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Photographer Uses The "Light Of Japan" To Capture Radiant Long Exposures

Takehito Miyatake, winner of the 2014 Nikkei National Geographic Photo Grand Prize, says his photos are inspired by Waka poetry and natural disasters.

Images by Takehito Miyatake via

When we hear "Japan" and "lights" used in the same sentence, it's hard not to immediately imagine Tokyo and it's endless array of blinding, tech-enhanced billboards, neon signs, and excess of, well, electricity. The stunning long-exposure images by photographer Takehito Miyatake, however, focus on natural light sources to illuminate the country's boundless nature and lush greenery outside its mega-metropolises.


In a recent interview with TIME, the 48-year-old artist and winner of the 2014 Nikkei National Geographic Photo Grand Prize explained that his exposures of fireflies, moon-lit rivers, and ebullient juxtapositions of lightning strikes and volcanic eruptions are inspired by both Waka poetry and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that traumatized the country.

Though they sound like disparate influences, Miyatake explained, "Waka is a poem to express the scope of nature [by] using limited words… I believe Waka is very similar to nature photography. Waka poems describe not only fireflies but a broader sense of the environment, space and even beyond current existence to the world where past friends stay."

Get lost in the photographer's gorgeous body of work. Natural light has never looked so electric:

For more of Miyatake's work, visit his website here.

h/t TIME, Spoon + Tamago


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