Bill Martens Photography

Otome Falls, Tochigi-ken, Japan

Posted by admin on 5th June 2008

This is a lovely and easy to get to waterfall which provides a view rarely achieved.  One can easily feel the power of the river when they are below this falls, which although small, has a thunderous roar that makes your heart pump at about twice its normal rate.  The view is worth it though.

Otome Falls 1   Otome Falls 2   Otome Falls 3

Posted in Japan, Nature, Nikko, Tochigi-ken, Waterfalls | Comments Off on Otome Falls, Tochigi-ken, Japan

Special Alignment at Sunrise

Posted by admin on 21st May 2008

Here is a series that I shot one morning last month at about 5:00 am.  The crescent moon, Venus and Saturn are all aligned around the point of the high rise tower  center frame.  This was a lucky break as I just happened to look outside at the sun rise that particular morning for the first time in about a week or so.

The Sun Rising around the buildings   Closeup of the point of the tower   The Alignment

Posted in Japan, Moon, Planetary Alignment, Planets, Saitama-ken, Saturn, Sunrise, Tokorozawa, Venus | Comments Off on Special Alignment at Sunrise

Ryujin Dam, Ibaragi-ken, Japan

Posted by admin on 16th May 2008

The Ryujin Damn is a neat perspective of the damn itself and the Ryujin Ohashi 100 meters above.   With a good view of the valley below and the gorge above, the Damn is a great alternative to the walking across the bridge.  With a view deck that is perfect 100 meters down from the damn, you can get some great photos and views of both the bridge and the damn.

We caught this view at sunset which made for some beautiful pictures.  The other advantage of this time of day was that there were few people there meaning that we could shoot from anywhere and no one was blocking the way.  This was in severe contrast to the bridge above.

There is a restaurant here with a view of the falls and parking for about 50 vehicles.  The parking fees are free.

Ryujin Ohashi and Koinobori Above   Ryujin Ohashi and Koinobori Above at Sunset    Ryujin Dam

Signpost 1 at Ryujin Damn   Signpost 2 at Ryujin Damn   Signpost 3 at Ryujin Dam

A View of the Ryujin Resevoir   The Spillway at Ryujin Dam   The view below the Ryujin Dam

Posted in Bridges, Dams, Ibaragi-ken, Japan | Comments Off on Ryujin Dam, Ibaragi-ken, Japan

Ryujin Ohashi, Ibaragi-ken, Japan

Posted by admin on 13th May 2008

In the world of pointless items, this is one of the most pointless I have ever seen.  But the Ruujin Ohashi or Big Dragon Bridge is a work of man that must be seen to be believed.

Built above the Ryujin Dam, The bridge is large suspension bridge which was built  at a cost of 1.2 Billion USD and essentially is the ultimate bridge to nowhere.  While the view from the bridge is quite majestic, the 375 meter long bridge is not for those with a weak stomach or anyone who is affected by motion sickness.

The best time for viewing of the bridge is at the end of April to early may, or “Golden Week” in Japan, when 1000 streaming carp shaped wind socks can be seen flying over the gorge.

Be prepared to wait in line for parking and if you don’t make it all the way to the top parking area, you will find that the hike up is a good bit of exercise.

With a 300 yen entry fee, the bridge is paying for itself with all of the travelers who want to feel the thrill of being on a bridge so high in the air. (it is actually only 100 meters down to the water level from the bridge.)  Parking fees are also generally 500 yen for the bridge parking any where down the hill.
Water reflecting off river under the bridge   Looking across the bridge   The Dragon Mural

Ryujin Ohashi from Below  Koinobori flying in the wind

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Hitachi Lighthouse

Posted by admin on 5th May 2008

The Hitachi lighthouse is a beautiful work of man and is quite elegant.  It’s tiled siding is quite unusual and allows the sunlight to reflect beautifully off of it.

Surrounded by a lovely play park for the kids, Hitachi lighthouse is a nice place to take the family for a picnic or just to spend the day lazily lying on the grass.   A statue in the park is dedicated to a great Japanese fisherman who modernized Japanese methodologies of fishing and  is at the point of the park in front of the lighthouse.

Parking is limited and generally only enough space for about 20 cars  is available but most people park on the road by the park.

Hitachi Lighthouse Signpost   Hitachi Lighthouse   The fisherman’s statue

Posted in Ibaragi-ken, Japan, Light Houses | Comments Off on Hitachi Lighthouse

A Sunset to Remember

Posted by admin on 3rd May 2008

Title : A Sunset to Remember

Location:Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

As we were driving towards Nasu-Shiobara, we came across this series of rice paddies that just happened to reflect the setting sun perfectly.  Obviously we had to stop and shoot a picture or two and this is the result:

Sunset in Tochigi Pref      Another view of the sunset.

Posted in Japan, Sunsets, Tochigi-ken | Comments Off on A Sunset to Remember

Tamadare Falls

Posted by admin on 3rd May 2008

Title: Tamadare Falls

Location: Nakasato, Ibaragi-ken, Japan (中里、茨城県)

Signpost at Tamadare Falls   A map of the hiking trail around the falls

  The falls through the trees   A view of the whole falls

On the road through Naka Sato, you can find many signs pointing to the Tamadare Falls.  But once you get to the road to the falls, you will find that it is a small country road winding and narrow.  However, the smell of country smoke from burning wood and leave piles draws you onward in your quest.

Tamadare means beaded falling of water in Japanese or the falling balls. The falls itself is at a juncture in the road with a rail but there is no real place to stop other than in people’s drive ways..    In the shaded light, the image of the falls is first class.  It is well worth the look see.

But if you think that you would get a better photo, think again.  The Shrine or Jinja at Tamadare falls is privately owned and they don’t allow people to walk through to the falls to take photos.  Lots of hand written signs are all over the shrine stating such items as no trespassing, no photography and generally no public access, severely detracting from the initial beauty of the falls.

No parking is available and it is advisable to be careful walking around as cars seem to whiz by at a moments notice.

Posted in Ibaragi-ken, Japan, Waterfalls | Comments Off on Tamadare Falls

White Wonder

Posted by admin on 24th February 2001

These are from February 2001.  All of the pictures were taken near my home in Tokorozawa Japan. (You didn’t want to go too far on these particular days because of the icy conditions)  One item that I thought was a bit interesting is how the street lamps in the one photo look like the Nutcracker soldiers.

A view of the side walk and the street lights in the snow    A snowy side road in the local town

The local shrine in the snow   The building square in the snow

Posted in Japan, Saitama-ken, Snow, Tokorozawa | Comments Off on White Wonder