Teeming Throngs Enjoying the Colors at Kyoto’s Eikando Temple
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Standing for a Portrait the simplicity, the colors... this is one of my favorite shots of the day -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Standing for a Portrait
the simplicity, the colors... this is one of my favorite shots of the day

In my previous posts about this weekend's visit to the gardens of the Eikando Temple in eastern Kyoto (“Holy Cow, the Gardens at Kyoto's Eikando Temple are Gorgeous!” and “More From Yesterday's Trip to the Eikando Temple”) I purposefully chose photos devoid of (or mostly devoid of) people, but in fact it was quite crowded.

I detest crowds. I grew up in rural Ohio, and am definitely not a city person. The crowds leading to the Eikando Temple were oppressive, made worse by the fact that it's right next to the Nanzen Temple, itself noted for its fall colors (as illustrated here, here, here, and here). Oppressive. The streets were positively packed with people, much to the chagrin of the taxis, cars, and huge tour buses trying to ply the same routes, not to mention each other.

But sometimes the ambiance of the situation turns the same potentially-oppressive crowds into a plus, into something that adds to the enjoyment of the moment, such as described in my “Cherry-Blossom Joie de Vivre in Kyoto” post from Spring 2008.

At the Eikando Temple this weekend, the same crowds that outside the temple were oppressive, inside were calm, lending a feeling of collective appreciation of the beauty. It was almost surreal.

Throngs on High that's part of the Eikando Temple complex, but I never made it that far -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/1000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Throngs on High
that's part of the Eikando Temple complex, but I never made it that far
Counterbalance -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/400 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Counterbalance
Generic Path prior to the rain -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/500 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Generic Path
prior to the rain

I would normally look at the picture above and think “Ugh, pretty or not, the crowds are not worth it”, but in reality is was remarkably pleasant. You could stand in any one spot for an hour and still not explore all the photogenic possibilities the gardens presented. The garden layout was such that – and the beauty so plentiful – you could simply ignore the people and not want for something wonderful to fill your lens.

But if you were open to it, the people themselves became part of the beauty, offering all the more photographic opportunities. Most of the photos on this post are just to share the vibe, but some (like the first) are wonderful in their own right, I think.

Vantage -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Vantage
Paul Barr the guy with the big Nikon D3 + Nikkor 70 -200mm f/2.8 VR -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Paul Barr
the guy with the big Nikon D3 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR

I met Paul through my blog. He's an American photo geek who visits Kyoto every year (he made a brief appearance in this post last year), and since he's in town now, he joined me in visiting the temple.

Sharing -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Sharing
“Target Rich Environment” -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
“Target Rich Environment”
Checking the Map -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Checking the Map
Shoes everyone in the background is either taking shoes off, or has just put them back on -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 45 mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Shoes
everyone in the background is either taking shoes off, or has just put them back on
Class Simple. Unpretentious. Classic. -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Class
Simple. Unpretentious. Classic.
Flower -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Flower
Carpet of Yellow an area of the garden filled with a layer of Ginkgo leaves -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Carpet of Yellow
an area of the garden filled with a layer of Ginkgo leaves

Ginkgo leaves are of a simple shape, and turn a simple, solid yellow (like this), and relatively small ginkgo trees line a lot of streets in Kyoto (and are neutered every year so that, I assume, the city can avoid the mess of the leaves). I'm not a big fan of ginkgos and their leaves, but a large tree can make a very pretty carpet.

I've still got most of the photos from this weekend's family bike outing to post, including some of a huge ginkgo tree on the grounds of the old imperial palace that was almost glowing it was so brilliant. Must. Find. Time. To. Post. More.

Dubious stabilization technique -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Dubious
stabilization technique
Full -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Full
Empty ( relatively speaking ) -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Empty
( relatively speaking )
Dolled Up I had no interest in photographing these “less classy” dolled up girls, but got the shot of someone who did -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Dolled Up
I had no interest in photographing these “less classy” dolled up girls, but got the shot of someone who did
Stream -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Stream
Descent -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Descent
Going with the Flow -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Going with the Flow
Mini Conference -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Mini Conference

I wanted to stay for hours more, but was running late as it was, so had to leave.

Before heading our separate ways, Paul and I each bought a hot sweet potato from a vendor a 100m or so from the temple entrance. They're sold out of a little truck with a big steamer mounted in the back, similar to how one can get hot chestnuts on the streets of Paris...

