A Few Shots From Today’s Setsubun Festival at the Heian Shrine
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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1600 sec, f/11, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Burning Hot Lyrics
chanting at part of the Setsubun festival at the Heian Shrine
Kyoto, Japan

Today was the Setsubun festival at the Heian Shrine, so I walked over to snap some pictures. I'll post and write more another day, but today just a few photos. (For an introduction to the event, see my “Setsubun and Mamemaki: Driving out the Demons” post from four years ago.)

The picture above is from the bonfire event, described in my “Intense Burn: Shinto Rite at the Heian Shrine” post. A line of priests was chanting as others threw bundles of sticks with wishes written on them (the wishes then going up with the smoke to the heavens, or something like that).

I'm surprised in the photo above how much the background is still out of focus at f/11. The flames were quite angry....


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

I processed these photos with Lightroom 4 and its new render engine, and I notice that the flames retain much more of their true orange color. This is wonderful, as it always bothered me how bright, intense colors got washed out toward white, leaving the flames in the intense-burn post more yellow than orange. I'll have to try processing them in Lr3 as well, to confirm the better result is not all due to a different camera or better exposure.

Other aspects of the festival included a bunch of nasty demons who ended up getting driven out of the place by bean-throwing dignitaries...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Demon
representing the ills of the previous year

... and then bringing in good fortune by more bean throwing, but this time as packets one could catch and bring home (as described in my “Setsubun Mamemaki: Throwing of the Beans” post).


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Spreading Good Fortune
one pack of beans at a time

The hyper-made-up world of the geiko (Kyoto's geisha) is not really my thing, but I loved the smile on the one in the photo above.... she looked like she was having a total blast, and that made it all the more fun.

I found myself wanting a pack of beans to bring home for Anthony (and maybe bring home some good fortune for myself), but gave up on the idea because I didn't want to wade too deeply into the crowd with my big lens. But I was surprised not once, but three times as folks going by gave me a pack. How wonderful. We had them this evening after dinner.

Continued here...


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

Burning Hot Lyrics – a stunning capture. Great photo. Tom in SF

— comment by Tom on February 4th, 2012 at 12:10am JST (5 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey! Just a little note about geisha:
Geisha is the general term used more often by foreigners than by Japanese, although it is also used by Japanese.
When it comes to the one you have in the photo, it is actually not a “geiko” but a “maiko”. Both are what we call geisha. The distinction is that a geisha is a maiko until she reaches the official adult age (20 years old, as you have often pointed out); once she turns 20, she becomes a geiko.
One can tell this is a young maiko because of three details (as far as I know). A young maiko (as opposed to an older maiko):
* is only allowed to use lipstick on the lower lip
* has a more colorful collar (or whatever the name of that piece of clothing is…)
* has a few strings of flowers falling from their hair
I believe (although I have no confirmation for the it) that a geiko no longer has flowers in the hair (at all) and has a totally white collar. Additionally, a geiko will have “shorter sleeves” than a maiko, that is the length at which they “hang”, which may be more the “width” than actually length 😉
I hope this info is interesting to your readers!

— comment by Nicolas on February 4th, 2012 at 4:13pm JST (5 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Wow! That first photo is fantastic. I like it.

— comment by Earnest Barr on February 13th, 2012 at 5:05pm JST (5 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink
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