Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow, Part 2
“ This is Miserable ” 「これは 大変 ですね」 comment to me in passing by lady walking in the middle of the street at 4:15am after Kyoto's biggest snow in more than 60 years -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/25 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
This is Miserable
「これは大変ですね」
comment to me in passing by lady walking in the middle of the street at 4:15am
after Kyoto's biggest snow in more than 60 years

She could have been commenting on my inability to set up the tripod, aim the camera, and actually focus the shot properly in time, but I think she was talking about the weather.

これは真夜中大雪中撮影散歩の続きの記事です。 今朝零時から5時間散歩をしました、平安神宮南禅寺周辺で。 京都新聞により, 61年ぶりに20センチを超えました。

At 7am this morning I posted Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow after having spent the night wandering around my area of Kyoto with a camera and tripod. I suspected that the evening's snowfall had beat the record-breaking snow of the previous day, and indeed now after four hours of sleep I see in the paper that it was the 4th most snow on record for Kyoto city proper, and the most since almost a foot and a half fell one day in January 1954.

Some folks were out and about, but for the most part I had the area to myself.

The Childlike Pleasure of just standing in the middle of an open street Jingu Street, 12:15am 京都市左京区、神宮道、午前0時15分 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1 sec, f/11, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
The Childlike Pleasure
of just standing in the middle of an open street
Jingu Street, 12:15am
京都市左京区、神宮道、午前0時15分

I like the snow when it's photogenic and I don't have to drive (this event several years ago pretty much scarred my snow-driving confidence), but a quick heavy wet snow has its drawbacks. One problem was keeping snow off the lens (I fumbled with an umbrella while trying to work the camera), and another was that snow or things weighted down by snow could come crashing down any time.

The Calm Before the Crash front gate of the Heian Shrine 平安神宮 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 55mm — 1/20 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
The Calm Before the Crash
front gate of the Heian Shrine
平安神宮

Seconds after taking the shot above, one of the snow-laden big branches to the left came crashing down. The sound as it was ripped from the tree and then crashed through other branches on the way to a huge thud was impressive. (Photographically it was less impressive... a shot 10 seconds later merely shows an empty spot where the branch used to be.)

When I was near the Heian Shrine I would sometimes see folks out for a stroll, or out to take pictures, or just walking home, but once I got onto the back streets, I went two and a half hours without seeing or hearing another soul.

Deserted -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 20 sec, f/11, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Deserted
Positively Pregnant heavily laden with snow -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/13 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Positively Pregnant
heavily laden with snow

午前一時半位、雪は止んだ。落雪はまだヤバい!

The snow stopped for a while at about 1:30am and I could work with the camera a bit more freely, but I was well aware that huge masses of snow could come down from the branches (or with the branches) onto my head and lens at any time. I was careful and took calculated risks.

Occasionally I'd hear the rending of a branch, or more commonly the huge thump of a big pile of snow hitting the ground. Then in the Nanzen Temple I came across a tree that had quite-recently fallen...

Fallen Tree at the Nanzen Temple 南禅寺の落ちた木、午前3時半 -- Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 58mm — 1.3 sec, f/7.1, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Fallen Tree
at the Nanzen Temple
南禅寺の落ちた木、午前3時半

You can tell from the car tracks running right through it that the tree had fallen after most of the snow had fallen, but enough snow had accumulated on it to show that it hadn't just fallen. It was now 3:30am; I'm guessing it fell an hour or two prior.

It fell in about the same location that these kids are standing.

Strong Rope -- Nanzen Temple (南禅寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 10 sec, f/11, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Strong Rope

I came back into civilization at about 4am at Sanjo Street, at The Incline. It's an area with a steep hill that was put to use 120 years ago when Japan's first power generator was built, flinging water down the hill in pipes to slam into water turbines. I half expected to find lots of abandoned cars and accidents, but there were just a couple of taxis paused by the side of the road...

