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Last Year’s Kurama Fire Festival
Friendly Chat during the Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬 の 火祭 り) Kyoto, Japan  Oct 2012 -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Friendly Chat
during the Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬火祭り)
Kyoto, Japan  Oct 2012

Dipping into my archives from last October, I realize that I haven't yet posted much about the Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬火祭り) that I briefly mentioned at the time, and a bit in my shooting-with-two-bodies post.

One reason that I haven't posted is that the photos are not very good (taken haphazardly handheld while not really knowing what was going on), but it's quite the different kind of festival, so it's worth a quick look.

Chatting with Visitors prior to the start of the main event -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/1.4, ISO 10000 — map & image datanearby photos
Chatting with Visitors
prior to the start of the main event

The village of Kurama is long and narrow, wedged into a valley in the mountains of northern Kyoto. During this festival, fires and people are everywhere, both lining and filling the streets. Village men participating in the main event wear (so to speak) outfits as seen in the shot above.

This next guy walking by appears to be a fairly high-up Shinto priest...

Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 8000 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Torch old version of a flashlight? -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/1.4, ISO 10000 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Torch
old version of a flashlight?
Some Kind of Procession -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Some Kind of Procession

This was my first time at this festival, and I had no idea what would happen other than something about big torches being carried through the streets sometime after dark. It was oppressively crowded and so any attempt at movement was decidedly unpleasant, so I stuck in one spot and hoped for the best. It turns out that I was pretty lucky.

Big Torches Being Brought In burning only small “pilot light” fires -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Torches Being Brought In
burning only small “pilot light” fires
Looks a Bit Warm for the caboose -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Looks a Bit Warm
for the caboose
Fires Everywhere -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Fires Everywhere
Wider View -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/160 sec, f/1.4, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Wider View
Fire and Moon -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Fire and Moon
Person In Front of Me -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Person In Front of Me
Assembling the Torches -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos
Assembling the Torches

Apparently the big (18'?) torches were being lugged into the courtyard of this shrine and propped up to be lit. They are exceedingly top heavy, so this was not a smooth operation and occasionally they fell.

Straining -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 cropped — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Straining
Watching -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Watching
Good View -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
Good View
Finally Up and the fires being lit in earnest -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Finally Up
and the fires being lit in earnest
Some Guy Doing Something he was way up there attending to something on top of a pole -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/40 sec, f/1.4, ISO 10000 — map & image datanearby photos
Some Guy Doing Something
he was way up there attending to something on top of a pole
Starting the Main Procession big torches are brought back down, still ablaze, to be paraded through the streets -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 5600 — map & image datanearby photos
Starting the Main Procession
big torches are brought back down, still ablaze, to be paraded through the streets
Leading the Way -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Leading the Way
Silhouetted -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Silhouetted
Off they Go -- Kurama Fire Festival (鞍馬の火祭り) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Off they Go

The crowds were so incredibly oppressive that following along wasn't in the realm of possibility, so I lingered a bit but then went the opposite direction.


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