A Few Shots from Gion Matsuri Festival, Day 3
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.
Backseat Driver out of focus because I need more practice to focus-follow a moving subject ( the shot prior to this was in perfect focus, but the boy's pointing arm was cut off ) -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/640 sec, f/2, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Backseat Driver
out of focus because I need more practice to focus-follow a moving subject
( the shot prior to this was in perfect focus, but the boy's pointing arm was cut off )

So I went again to the massive crowds at Kyoto's largest annual festival, Gion Matsuri as I did on the first night and second night. This time I didn't screw up the camera settings so things went better. I had intended to publish these few photos last night, but I ended up being too tired, so here they are the next day.

As always, my lens brought out smiles and curiosity, and various people and groups would pose for photos...

Smiling Couple -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/640 sec, f/2, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Smiling Couple

I wish I would have known of this “huge lens” effect on people when I was young and single, because it seems to be a powerful attractor especially of beautiful women. Not that I'm complaining about the effect now, mind you ;-), but I could have made much better effect of it when I was single, ifyouknowwhatimean.

When people chatted and accepted an offer of a photo, I had to tell them to go a fair distance away so that they'd actually fit in frame. Passersby would inevitably fill in the intervening space, but a photo opportunity would often open up for a second or two but with the natural pulse of the crowd (which was crazy intense, much worse than the first night). But a photo opportunity didn't open up naturally for this group of cool international researchers...

Hidden Group -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/640 sec, f/2, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
Hidden Group

The guy at left isn't seven feet tall... he had the right idea with a jump, so I pantomimed that they should all do it...

Less Hidden mid jump -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/640 sec, f/2, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Less Hidden
mid jump

Still, I should have moved from f/2 to something that had a chance to get them all in focus. It's not an issue for two or three people standing side by side, but when you've got ranks of people several deep, f/2 is just too thin even at 20m away.

First Matsuri I'm just guessing -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/80 sec, f/1.4, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
First Matsuri
I'm just guessing
I Patronized This Fine Establishment one of hundreds of street stalls -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
I Patronized This Fine Establishment
one of hundreds of street stalls
New Photographic Techniques -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
New Photographic Techniques

I was sharing a beer and camera conversation with the guy in the blue shirt when he lamented that it was too dark to get any good shots with the consumer point-n-shoot he had with him at the time, showing me how the requisite long shutter times caused blurring. I suggested that since blurring was all he was going to get, he should make use of it, and I suggested that he stand on the railing and brace the camera against the post as you see above, and go for a shot that showed the people all blurred, moving like a river.

It then occurred to me to try it myself, but unfortunately I picked a wobbly signpost to brace against. Still, the result is sort of interesting...

4 Seconds braced against a wobbly signpost -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 4 sec, f/10, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
4 Seconds
braced against a wobbly signpost

The guy (Nagai-san) suggested pressing the back of the camera flat against the wall of a building, which made it much easier to hold still for long periods, though removed the ability to aim. I couldn't do it with my camera because its back is not flat, but taking his idea to heart, I pressed myself (including my head) up against a wall, then pressed the camera to my eye to try to make one steady unit, then took a shot...

1 Second with camera pressed tightly to my eye while leaning my head back against a wall -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
1 Second
with camera pressed tightly to my eye while leaning my head back against a wall

Later, I tried bracing the camera against a solid utility pole, and got something showing a bit of the pulse of the crowd.....

1 Second while bracing the camera against a sturdy utility pole -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
1 Second
while bracing the camera against a sturdy utility pole

Later, after having made my way slowly with the crush of the crowd north, I exited the scrum to find Sanjo Street to be crowded but really pleasant, and I stopped at the steps of the post office to have another beer and enjoy the crowd. Maybe it was the effect of the beers, but I thought to try the 300/2 again...

Dressed For Success not bad for 300mm @ 1/25 th of a second, with a monopod and a few beers -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/25 sec, f/2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Dressed For Success
not bad for 300mm @ 1/25th of a second, with a monopod and a few beers

I moved down Sanjo a bit further until a Spanish restaurant's outside stall selling a Spanish ham & Spanish beer combo required that I stop to enjoy the festivities. The ham was so good that I actually bought another combo but skipped the beer. It was exceedingly pleasant.

Eventually I made my way out of the festival zone to Ooike Street, where the next day the big wooden floats would pass in parade. (They're going now as I write this.). The street was lined with chairs in preparation...

Patiently Waiting -- Gion Matsuri (祇園祭) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Patiently Waiting

Continued here...


One comment so far...

HELLO JEFFREY. 😀 Thank you for taking our photo! Your blog is amazing.

— comment by Iris (UCSD) on July 18th, 2011 at 10:22am JST (6 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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