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Kyoto Marathon: In Search of a Photogenic Spot
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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/3200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
In Search of a Location
without ugly fencing

As I mentioned in my previous post, yesterday was the Kyoto Marathon (京都マラソン2012). I thought it'd be a fun experience to photograph, to see what I could come up with. The first challenge was to pick a location along the 42-kilometer course that was both photogenic and accessable. (Huge swaths of the city were shut down to traffic, so I wanted something I could easily reach by bicycle.)

The course runs for several miles south along the rivers in the east of the city, so guessing that would be fruitful, I set off there, only to find mile after mile of ugly green fencing destroying the immediate background.

However, I eventually came across an area blissfully devoid of ugliness, and stopped there to make camp:


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Perfect!
Exactly what I was looking for

My happiness was short-lived, for just a moment later the scene-destroyers descended on the area...


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 35mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Volunteers
Set on destroying my background

I joked with the volunteers that it was odd that the executive organizers hadn't consulted me on the course or its setup. They agreed. :-)

While I waited to see how the scene would unfold, I busied myself with practice on pulling focus on a moving target. With this lens, it's not easy for me to hit focus on a stationary target, and I didn't think that it would be fruitful to ask the runners to slow down or stop, so I thought it best to work on my technique.


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

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
EMT
with kids playing soccer in the background

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

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

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

Near the kids practicing soccer were two sets of blossoms, one deep pink, and the white ones seen above in “Blossoms!”.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
My First Blossom Shot of the Season
Plum? Peach?

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Sunday School
for the church of soccer dreams
white blossoms
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Those Pitch-side Blossoms
Desktop-Background Versions
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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 280 — map & image datanearby photos
Pleasant
the mountains in the background somehow complete the scene

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
More Background Destruction

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Dandy Focus Practice

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 50mm — 1/3200 sec, f/8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
The Scene
Looking north, from where the runners will come

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44mm — 1/3200 sec, f/4, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
The Scene
Looking south where the runners will try to squeeze in

The area to the south was particularly narrow, and the race official in charge of the local area was not happy about it. With 15,000 runners set to arrive soon, I shared his concern. I thought that they should at least extend the width the foot or so on either side where there were no obstacles for the duration, but they didn't ask my opinion.

In one area, though, the volunteers had set up some cones to mark a muddy area within the bounds of the wider course, and I thought that was downright dangerous because once the pack gets thick, the runners can't see ahead, so people will have to resort to darting when these cones are suddenly found in their way, and with the unrelenting crush of runners behind them none the wiser, any fall would quickly compound into a major problem. So I gingerly broached the idea to a volunteer, suggesting that it would be best to remove those cones altogether, but if they had to be there, try to make them more visible from a distance. She consulted with others and they made the second changes I had suggested, until the area head official walked by and told them to remove all the cones on that side of the path, so trouble was averted.


Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Race Official
did not look happy

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Throwing Rocks
these kids looked happy

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Chillaxin'
this guy's got the right idea

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/3200 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
First Hint of Race
“pace bike” just shows up, quietly and without fanfare

Continued here...


Comments so far....

Have you been following the Lytro? Won’t need to practice how to focus anymore. Very primitive so far, and it might take a decade to mature, but has the potential to make its biggest difference for sports and journalism I would imagine. I assume Canon and Nikon are watching (and researching) with great interest.

— comment by Howard Messing on March 12th, 2012 at 9:29pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

“Plum”, i.e. Prunus mume, which is really more of an apricot than a plum and is source of ume boshi. The pink one definitely, not quite so sure about the white, but I think it must be – there are many cultivated varieties. The flowers have a lovely sweet scent like that of sweet violets.

— comment by Peter in Wales on March 12th, 2012 at 9:36pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey – you sneaked in those stunning blossom shots just when we thought it was going to be an all bollards and plastic barriers sort of blog!!
That depth of focus on those blossoms is just breathtaking and the pitch side blossom are very beguiling. Am going to hazard a guess that the “pink ones” are actually a quince? Chaenomales x (Peter in Wales needed – are you there Peter?)
The white ones (? pear?) are just going right onto my desktop with the next few clicks ! :-)
So thank you very much.
Annie

Peter had replied a few hours ago, but it was the middle of the night over here so you couldn’t see it before you wrote your own note. It’s inconvenient having my resident botanist not really reside in the same timezone. :-) —Jeffrey

— comment by Annie in London on March 13th, 2012 at 6:57am JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Those blossom shots are fantastic! Who would have figured the 300/2 as such a good flower lens. They’re so sublime they almost make up for the 10 or 20 focus practice shots!

— comment by Zachary on March 13th, 2012 at 7:38pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Alas that’s true.
But its nice for us here on the other side of the time zone to wake up and see what’ been going on in the night – and what more nice shots you have put up for our delectation!
Annie :-)

— comment by Annie in London on March 13th, 2012 at 8:01pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Zachery – “sublime” is the word!
Annie

— comment by Annie in London on March 14th, 2012 at 1:03am JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink
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