Scenes From Mountain Roads in Northern Kyoto
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The Road Ahead can sometime be rocky -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 19mm — 1/320 sec, f/14, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
The Road Ahead
can sometime be rocky

Last week I posted “Deep In The Mountains Above Kyoto's Kumogahata Village” and its followups, featuring photos from a rainy car trip into some remote mountains. The weather was nice yesterday, so I went back on my scooter, and could probe deeper than I could with the car.

Today's simple post just shows some scenes of the roads I was on, or of areas just off the road.

Lopped Off -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lopped Off

Fallen trees looped off at the road line was a frequent sight. The mountain is covered with trees, and they fall from time to time, and if they block the road, they're cleared away just enough so that they're no longer blocking the road.

Scarred -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 16mm — 1/320 sec, f/13, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Scarred

I don't know why sections of mountain appeared this way, but my guess is that a whole section of trees became flattened with heavy snow (perhaps with a Domino effect of one tree falling into a few below, and so on). Since this area of tree-flattening happened to have easy access from the road, someone came in and salvaged what they could of the lumber.

This next photo shows a similar situation, but without the salvage, since it's across a small river gorge from the road...

Bendy -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 19mm — 1/160 sec, f/14, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Bendy
Ballet-Slipper Trees -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 17mm — 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Ballet-Slipper Trees

Some trees in one area were marked with criss-crossed ribbon. I don't know what it was for, but I suspect it was to mark trees that should or shouldn't be harvested. Some fallen trees were marked as well, which brings up the question of whether they were marked before or after they fell (and if after, what the mark could mean)...

Some of the trees that fell over the river were also marked -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 17mm — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Some of the trees that fell over the river were also marked
Where I Turned Around Last Time but the scooter could pass, so I forged ahead this time -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Where I Turned Around Last Time
but the scooter could pass, so I forged ahead this time
A More Manageable Problem -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
A More Manageable Problem
Sure to be an Ongoing Problem -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 18mm — 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Sure to be an Ongoing Problem
Sweeping View of Kyoto at least it would be if the air were clear -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Sweeping View of Kyoto
at least it would be if the air were clear

I didn't notice it when I was there, but I see now that Kyoto Tower is visible just to the left of center. It's 10 miles (17 km) away.

There weren't many vista views throughout the drive because the altitude is always well below where the trees would start to thin out (the mountains in this area top out at about 900m). When I did get one, most were like this...

Just a Bunch Of Mountains -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/13, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Just a Bunch Of Mountains

At some point on the way up the road changed from the paved-but-often-challenging type seen in the various photos above, to a muddy rock-and-rut-filled not-intended-for-normal-vehicular-traffic transpiration nightmare. I was prepared at any point for the path to become totally impassible on my scooter and turn around, but it never did and eventually I got back to semi pavement.

Also above a certain point the bugs became positively insane... I've never seen anything like it. I was pelted, literally, incessantly by dozens of large insects that would just ram me and the bike over and over. I have no idea what was going on, or whether they were doing it for sport or out of malice, but it was crazy. At some point prior to this my progress had become sufficiently slow (walking pace) and the prospect of meeting anyone or anything on the “road” were so slim that I'd removed my helmet, but with the frenzy of the bugs I put it back on, and felt like I was in a hail storm. Have never seen anything like it.

Eventually I descended out of it, and life was good again. Which brings me to these next two photos, which illustrate nicely the problem I mentioned in “A Photographic Challenge of Monumental Scale”...

desktop background image of a carpet of green ferns and vegitation below towering ceders in a mountaion forest in Kyoto, Japan -- Carpet of Green -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Carpet of Green
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The photo above is looking up a very steep notch in the mountain formed where two slopes come together. It's rising away from the camera at a good 40° angle, but in the photo it appears to be a lazy incline, at best.

Now, compare that with a photo taken from the same location, pointing to the same location (the very center of the next photo is exactly the scene above), but with a much wider lens...

Same Scene @ 14mm -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/320 sec, f/14, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Same Scene @ 14mm

The second one does convey a sense of slope and scale, but does so at the expense of all photogenic worthiness.

I ventured up the slope a ways on foot, to the area with the carpet of green. It was a wonderfully peaceful place to visit, and wonderfully productive photo-wise.

It also offered a valuable lesson in watching out for deadly mamushi pit vipers, which I now know can be found in these woods. Their bite can be fatal, but most often results in only a slight case of MOF that requires a mere week or two in the hospital and a month of followup home care, sometimes accompanied by touch of limb amputation. All and all, it doesn't sound all that fun.

As for my lesson, I got away with merely a sudden need for new underwear, and as a bonus, found out that my heart works just fine under sudden adrenal-fueled surprise, a question that might have been left over after my recent minor heart issues.

Impromptu Bridges more remains of trees that had fallen across the road -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/400 sec, f/9, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Impromptu Bridges
more remains of trees that had fallen across the road
Overpass trees fallen across the road, but way above the road -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 18mm — 1/125 sec, f/9, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Overpass
trees fallen across the road, but way above the road
More Overpasses they look small and in the way, but they're huge and large trucks could easily pass -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
More Overpasses
they look small and in the way, but they're huge and large trucks could easily pass
Pretty Road for some definitions of “road” -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/125 sec, f/6.3, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Pretty Road
for some definitions of “road”

The photo above and the photo below nicely show how steep many of these larger slopes were. Some were much steeper still, bordering on cliffs, but the majority were in the 40°–50° range.

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 18mm — 1/125 sec, f/6.3, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
More Scars seemingly untouched after the fact, leading me to believe it was snow -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 16mm — 1/125 sec, f/10, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
More Scars
seemingly untouched after the fact, leading me to believe it was snow
Another Scar but this time well picked over -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 15mm — 1/125 sec, f/10, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Another Scar
but this time well picked over
Mountain Monorail -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/4, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Mountain Monorail

I saw perhaps half a dozen of these things winding up into the woods in various areas. (You'll recall I wrote about one such track a couple of weeks ago.)

desktop background image of very straight, tall ceders in a mountain forest in Kyoto, Japan -- Pleasant -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Pleasant
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End of the Road This particular road just stopped, right here -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 19mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
End of the Road
This particular road just stopped, right here

Stepping just into the woods beyond the end, a wide angle shows the heights well.

30 Meters Straight Up -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/125 sec, f/11, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
30 Meters Straight Up
desktop background image of very straight, tall ceders in a mountain forest in Kyoto, Japan -- Looking Back at my Scooter the road starts here -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm — 1/500 sec, f/3.5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back at my Scooter
the road starts here
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It's a shame that Google doesn't allow me to build a Lightroom uploader for their Panoramio service, which supplies photos for Google Earth. I've got so many photos from uncommon areas around Japan that I'd share if it were just a bit easier to do so.

Continued here...


All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

Thanks for including a photo of the monorail train. I’ve been wondering what they look like ever since you photographed the tracks. Tom in San Francisco

— comment by Tom on June 23rd, 2011 at 1:42am JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

How were the mosquitoes out there when you guys were in the forest? The few times I was in the woods in the Hyogo area… I got eaten alive, even with the bug spray. What were the sounds of the forest like? In my recollection, there were some really interesting whistle ring/buzz-motor sounding Cicada bugs in the Hyogo area. Please tell us more about that Monorail, that thing looks fascinating… like something you’d only find in a country like Japan or maybe Scandinavia -where there is less of a desire to wreck everything that is not bolted down or made of steel/concrete.

— comment by Ron Evans on June 23rd, 2011 at 2:00am JST (6 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink
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