D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm (cropped a bit) — 1/160 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image data — nearby photos
Behind Nishimura Stone Lanterns, Kyoto Japan
As I mentioned yesterday, the visit to the workshop and gardens of Nishimura Stone Lanterns (a fifth-generation hand stone-carving business) and their back garden was an amazing, overwhelming, mentally draining experience.
I haven't even given my photos a first-pass inspection, but soon after taking the photo above I knew it was emblematic of our time there, and knew that I would post it early.
Here's a photo by Paul Barr of me taking it...
Nikon D3 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62 mm — 1/100 sec, f/4, ISO 1600 — map & image data — nearby photos
Photo by Paul Barr
As you can see in Paul's shot, the leaves are resting on a fairly simple square column, with a few adornments at the top, ending with a nice round ball. It looks like various pieces are stacked, but it's a single, solid piece of stone. It's one of the most simple items there.
Leaves were lying everywhere, but I felt drawn to how these three particular leaves found themselves on top of the column, so I endeavored to capture the scene, and the sense of calmness I felt they exuded.
The problem was that so very many opportunities immediately presented themselves that I felt overwhelmed. Unworthy. Inadequate.
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm — 1/160 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image data — nearby photos
I'm disappointed in that last shot because, well, it's boring, but I put a lot of work into getting it, so I'll share it here.
I'm not sure what I was hoping for, but I thought it might be a bit more dramatic, but as it was, the height of the pillar is completely lost and so the leaves lack context despite the fact that you can see all around them. Boring.
The problem I had in getting this shot in the first place was in keeping my feet out of frame. I'm tall and so have long arms for holding the camera away while pointing down, but apparently not long enough for when a 14mm lens is used with a full-frame camera. I couldn't stand far enough back to keep my legs out of frame.
So, I had Paul stand up-slope from me and adopt a sturdy stance as I took his hand in one of my own, then with his support I was able to lean waaaaaaay out and over the leaves with the camera in the other, then got the shot. If anyone saw us, I'm sure they thought we were nuts.
Anyway, I could have easily spent a good hour there with the camera just in exploring those three leaves. In the background of some of these shots you can certainly see that there are plenty of other stone columns, lanterns, basins, etc., and in wide sweeping views they're just that, “a bunch of stone things”. But as you walk around, you can see that each one is unique, captivating, and worthy of its own hour.... or two.
And there were hundreds.
It was truly overwhelming. It was exhausting as my mind raced among awe and wonderment at what must have gone into making each one, musings about how old each might be (the oldest item, we were told, predated the family, dated back 800 years), speculation as to what some of the less familiar shapes might be for, and always, consciously and unconsciously, running through photographic calculations.... compositions, depth of field, lighting, color.
It was “awesome” in both the younger generation's “really amazing” sense, and in the original “struck one with a deep feeling of awe” sense.
If I were a good photographer, I could produce a photo-filled post about this site every day for a year, and have it be interesting every time. I suspect that a very good photographer could do that using photos from just one season, but with the changing seasons (and even changing light during the course of a day) I'm sure many new opportunities are continually presenting themselves. I have never visited a place with such unbound potential.
It's a 15-minute drive from my place, so to tap that potential, I need only to become a good photographer.