“ Beware of Icing — 0°C ” Sanjo Street, near the Westin Miyako Hotel 三条通り、インクラインとウェスティン都ホテル京都の間 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 0.8 sec, f/9, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Beware of Icing — 0°C
Sanjo Street, near the Westin Miyako Hotel
三条通り、インクラインとウェスティン都ホテル京都の間
Pure Ice at the bottom of a long, steep, winding hill めっちゃ凍結してる -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 0.8 sec, f/10, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Pure Ice
at the bottom of a long, steep, winding hill
めっちゃ凍結してる

I'm not sure which would be more crazy... trying to drive in this with a car, or a bicycle...

Valiant Effort -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/13 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Valiant Effort
Even More Valiant motorcycle delivery of some sort... likely newspapers -- Shirakawa River -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/30 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Even More Valiant
motorcycle delivery of some sort... likely newspapers
Pointless he ended up pushing the bicycle for the most part -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42mm — 1/15 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Pointless
he ended up pushing the bicycle for the most part

Continued here...


All 8 comments so far, oldest first...

These are some of your best photos. Winter with lots of snow is incredibly photogenic.

— comment by franta on January 3rd, 2015 at 5:38pm JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for braving the cold, and for sharing these wonderful images.

— comment by Tom in SF on January 4th, 2015 at 12:51am JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Lovely photos!
I visited the beautiful city of Kyoto a week back. Unfortunately it was not snowing then. It was my second visit to Kyoto in 4 years and I am in love with this city. I am back to Hong Kong now ( I work there) but I am still unable to get Kyoto and the lovely people of Japan out of my head. Your photos are not helping at all 🙁

— comment by Raunak on January 5th, 2015 at 10:30pm JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Very enjoyable lot of photos. I really love the false-monochrome shots.. I say FM because they are color shots with a naturally limited palette. The torii gates against the leadened sky have a really surreal look.

Beware of Icing also has really nice color balance. The hot electric red on the left is balanced nicely by the deep blues at the top right. The feint blue at the bottom just below the sign brings your eye back around.

Also the all kanji sign adds to that stranger in a strange land feeling that my gaijin eyes get when I view the shot.

Great photos and thank you for the respite from the temples 🙂

— comment by Ron Evans on January 8th, 2015 at 2:48am JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Lovely shots….goes to show you…you have to be there to take the shot. I can image the story getting there in the middle of a snow storm.

I just walked… they’re all near my house. It was quiet and peaceful (and cold) —Jeffrey

— comment by Gregory Cook on January 10th, 2015 at 12:36am JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

I was looking at these in the RSS reader, I don’t always have time to read all the captions, but some of these looked like infrared / inverted B&W at first glance, they’re really beautiful.

— comment by Pablo on January 16th, 2015 at 10:32am JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I have just spent around an hour or so scrolling through your bike rides through the mountains and the wonderful images of the area around your home in the snow. I guess I would never have attempted such a bike ride especially without a breakfast and a hot cup of tea. I remember when younger on my bike on my way to college I heard folks by the side of the road yelling ‘brakes’ instinctively I hit the brakes and the bike slid out from under me, I was on black ice. So for me that ride through the mountains would have had me walking it most of the way.

My hat’s off to you wandering the snow covered streets in the middle of the night but like you said it’s the first heavy snow in Kyoto for around fifty years and you might not see another snowfall in Kyoto like it in your lifetime. Well you certainly took advantage of the weather and came up with some truly wonderful images, my favourites being the ones of the impressive gate to the Heian Shrine. The vermillion paint of the massive columns against the white of the snow and the grey of the sky is most impressive. I also liked the one of the old lady walking down the centre of Jingu Dori, unrecognisable in the heavy snowfall.

Brian
Lisbon, Portugal

— comment by Brian Win on February 16th, 2015 at 2:02am JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Wow, these are some of the best shots of Kyoto in the snow that i’ve seen yet! I remember waking up the following morning at about 5:30am to wander the deserted streets as well. That was definitely one of the more memorable days over the years, so it’s great to remember it through your photos.

— comment by Chris on October 1st, 2015 at 5:03pm JST (1 year, 10 months ago) comment permalink
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