Hot Potato -- Eikando Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Zeiss 100mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Hot Potato

The water running down the mini canal is water that has found its way from Lake Biwa, traveling 20km through the Lake Biwa Canal that first brought drinking water and power-generation capabilities to Kyoto in the 1880s. Where the main canal dumps into the water-treatment area upon its arrival in Kyoto, a tiny finger splits off and slowly winds its way around a curve of the mountain to the south edge of the Nanzen Temple where it crosses a grand brick aqueduct. I'm surprised to find that I've posted no photos of it on my blog; the best I have is this shot under the aqueduct from a few years ago.

The finger of water then wraps around the Nanzen temple, bisects the Nanzen and Eikando temples, and runs down past where you see in this photo, eventually emptying into where the main canal picks up again after the 20m drop that fed the first power-generation plant in Japan 130 years ago.

It must have been a lot of work to create this little mini canal that takes a side trip around the Nanzen temple, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it was for.


All 6 comments so far, oldest first...

Hi Jeffrey, your last posts are amazing!

I’ve got two questions:
1) Is this (mid-end of November) the best period for the turning-leaves in Kyoto?
2) How would you rate the Zeiss 100mm vs the Nikon 105mm VR (if you had the chance to try one)?
Thanks in advance!
Gianluca

Mid-end November seems pretty good, though I’ve heard that the northern mountains have past their peak. Have never tried the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro. It has many advantages over the Zeiss (auto-focus, VR) but the Zeiss has half a stop advantage, and a very long focus throw that makes manual-focus work a true pleasure. And the Zeiss results…. wow, I was won over during the short time I was borrowing one this month. When the next generation Zeiss 100mm f/2 come out (announced last week), I will likely get one. —Jeffrey

— comment by Gianluca on November 25th, 2009 at 8:43pm JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

Your “Hot Potato vendor” picture brought back fond memories.
Back when I lived in Taiwan, we had vendors that ride around in a trike (this is over 30 years ago), with a big clay urn in the back, it has charcoal at the bottom of the urn, and sweet potatos are hooked with a heavy gauge wire (maybe recycled cloth hanger?), and hung from the top for baking. When served, the vendor just grab the wire hook and wrap the sweet potato in newspaper, instant goodness.

— comment by David Wong on November 26th, 2009 at 2:56am JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

The side canal may have been how water was diverted when the hydro electric power plant needed to be dry for maintenance.

Hmm, good thought, but it’s 100x smaller than the main canal, so unlikely had enough capacity for that. —Jeffrey

— comment by Tom on November 26th, 2009 at 5:17am JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

f/2 & f/2.8 have 1-stop difference. Series is (“index” & “gap” are my own words) …

  f/stop = ( 2^( 1/2 * gap ) )^index
     where, index = 0, 1, 2, 3, ... n  # something to drive the formula
            gap   = 1/3, 1/2, 1           # e.g. use 1/3 for 1/3-stop intervals

Oops, silly me, not sure what I was thinking, thanks. —Jeffrey

— comment by parv on November 26th, 2009 at 12:53pm JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the reply!
Yes, 1 stop advantage is a lot, especially for the thin DOF (probably too thin… ;-)).
And probably the Zeiss is going to be sharper too….
But the VR is something would for sure miss. Still don’t know…

— comment by Gianluca on November 26th, 2009 at 7:25pm JST (8 years ago) comment permalink

Warm (8 degrees C) here in Southern Ontario at 21:21 EST this November 26, 2009. Do you as a former resident of the United States celebrate Thanksgiving in Japan?
The people wearing masks is so reminiscent of places in China due to smog and smoke although suspect it is more of an Oriental tradition than anywhere. Then too the H1N1 flu virus is still in vogue, people are I suspect simply being cautious.
The small stream , enclosed with a stone-lined water course is beautiful. It lends beauty to the area; I would assume the water is not potable, rather acting as a diversionary channel, and to perhaps beauty to an area. The stream is somewhat shallow, doubt if it would fill to the top, then again no critters are seen either swimming or actually in the water.
The small truck parked to one side is interesting. A small number of them, Suzuki I believe have appeared here in Ontario at one or two used truck dealerships. They are very small, smaller than the Smart Car imported through
Daimler Benz dealers here. The Smart car does seem to handle the snow and slush on the roads quite well, these small trucks which sell for about CAN$5000.00 used have either a three cylinder diesel or petrol engine, under the hood. Quite small, I could never fit, but then I can not get into a Smart car either. You’re tall, however I am four inches short of seven feet tall and a big framed person…my vehicle is a ten year old Honda Civic saloon, there is room, yes.

And the colours of the leaves are wonderful, the foliage is almost all on the ground, here, no snow yet unlike this time last year when we already had two feet of snow on the ground.

Cheers

— comment by Bryce lee on November 27th, 2009 at 11:36am JST (8 years ago) comment permalink
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