A Bit of Drama on Mt. Daimonji
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Comin' Right At Ya' -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Comin' Right At Ya'

I was shocked today when out of the blue Anthony said that he wanted to climb Mt. Daimonji, a rather short bump of a mountain on the east side of Kyoto noted for the big “大” on its side, visible from most everywhere in Kyoto, and coincidentally appearing on my blog just the other day (but described in more detail in my ”Daimonji's Hidoko Fire Pits” post from several years ago).

Anthony had hiked this mountain three years ago (where in this case “hiked” meant “was carried by daddy” for much of it) and had shown no interest since until this morning's sudden pronouncement. The timing was perfect for me, having recently gotten a big lens that can zoom to 1,000mm, so I'd been thinking it might be fun to bring it up there.

We had nothing else planned, so I brought the Bigma (and broke out my monopod for the first time in years) and just did it.

Not Your Average Hiker Kyoto Prefectural Policeman on the mountain above the fire pits -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 340 mm — 1/640 sec, f/9, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Your Average Hiker
Kyoto Prefectural Policeman on the mountain above the fire pits

Despite being a Sunday with wonderful weather, the paths were not crowded at all, and I got bunches of great shots of Anthony that I'll share sometime later.

As we neared the top of the mountain, I came across a small group of retiree hikers in animated conversation, and in the short time I was in earshot as I passed them, I learned that a small girl and her 65-year-old grandpa had gone missing on the mountain. It's a young mountain with very steep-walled ravines on all sides of the many paths, so despite being relatively small, someone could easily get lost and never, ever found.

I kept my eyes out as we descended from the top toward the big “大” and its many fire pits.

Just as we were breaking through the trees on the path from the top of the mountain down to the cleared area of the pits, we were greeted by a police helicopter rising from below...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500 mm — 1/640 sec, f/9, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos

It was flying all around for no apparent purpose. One would think it might be used in looking for the missing people, but the way it flew seemed pretty useless for that, often flying way away over the city, then back to us and around, then here and there, but none of it seemed useful for searching. I still don't know what they were doing.

But it gave me something to practice with my new lens, so I availed myself of the opportunity (and if you look at the quality of these shots in any detail, you'll see that I badly need the practice)...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500 mm — 1/640 sec, f/9, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Hazy Day in Kyoto -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500 mm — 1/640 sec, f/10, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Hazy Day in Kyoto

(The wooded area in the shot above is the northern part of the Kyoto Imperial Palace grounds in the background, photos of which have appeared in my blog many times. It looks densely wooded from this angle, but there's a lot going on down there. For those interested in exploring vicariously, you can check out my interactive blog photo map centered there, or see a sample selection: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ).

The fire pits themselves were quite crowded, because there's a short and easy path leading up from near the Ginkakuji Temple (“The Silver Pavilion”) that enters the “大” area from below. It's much more beautiful to approach from the top as Anthony and I did, but that entails a real hike with a lot of climbing, so it's much less popular.

Among the crowd were a fair number of policemen, most of which probably didn't expect to be climbing a mountain today...

Goin' Casual -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500 mm — 1/640 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Goin' Casual

As the helicopter continued its apparently pointless gyrations well away from where it might be any help, I went for a photo with an interesting background. Many were with the 2× teleconverter (which as I discussed the other day, lowers the photographic quality — the “IQ” — considerably), so the softness is not due completely to my lack of skill or the haze...

Temple in the Background Kurodani Temple , which is less than a kilometer from my place, but I've yet to visit -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 650 mm — 1/3200 sec, f/12, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Temple in the Background
Kurodani Temple, which is less than a kilometer from my place, but I've yet to visit
Oooh, a Pagoda, Even Better! -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 1000 mm — 1/3200 sec, f/13, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Oooh, a Pagoda, Even Better!
My House is down there among the muck -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500 mm — 1/3200 sec, f/6.3, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
My House
is down there among the muck

(I presented a sort of pictorial, interactive view of that area on my blog a few years ago, in “Kyoto's Okazaki Area, From Mt. Daimonji”.)

Helicopter at 50mm (it's there, really) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50 mm — 1/3200 sec, f/5, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Helicopter at 50mm
(it's there, really)
four seconds later, Helicopter at 500mm ( you've just got to love the convenience of a 10x superzoom ) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500 mm — 1/3200 sec, f/6.3, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
four seconds later,
Helicopter at 500mm
( you've just got to love the convenience of a 10x superzoom )
Less Haze Straight Up the sky is actually blue when you're not looking through the long end of a layer of haze -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 460 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/6.3, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Less Haze Straight Up
the sky is actually blue when you're not looking through the long end of a layer of haze

After we had descended back to the edge of the city, we were getting on my scooter when a police car came to pick up some policemen who emerged from the forest soon after, and we were able to hear the good news: turns out that there was only one missing person — a five-year-old girl — and she had been found wandering by an elderly pair of hikers, who brought her down to a police station. Woo-hoo!

Finally, in a nod to the Freaky Wavy Lines Quiz Answer that I posted this morning, one of the shots of Anthony today exhibited it, visible in the larger view you get when clicking through on the thumbnail below.....

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/10, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos

Continued here...


All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

G’day Jeffrey

I’m a aircraft photographer by hobby and a current owner of a Canon 400mm f5.6L and Sigma 120-400mm (50D and 7D bodies) and have been looking quite a bit for anything related to this new ‘BigmOS’.

Gotta say I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen so far on your blog wrt both your abilities and this lens. So thank you very much.

One suggestion I do have (and hope that you can try out to let us now just how good the OS is) is if you do any more helicopter (or prop driven aircraft) shots, to lower the shutter speed right down. Generally I use about 1/200 (no more than 1/250) or less for prop aircraft and 1/125 (no more than 1/160) or less for helicopters to produce a very nice prop/rotor blur. If there’s no blur it looks like the prop/rotor and thus the engine has stopped.

To date I’ve seen some rather varied reports about the OS so I’d like to know that I will be able to use low shutter speeds for ‘action’ shots with aircraft before commiting to purchase and replace the 120-400mm.

Regards

Daniel

I’ve had some experience photographing helicopters and should have known to keep that in mind, but I must admit that my mind was dominated by wanting a fast shutter to overcome the high zoom and softness with the 2× extender. The Bigma’s new OS totally rocks (though can be a bit “swimmy” in the viewfinder). At a dark cafe for cake time with Anthony after descending the mountain, I was futzing around and took a shoot at 1,000mm at 1/10th of a second that’s amazingly sharp. I’ve posted it here…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Daniel on April 26th, 2010 at 12:31pm JST (7 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

For those who are interested, this is one of the Kyoto Prefectural Police Agency’s two helicopters. In this case, their Bell 206L-4, reg. JA6148, nicknamed “Miyako”.

It’s based out of the Kyoto Prefectural Police Heliport in Kumiyama, and can often be seen making (almost) daily flights above the city around 2:00-3:00pm.

Kyoto Police’s other beauty is “Heian”, a Kawasaki BK117C-1, reg. JA6818, which you can see in a nice take off and lowpass flyby” YouTube video, that also includes a good representation of what ATC sounds like in Japan — English ATC directions mixed with flight comments in Japanese.

— comment by dan (also in kyoto) on January 14th, 2011 at 2:34pm JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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