My Day Walking Aimlessly in Kyoto
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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Sad Puppy

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 cropped — 1/400 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

For some reason that I can't fathom at the moment, I let Zak Braverman talk me into taking a walk through Kyoto, ostensibly for some vaguely-defined health benefits. We were to meet at Kyoto Station and then walk the couple of miles to a restaurant for lunch, but I decided walk to the meeting point as well, and after adding a few things in the evening, ended up walking about 12 miles.

I brought the camera with me, of course, but since I'm not much into street photography, I didn't take all that many shots. (I made a post from a similarly-random short stroll four years ago, but I think my threshold for what to post is a bit different now.)

The abandoned bike with the flat tire and puppy decal was about the only thing I bothered taking a picture of on the walk to the station. The other thing was the burnt-wood siding of a house....

wood siding purposfully burnt to charcoal
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
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One can see this fairly often, and I've even posted a similar closeup before (here), but what made this place unique was that the burnt-wood siding was used for the entire height of the wall, from ground to eave, and on all four walls. I'd never seen that before, and if I go again, I'll try to bring a wide-angle lens so I can get an overall picture.

After lunch, on the way home near my house I decided to pop into a small inner-city complex of temples that I'd passed a thousand times but had never actually entered.

There are lots and lots of temples in the city parts of Kyoto. This map shows more than 50 in a small area (about 1/6th of a square mile) just west of my place...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos

It's nice that they're close by, but they tend to be surrounded by the ugliness of “city” (utility poles, ugly apartment buildings, etc.) and the owners often succumb to the easy tax-free money of turning large swaths of their grounds into monthly-rent parking lots. At the spot marked in red on the map, here's the view I would see for brief moments when passing by...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

It looks all full of nature in that shot, and indeed, inside, the main building is really quite impressive...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/1000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Chomyoji Temple (頂妙寺)
Kyoto Japan

... but it's less enjoyable without the selective view of the camera. Panning down a bit...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos

Some ginkgo trees were starting to look nice...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/2500 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos

... which reminds me to make sure to visit the Ochiba Shrine earlier this year than last.

But what struck me most about this temple building was the grain of the wood...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Finely Aged

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos

Those three shots were from near one area of the veranda that circles the whole building:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos

Also nice were its impressive eaves, though less impressive my photography skill that suddenly left me for some reason, though I was able to recover some details in post...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Above the Eaves

More impressive grain on the bell-support structure...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/1600 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

One of the small sub temples in this area looked very nice, but was marred by an ugly apartment building next door:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Shinjoin Temple (真浄院)

You can see a “tree wall” that they've likely been growing for 30+ years since the apartment building went up.

After returning home and resting a bit, I thought to visit Shogunzuka with its sweeping view of Kyoto (or check out this really sweeping view), and hope for a nice sunset. But in keeping with the theme for the day, I thought I'd walk, something I'd never done.

On the walk, you can definitely feel the foliage season approaching...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

The setting sun also made for a dynamic view on the side of an apartment building...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/1000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

The path to Shogunzuka involves a short (20-minute) but steep mountain hike, along the these lines, but then I'm up to the overlook for what turned out to be a pretty pedestrian sunset...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 175mm — 1/8000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

The crows, always active here at dusk, were in prime form this evening, accumulating in the trees near the overlook then launching into the sky en masse in a noisy cacophony of caws and flapping wings...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/400 sec, f/5, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
At Sunset

... only to return and repeat the process over and over.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Twenty Minutes Later
the city lights have been switched on

On the way back down I passed near the entrance to the Shogunzuka Mound temple and grounds, which were open for a special autumn lightup.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 98mm — 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance to Shogunzuka

I didn't go in because it seems a bit early in the season, and my one lens (a 70-200/2.8) didn't see appropriate anyway.

On the return path home, just before descending into the trees, I was treated to a nice view of the Osaka skyline almost 30 miles away...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 135mm cropped — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos

I knew it would be really dark in the woods by the time I headed down, but on the way up I realized that I'd forgotten to bring a flashlight, so while waiting for the sunset, I was able to catch a few radio waves with my iPhone and I downloaded a free “flashlight” app, which, as the name implies, turns the camera-flash LED into an always-on light. It's shockingly bright, and made the return hike a breeze.

Entering the edge of the city again, I passed by a ritzy restaurant with a sign on the employee-entrance door...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/13 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
“Propping Open Strictly Prohibited”

After Anthony was down for bed, I walked another four kilometers, first stopping by Hiyoshido in Gion for a leg/foot massage, then across the river to Uroko (鱗) for a beer and their most-excellent 蛇の目焼janomeyaki chicken.

Then I walked home, and slept.


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Goodness me that’s alot of walking for a desk-job-type-guy…I’ll keep my fingers crossed that your tendons don’t complain too much. But the photos are really interesting so the leg work was worth it. I particularly liked that evening shot of the appartment block.
And your temple car park of course.
When is the next walk planned?
Annie

I dunno… I’m going to Tokyo tomorrow to visit a friend, but I think I’ll take the train. —Jeffrey

— comment by Annie in London on November 9th, 2011 at 8:13pm JST (5 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I like the close-ups of the wood grain, end grain with the rays of the wood so clearly defined. Looks like someone didn’t treat the ends of those beams.
BTW, just was thinking that a gathering of crows is called a “murder”. Bet they were noisy.
I , too, hope your legs are not suffering today. That’s more than I could walk, but your brother , the marathoner, would just sniff.. ” Amateur!”

— comment by Anonymous on November 9th, 2011 at 11:45pm JST (5 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

A walk maybe healthier than the train and lots of more great picture opportunities especially near Mt. Fuji. Howdy my friend?

Dude! Move back to Fujinomiya and show me those great opportunities! —Jafo

— comment by Ram Kulkarni on November 9th, 2011 at 11:57pm JST (5 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I just made these pictures the background of my monitors at work. Thanks for such great shots!

— comment by Tanner on November 10th, 2011 at 4:45am JST (5 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink
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