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Soma Nomaoi, Shinki-Sodatsusen

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

If the kacchu-keiba (horse race) is analogous to the race into battle, then the shinki-sodatsusen is the battle itself. Here the riders test the skill, bravery and luck.

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

The battle is made up of several skirmishes.  Each skirmish begins with a couple of fireworks blasted up into the sky. Each fireworks carry a banner which, after the explosion at altitude, come wafting back to earth. Any samurai who catches a banner, receives fame, glory and probably a few bit of yen.

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

On a technical note these images were shot with the 645Z and the smc FA 645 300mm F4 ED (IF) which is equivalent of a 240mm on a FF35mm camera. I used a monopod to give some extra stability and it gave excellent results. The speed of the autofocus was slow, but it the overall sharpness was great.

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

Soma Nomaoi Samurai Horseman Festival, Fukushima, Japan

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