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Kyoto’s Amazing Haradanien Garden, Part 2

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Inspired by the Beauty
of the gorgeous Haradanien Garden (原谷苑)
for an impromptu fashion shot

This post is a continuation from Part 1 of “Kyoto’s Amazing Haradanien Garden”, with a bunch more photos that I hope gives a sense what it's like to visit at the height of cherry-blossom season.

I'll explain below why Haradanien (原谷苑) is wonderful despite the crowds, but make no mistake, it's very crowded.


Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/22, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Typical Scene
that you see if you want to see

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
iPad Photography in the Crowded Path

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/2000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Slight Clearing

It's crowded, but the layout of the garden, with wandering paths on a hillside, is masterful. There are people behind the lady posing above, but you can't see them, and that works well with the first rule of photography: “If It's Not in Frame, It Doesn't Exist”.

It works the same when you visit without the camera: the warm sense of enjoyment that I've dubbed “Cherry Blossom Joie de Vivre” permeates the experience, and the annoying part of “crowd” inexplicably seems to melt away.

cherry-blossom scene at the gorgeous Haradanien Garden (原谷苑), Kyoto Japan
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Typical Scene of the Crowds
that you see if you want to see
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Nikon D4 + Nikkor 200mm f/2 — 1/800 sec, f/2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Late-Morning Siesta
after a beer and some snacks

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 200mm f/2 — 1/320 sec, f/2, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
Crowded But Eminently Pleasant

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/2500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Okay, This is a Bit Much
stepping up on the seats with shoes on, a huge no-no in Japanese culture
(judging from the language spoken, they were visitors from another country)

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/1600 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Hillside Dotted with People
with plenty of room for enjoyment

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/4000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Lots of Benches
to relax on

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/4000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Alone
among the crowds

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/2500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
“This is All for Me!”
is easy to feel here

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/800 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Intimate Moments

Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Smile

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 200mm f/2 — 1/400 sec, f/2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Fun Result
checking the back of the camera

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 200mm f/2 — 1/1250 sec, f/2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Bento Lunch

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 200mm f/2 — 1/640 sec, f/2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Tour-Bus Staff
enjoy the place despite likely having been here many times
cherry-blossom scene at the gorgeous Haradanien Garden (原谷苑), Kyoto Japan
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 200mm f/2 — 1/500 sec, f/2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Slow, Lazy Pace
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There must be millions of individual blossoms in the garden, but sometimes one or two just stick out and grab your attention as being particularly appealing (such as those seen in “Subtle Pastel Blossoms at Kyoto's Haradanien Garden”), and in this next shot Damien is photographing such a blossom...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 200mm f/2 — 1/640 sec, f/2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos

He's borrowing my favorite lens, the Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5, because it's a macro well suited to close-ups of dainty things.

I tried it myself later when he returned the lens, but the result doesn't at all live up to my expectations. )-:

a dainty yellow blossom, at the Haradanien Garden (原谷苑) in Kyoto Japan
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
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a dainty yellow blossom, at the Haradanien Garden (原谷苑) in Kyoto Japan
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Vertical Desktop-Background Versions
1050×1680  ·  1200×1920  ·  1600×2560

That one particular blossom had really caught my eye and I expected to be wowed by the results, but they're just okay. I took one “establishing” shot of the blossom in context, and in looking at it now, I wonder what I saw in it. It's in the center of this shot:


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 200mm f/2 — 1/400 sec, f/2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Meh

While Damien used my Voigtländer, I was borrowing his Nikkor 200mm f/2, which is the baby brother of my 300mm f/2. The feel of the focus ring of his lens is the most delicious I'd ever used, and I immediately wanted to get one.

I haven't yet had the time to look through my shots with the 200mm f/2 to actually evaluate the results, but it's telling that many of the shots I picked for this “vibe” post are from that lens.

Here's one more with his lens that I gussied up with just a bit of Lightroom “Funky Joy” that blossoms are so amenable to (such as seen here and here, among dozens of other posts on my blog).

cherry-blossom scene at the gorgeous Haradanien Garden (原谷苑), Kyoto Japan
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 200mm f/2 — 1/2500 sec, f/2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
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And to end this “Part 2” post, here's one more pretty blossom with creaminess that's all Voigtländer:

cherry-blossom scene at the gorgeous Haradanien Garden (原谷苑), Kyoto Japan
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 180 — map & image datanearby photos
Pure
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This is straight out of the camera, with nothing done in Lightroom other than setting the white balance appropriately.

Continued here...


Comments so far....

The 200 f/2 is wonderful, you should get one :-)
Once you have it, you should advice me on how to carry it along with the other lenses, in a post similar to this one http://regex.info/blog/2012-05-13/1993, as I’m still struggling to find the right solution ;-)
Kind regards,
Gianluca

— comment by Gianluca on May 2nd, 2013 at 9:04pm JST (1 year, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Great photos Jeffrey. I don’t look at all of your photos, but the ones I do are awesome. For a year or two I thought you were shooting wide open only, as all the shots I noticed were wide open. I was actually meaning to ask if you were doing it on purpose, or if your lens aperture was just stuck wide open ;)

Keep up these great photos!

I like big apertures and I can not lie. —Jeffrey

— comment by ted on May 3rd, 2013 at 11:49am JST (1 year, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Dear Jeffrey – this really is an extraordinary garden!!! thank you for all the mega multi part posts (I’ve been reading backwards). Also the wigglegrams are really working very well now…
Clever planting to allow the garden to absorb so many folks and still feel personal.
Masterpiece.
Annie

— comment by Annie in London on May 9th, 2013 at 7:08am JST (1 year, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Lovely photos! Love the cherry blossoms!

I’m going to Kyoto in a few weeks and have been trying to find information about entering Onsen or Sento with a tattoo. The consensus seems to be that it’s going to be difficult! :( The thing is, I love hot springs, and I really don’t want to miss out!

The compromise seems to be a private bath…

I don’t know anything about Kyoto, and googling for Onsen in the area just leaves me scratching my head. Most sites are in Japanese, none mention tattoos, agh! Given that you’re a ‘local’ I thought I might ask…

Can you recommend a good private onsen in Kyoto, that is beautiful / traditional or open-air?

Any info, ideas or advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks.

Kyoto isn’t known for its onsen… the only one I know of (Kurama Onsen does not allow tattoos. If it’s small enough to put a big Band Aid over, I suppose no one would notice. —Jeffrey

— comment by john G on May 19th, 2013 at 7:30pm JST (1 year, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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