Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow, Part 3

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 31mm — 10 sec, f/11, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Should Have Made This a Wigglegram
2:20am at the Nanzen Temple, Kyoto Japan
南禅寺の正因庵、大雪の後、午前2時20分

A continuation from part one and part two of my nighttime stroll during a rare snowstorom in Kyoto on the early morning of January 3rd.

The photo above is much less impressive than the actual view was, with the trees receding at various stages up the mountain in the background in crisp relief to the temporarily-clear sky, it had a particularly three-dimensional feel, with added weight and depth due to the heavily-laden trees.

I wish I would have made it a Wigglegram. When this thought first popped in my mind as I wrote the caption above, it was as a joke, because a wigglegram's frames are usually captured in a burst that lasts but a second or so, and the shot above took 10 seconds just by itself.

But now that I think about it, with nothing moving in the frame but the clouds and stars, I could have spent a few minutes and a bit of care in moving the tripod to capture frames from positions a meter or two apart, and in between. Maybe next time.


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 38mm — 0.4 sec, f/8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
First Photo of the Evening
12:00 midnight
( from the middle of an intersection, because I could )

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 0.4 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Frosted-Covered Trees

(The picture above is so tall and narrow because the wide-angle shot taken up at an angle required quite a bit of perspective correction to make upright things look upright, which if left uncropped leaves wedges of non-image int the lower corners like this, and I didn't want the wedges this time.)


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42mm — 1.6 sec, f/14, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Bus Stops
the same trees as above, with a bus stop, a street, and another bus stop in between

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/20 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Disappointed

The dark blur in the middle of the street is a young couple of about 20, who had trudged through the snow to visit the Heian Shrine, presumably for their hatsumode, a traditional first visit to a shrine in the new year. They assumed, as I would have assumed, that a shrine as popular as the Heian Shrine would be open continuously during the first few days of the year.

As it happened, during the big snowfall on January 1st, I'd asked a worker at the shrine their hours, thinking that I might show up early the next morning to get some snowy photos of their garden (as I was lucky enough to get seven years ago). It turns out that they keep normal hours, so the site is closed from 9pm until 6am (with the garden opening at about 8:30).

It was about 12:30am when I talked to the young couple, so they had 5½ hours to kill. They did an about face and trudged away.

At least the view that they could see from the street was nice:

the front gate of the Heian Shrine (Kyoto, Japan) in the middle of the night, during a heavy snow
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 2 sec, f/13, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
The Heian Shrine
12:34am
平安神宮、京都市岡崎 · 午前0時34分
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The falling snow isn't very visible in the long exposure (two seconds) above, but it's quite evident in this similar shot posted the other day, which was taken with a 1/20th-second exposure.

The snow was very sticky, and readily stuck on improbably-vertical surfaces, such as street-light poles...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 1/20 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos

Different kinds of trees took the snow differently, with some barely getting any accumulation, but others having every little branch and twig swell fivefold in thickness with snow, such as this row of trees...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 31mm — 0.5 sec, f/9, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Fluffy

The blur at left was an old lady walking. It was the last person I saw for two and a half hours.


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 0.6 sec, f/9, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Fittingly Cold

The ultra-modern-design cement garage entrance to what I assume is a very, very rich persons house seemed quite at home in the snow.

Yet equally at home just a few paces down the same wall was the warm non-car entrance...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42mm — 1.6 sec, f/7.1, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos

This got me thinking about entryways, and I ended up photographing a bunch of them. (The most tastefully presented was Larry Ellison's, seen here as the lead photo of my first post in this series, so all the ones I post today will be second-tier at best.)


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/8 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Even Warmer

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 6 sec, f/13, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Slightly Cool

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 20 sec, f/16, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
A Bit Aloof

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 13 sec, f/9, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Breaking Clouds
1:30am · 午前1時半

As I mentioned in Part 2, the snow finally let up at about this time and I could use the camera much more freely, without trying to protect it and the lens from sticky snow. The snow came and went for the next three and a half hours that I was out.


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44mm — 13 sec, f/11, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Whre is the Big Gate?

When I first arrived at the Nanzen Temple (南禅寺), I set up the camera at the base of the path leading up to the big entrance gate, and though it was quite dark (much darker than it appears in any of these photos), I thought I should have been able to see the murky outline of the gate, but I couldn't.

Then I realized that I had to move 30m over to the next path. Doh!


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 25 sec, f/14, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Found It
南禅寺の三門,午前2時

Going up the path, crossing over and through the gate to where the path continues on the other side, you're greeted with this view of a main temple building with a massive roofed incense pot out front:


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 45mm — 13 sec, f/11, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos

This particular little section of path always makes me think of this photo of Anthony when he was 4½. The incense pot can be seen in more detail in this shot from a different post.


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 20 sec, f/11, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Side Entrance to Somewhere

It was exceedingly dark where I took this, and I couldn't see much but an outline. A 20-second exposure helps to make things clear. The map tells me that it's an entrance to a Hojo Tearoom (南禅寺方丈).

Not far away was a set of steps and a couple of entrances that were brightly lit, so this exposure is only 1.3 seconds long...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 27mm — 1.3 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos

Back to the big gate, here's a side view. By now it's 3:10am...


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 25 sec, f/14, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Gate Side View
南禅寺の三門、横から、午前3時10分

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 35mm — 1.3 sec, f/7.1, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Quiet Entrance
to the Tenjuan Temple
南禅寺の天授庵の入り口

I've been inside only once, two years ago, but it made an impression. I think I snapped over a thousand photos during the visit, including one of my early wigglegrams, and these photos. It's much quieter at 3:30am.


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 31mm — 5 sec, f/8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Bicycle Parking
(this is common in Japan, but I've always wondered
who just leaves bikes lying around overnight?)

Back out into civilization, to Sanjo Street, a shot at the base of The Incline looking up the hill, which at this point was a field of snow-covered ice....


Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32mm — 0.8 sec, f/10, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Big Hill
蹴上駅の近くの三条通り

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1 sec, f/14, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Sanjo Street a bit Later
in front of the Westin Miyako

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 0.4 sec, f/8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Cut into the Ice
remnants of something big and heavy with chains on the wheels

Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/15 sec, f/4, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back Up The Hill

Continued here...


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

Amazing.
Do more of the night explorations!

— comment by franta on January 12th, 2015 at 2:27am JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I agree Larry’s entrance is #1. How can we send him the prize? 🙂
On the one titled “A Bit Aloof” is the back (?) entrance of one of the largest properties of the area called Hekiun-so (碧雲荘).

I mailed a copy of the photo to Oracle, suggesting that Mr. Ellison may like to see it. No reply, of course, but none expected. —Jeffrey

— comment by Damien on January 12th, 2015 at 11:28am JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Such a wonderful group of posts showing the snow and weather of the past month in Kyoto. Having not visited in two years, these photos warm my hart (though of snow!). All my best to you and your family for a wonderful 2015.

— comment by Garin on January 14th, 2015 at 8:18am JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink
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