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Tag Along With Me on a Photo Shoot at Kyoto’s Gioji Temple
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desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  First Picture of the Day Path to the entrance of the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), after parking the scooter Kyoto, Japan  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
First Picture of the Day
Path to the entrance of the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), after parking the scooter
Kyoto, Japan
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As I mentioned yesterday in “Rich Colors: A Good Start to an Amazing Day in Kyoto”, I started a wonderful day of exploration and photography with a visit to the Gioji Temple (祇王寺) in western Kyoto.

In keeping with my “spray and pray” approach to photography :-) I ended up taking almost 600 photos over the course of the day, but maybe my approach is not quite as unskilled as I thought, because most of my shots came out nicely. Or maybe Gioji is just that photogenic and inspiring.

So, as somewhat of an exercise in showing my thought process for the first part of the day, I thought I'd share the first dozen or so shots of the day.

Except shot #2. I bumped the shutter button while walking through the entrance, so deleted it right away.

A few moments later, just inside the gate....

desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #3 First Shot of the Garden My first inclination was apparently to go vertical  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #3
First Shot of the Garden
My first inclination was apparently to go vertical
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shot #4 Light Reference Check with my trusty WhiBal card  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #4
Light Reference Check
with my trusty WhiBal card
desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #5 Lumps and Bumps make for many unique views  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #5
Lumps and Bumps
make for many unique views
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shot #6 Nicolas' First Visit Kyoto University geneticist Nicolas Joannin  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #6
Nicolas' First Visit
Kyoto University geneticist Nicolas Joannin
desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #7 “Winding Path” Vibe Not sure whether it works, but that's what I had in mind  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #7
“Winding Path” Vibe
Not sure whether it works, but that's what I had in mind
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desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #8 “Subtle Detail” Vibe It's not much in a thumbnail, but full screen it has a lot of nice detail  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #8
“Subtle Detail” Vibe
It's not much in a thumbnail, but full screen it has a lot of nice detail
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desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #9 Hermitage Roof I love this kind of roof, but I can never do it justice  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #9
Hermitage Roof
I love this kind of roof, but I can never do it justice
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desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #10 Little Stream you can barely tell what it is  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #10
Little Stream
you can barely tell what it is
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desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #11 This One is Nicer because it doesn't rely on the stream  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #11
This One is Nicer
because it doesn't rely on the stream
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shot #12 Getting Ready for some moss-detail shots  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #12
Getting Ready
for some moss-detail shots
desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #13 But First... this lower-angle view is nice  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #13
But First...
this lower-angle view is nice
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I tried a detail shot at f/5.6, but I like the following almost-identical f/2.5 shot better...

desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #15 Moss Detail #1  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #15
Moss Detail #1
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Me and the Moss Detail photo by Nicolas Joannin  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Nicolas Joannin, http://regex.info/blog/
E-P2 + LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25/F1.4 at an effective 50mm — 1/80 sec, f/2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Me and the Moss Detail
photo by Nicolas Joannin
desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #16 Moss Detail #2: A Bit Closer  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #16
Moss Detail #2: A Bit Closer
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I'd tried “Detail #2” at f/5.6 as well, but again, liked the f/2.5 result better.

desktop background image of moss at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  shot #18 Moss Max Detail: Full 1:1 Macro  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/160 sec, f/2.5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
shot #18
Moss Max Detail: Full 1:1 Macro
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After this I started shooting detail of a thatched roof, so this seems as good a time as any to stop this post.

Continued here...


Comments so far....

I like the moss. Photos of subjects like that at very large apertures are less stressful, because no matter where the plane of focus is within a certain range, you’re going to get a pleasing result.

So, essentially, you’re saying that an untrained monkey could have taken these shots, or even you? :-) I suppose you’re right, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make a specific choice about exactly what I want to be in focus, and where in the frame I put it, because I most certainly do. I don’t always make a good choice, but it’s never left to chance. —Jeffrey

— comment by Zachary on June 19th, 2012 at 6:38pm JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

“Spray & Pray” – I love it. Actually, I live it, too.

— comment by Marcina (Bellingham, WA) on June 19th, 2012 at 11:17pm JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I’ve always been partial to Moss, but I know how diligent someone is who keeps the leaves and other detritus off it in these gardens. I wonder how it’s done. I never see footprints, so it must be done when the gardens are closed to visitors. Jeff, if you ever have the chance to ask a groundskeeper, see if you can find out for us. I hope it’s with some kind of vacuum or a blower and not a broom and dustpan. Thanks. Mom

At this place, it’s by hand. I’ve seen them from time to time. —Jeffy

— comment by Grandma Friedl, Ohio, USA on June 20th, 2012 at 3:09am JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I was thinking on a somewhat smaller scale. If you take a picture of a person at 2.5, being off by a few mm can ruin the shot. Not so with moss. My comment was less about composition (which is still required with 2.5), and more about perfect focus accuracy.

— comment by Zachary on June 20th, 2012 at 7:54am JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I like the moss too! – and sort of agree with Zachary. But it is a bit magical that one can actually choose which depth of field looks nicest…
This is one of the loveliest temples and I always enjoy your shots from here.
I know you got a bit miffed at having to pay lots and sit through a sermon to get into the Moss Temple but if, one of these days, you were to bite the bullet and do a “spray and pray” shoot there, you would be doing all your remote moss shot fans a real favour :-)
Annie

I’ve no interest to go there, sorry. Why would I, when I have Gioji readily available? —Jeffrey

— comment by Annie in London on June 20th, 2012 at 7:07pm JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Ok I think I get it. And I just googled “The Moss Temple Kyoto” to see what sort of images are already out there. Had not quite realised what a mega tourist stop Saiho-Ji is. Incidently one of your nice Gioji moss pics also came up on that list…

— comment by Annie in London on June 21st, 2012 at 9:26pm JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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