Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/1.4, ISO 560 — map & image data — nearby photos
well, my tea is served
at the Jikkouin Temple (実光院), Kyoto Japan
Every time I revisit my Lightroom library from last autumn's many photo outings, I find so many things waiting to be posted. Now if only I could find the time to post. Last week's “Views at the Honen'in Temple” was one attempt to catch up, and today's little post is another.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 2500 — map & image data — nearby photos
The whole “tea and sweets in front of the garden” experience is naturally inviting to the camera[sort of], but particularly since taking this shot last November, I've been giving it more attention. Other recent examples include this and this.
Getting a nice shot is tougher than you might imagine, mostly because of other people: unless you've got the place to yourself, others might be in your way or in your light (or in your view in the garden), and more importantly, you don't want to be a disturbing influence to others.
I also still don't have a good sense of what aperture to use (that is, how much background blur to create). To cover my basses at least to some extent, I took the above scene at three different apertures... sweep the mouse side to side over the photo below to see them:
As you can see, I went with the middle one to give at least some sense of the garden without distracting with too much detail.
The garden itself is nice, but better in person than in a photograph. Just to give an idea, here's a quick snap:
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
of the nice garden at the Jikkouin Temple (実光院)
Compare this to the garden at the Daihouin Temple (大法院), or at the Enkouji Temple (圓光寺), among others, and you'll see what I mean. Still, there are many areas in the temple gardens that are exquisite; we'll see more from this temple in a later post.
Back to the tea-and-sweets shot above (the vertical desktop-background one), now that I look at it in the context of this article, I think it's cropped a bit too tightly. I do have another sequence of shots from a bit further back; I'm not sure why I didn't choose one of them:
In this sequence, I didn't use Lightroom's amazing lens-correction profiles to remove the natural vignetting of the lens when it's wide open, so it's readily apparent here. I think it “works” well in this composition, at least better than it would have in the tighter sequence above, which is why I removed it there.
If I were to spend some time with this sequence, I'd adjust the crop to center the tea and sweets a bit better, but that ship has sailed; I started writing this post three days ago and it just does not want to get finished, so I'm cutting corners.
I'll close this post with a shot of Paul Barr next to me, attempting his own version of a “tea and sweets” shot, while someone further down the line is receiving their refreshments.
Near the top I wrote:
The whole “tea and sweets in front of the garden” experience is naturally inviting to the camera.
I should point out that the experience is intended to be naturally inviting to a calm, serene mind, and that whipping out a camera and clicking away is pretty much missing the whole point.
I realize this, but have found that I personally get much more serenity this way. I guess to me, using the camera — and trying to express through it — is foremost a soothing, healing experience (despite often being a source of great frustration).
I'm sure I'm not the only one for whom this is true, but everyone feeling this way must remember not to be an impediment to other's more-traditional sense of enjoyment (to not “disturb their wa”, so to speak). To my shame I think I often failed in this respect when I was younger, perhaps getting too caught up in the selfish pursuit of my own enjoyment. I'm hopefully better now.
One must also remember that temples and shrines are religious sites of spiritual importance to most visitors, so that should also guide one's sense of courtesy.
Occasionally I'll purposefully partake in one of these experiences without the camera, to give myself another chance at the deeper, intended experience, but so far it's always been frustrating, seeing great shots in my mind and not getting a chance to make them real. I suppose the resulting photos are more real to me than the actual experience, which now that I put it that way, sounds pretty pathetic.
Anyway, whatever, more pretty pics coming soon!