Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/8000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 360 — image data
unremarkable photo showing a remarkable situation
Yesterday, for the first time in 120+ years, Niomon Street in Kyoto is not draped in utility wires.
The first electric-power generator in Japan was built just up the street from where I live, around 1890. As such, the street in front of my place became the first in all Japan to have electric streetlights. At the time, I'm sure the associated power lines were a source of pride as a symbol of Japan's march toward modernity, but of course now they're just urban blight, and urban blight that Japan has traditionally taken to extremes.
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR at an effective 142mm — 1/350 sec, f/10, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR at an effective 63mm — 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos
8 years ago — 八年前
The photo above appeared on my blog more than eight years ago, in “It will be a traffic nightmare….. but I can’t wait!!”, when I found out about the urban-beautification initiative that would bury the utility wires under the street. At the time, the view from my place was marred by 20+ utility wires:
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR at an effective 157mm — 1/80 sec, f/14, ISO 100 — image data
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR at an effective 27mm — 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
Eight years ago
Unfortunately, the construction eight years ago to bury pipes and such merely paved the way for the removal of the utility wires, but the wires and the utility poles didn't actually get removed.
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500mm — 1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 500 — map & image data — nearby photos
four years ago, from this blog post
Nikon D700 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 500mm — 1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 640 — map & image data — nearby photos
It's difficult to imagine just how ridiculously in-the-way these utility poles are. Check out this photo from a post four years ago showing Anthony on the way to a haircut:
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos
Every few years a few of the wires would come down, but it was slow progress. Just a year ago it was still pretty much the status quo.
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/1000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/11, ISO 1100 — map & image data — nearby photos
a year ago
But finally they've been coming down more quickly!
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/640 sec, f/5, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
two weeks ago
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/1000 sec, f/5, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
wire-wise, at least, but the ugly in-the-way utility pole is just to my back in this shot
As nice as it is to get down to just one wire, the difference between 1 and 0 is substantial, a point brought home in spectacularly clear fashion a couple of weeks ago as I walked to the Higashiyama Lightup. Jingu Street had apparently just had all its wires taken down, and though I'm sure the following photo doesn't show it, it felt surreal to walk down it sans wires. It felt as if I was on a movie set.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 2800 — map & image data — nearby photos
Jingu Street sans wires, two weeks ago
Later that evening I noticed that all the wires and poles were down in one of the more quaint areas of Kyoto, as illustrated by two photos starting here. It was wonderful.
So finally, as of yesterday, all the wires strung in front of my place are down. The utility poles are still there, just as in the photo of Jingu Street above, but hopefully they'll be down soon as well.
And in other in-my-neighborhood news, cherry blossoms have started to bloom.
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/8000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 500 — image data