped our stuff and headed straight back out. The hotel was well situated. Only a ten (10) minute walk from Kyoto Station and Kyoto Tower, and only a five minute walk from this temple, the Higashi Honganji Temple.

I had to cross to the other side of the road to capture this photo. The gate entrance is gigantic and you can tell by the couple walking in the middle. Massive wood pillars accentuated with white paint (I think it’s paint) and beautiful tiles. A huge chandelier and other detailed decorations are covered in gold leaf. Stunning ! A huge courtyard as you walk in with two (2) halls on the other side. They are just as stunning and amazing with the amount of gold covered decorations, carvings, chandeliers (yes, plurial) and other things. Not to mention the near one thousand (1000) tatamis covering the floor just in the Founder’s Hall. Not allowed to photograph nor film in the halls, unfortunately. You’ll see more of the inside of this temple in the video I’ll post sometime in the future. Don’t rush me, I haven’t even checked nor organised the video clips yet hahaha ! It’s a must visit and best of all, the entrance is free.

Oyasuminasai for now.

1/160th second @ ƒ/11, ISO 400, 28 mm


I just love these kinds of little alley ways with restaurants, cafes, bars and outside seatings. I’m the kind of person who like to sip an espresso, watching people walk by. And on rare occasions, I like to write. Bank Place, Melbourne, Australia. There are many of these alleys in the city. At lunch time and after work they come to life with hundreds of people. They get so busy, it’s hard to get from one end to the other. Great places.

I went with my own version of sepia on this photo, only because of the old buildings and the stone pavement. Most of my street photos contain only one, maximum two, colours. There are always exceptions. It’s just my way of appreciate the scene more.




Once you cross the Southern Cross Station bridge it splits left and right (check out my last post). This is the other side of Bourke Street. It leads straight to Docklands (Melbourne, Australia). A beautiful area and a must visit. I couldn’t resist shooting this view straight down the street.

Again, I went with a cinematic look. I think it suits quite well certain street photos. That and black & white.

1/320 sec @ ƒ/8, 25 mm, ISO 800


I mentioned only last post that the photo was taken atop the stairs of the Bourke Street entrance to the Southern Cross train station. Well turn 180º and you get this view. A walk bridge with a small shopping mall on the right side and entrances to the station on the left. The bridge passes over the rails that cut Bourke Street in two. You have a great view of the railway tracks and the station from the bridge.

Because of the lack of colours in the photo, I went with black & white and added the slightest of blueish split-tone to it. The photo is cooler and darker with a slight silver tone. I really like this effect. It doesn’t work on all black & white photos though.

1/80 sec @ ƒ/5.6, 55 mm, ISO 800


In this photo you can see in the background, the buildings from my last post. From a different angle though. This is Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont (Sydney, Australia). There are a few restaurants and cafes with other businesses located in those warehouses. The old warehouses is what grabbed my attention with the modern yachts around it. If you’ve read my last post, you might have guessed this photo was also taken from the top deck of the P&O Pacific Pearl cruise Ship.

 I tried to get the shot centred but I missed it by that much. A simple, hand held exposure (except for the timing of the shot, apparently). The photo is nothing to brag about but I like the subject and it’s not every day you see things from this perspective.

Again, if you would like to see more photos of the cruise, just pop over to my Instagram @christopheroberthervouet or to which will direct you there as well.

1/200 @ ƒ/8, 38 mm, ISO 200


Wanting to continue on the Australian theme, I found this photo I took back in 2014. It’s taken from the P&O Pacific Pearl cruise ship as we were heading into White Bay (Sydney, Australia). Shot from the top deck, the perspective is very different than on ground level. I found these buildings quite interesting with the contrast between the foreground and background buildings, their architectures and the grid effect they have.

The photo was taken around 90 mm but I cropped further in to isolate this area and fill the frame a little more. Converting to black and white pronounced the grid effect of the buildings, which I like a lot. But here again, I added a cool split tone colour just to the shadows. I find it gives a cooler black and white image and renders it a little on the silver side. I love it.

The cruise was fantastic and if you’d like to see more photos from it, just head over to my Instagram profile @christopheroberthervouet or to which will get you there just the same.

1/320 sec @ ƒ/8, 92 mm, ISO 200


On my last post I mentioned I was at Yarra Bay Beach (Sydney, Australia) and that I had moved spot just after sunset because of, well, swimmers. As I mentioned, I moved about thirty metres to my right where there were hundreds of these boulders and cement blocks piled together to make a breakwater. I thought the contrast of these rocks with the dead white shells on them made for a good foreground. Then either the water or the breakwater could be used to lead the viewer to Port Botany in the background.

It was still windy and the water was choppy so I went for a long exposure to smooth out the bay. I did capture it during blue hour and edited for that but I wasn’t really satisfied with the image. So I made a copy and edited it in black and white. Now I was getting an image I really liked. Actually, the photo isn’t purely black and white. I added a dark blue split tone in the shadows. Just a touch to give it a silver effect. I have to say I discovered that by accident. I remembered reading somewhere that split tones are great when used on black and white images. So I tried. Now I like to adjust my split tones individually. I would find the colour and saturation of the highlights first, note the numbers and reset it. And once I’ve got the shadows sorted out, I would add the highlights back and play around with the balance slider to my liking. But I liked so much the effects of the shadow’s split tone, I didn’t even bother adding the highlights back in.

It goes to show, you should always try something new. I learned something from it.

1.6 sec @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100