Scoping Out Portraiture Locations with Eric and Gigi at the Kiyomizu Temple
desktop background image of pagoda at the Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) in Kyoto Japan -- Moody Kiyomizu Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto Japan 清水寺 -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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)
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Moody Kiyomizu
Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto Japan
清水寺
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San Francisco friends Eric and Gigi are in town again. We last saw them earlier in the year buying a Kimono and playing in the snow. Yesterday they made a visit to the Kiyomizu Temple, and I popped over to join them.

It was a Monday, but the place was crazy crowded like during a high-season weekend. The economy must really be doing better.

Approach one of the streets leading to the temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 130mm — 1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Approach
one of the streets leading to the temple
Entrance Gate -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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)
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Entrance Gate

Eric and Gigi like to shoot portraiture, and the challenge in a setting 8like this is to find places and angles that omit the crowd, yet still lend a feeling of the location. As we instinctively moved away from the main gate, I saw two ladies in kimono taking a picture, and immediately felt the location held promise...

Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos

I felt that the top of the steps where the photographer was standing was the place for the subject, with a rich green background devoid of people if you got the camera low enough to the ground.

Soon Eric and Gigi were photographing one of the ladies...

Gigi With The Camera -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 125mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Gigi With The Camera

(Unfortunately I didn't get the camera low enough to the ground for this shot to omit the people down below.)

Showing the Result -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Showing the Result
My Own Results cute little girl toddles -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
My Own Results
cute little girl toddles

Moving on to other parts of the temple grounds, we found a little bridge next to the hustle and bustle of the crowds that seemed to be amenable to a shot...

Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 105mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos

The trouble was finding an angle to omit stuff from the backgrounds like people, toilets, orange traffic cones, trash cans, etc. I think there was exactly one such angle, and I found it in the shot above.

Moving inside the temple to its famous observation deck...

One Way to a Better Background selfie sticks were in great abundance, but not a great annoyance -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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)
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One Way to a Better Background
selfie sticks were in great abundance, but not a great annoyance

Once those two ladies moved on, Gigi posed there for a bit. It was crowded with people, but every once in a while there would be a few seconds in the clear...

Laughing at the Absurdity of whatever I'd just said -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 98mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Laughing at the Absurdity
of whatever I'd just said

Across the way is another pagoda, which has apparently received a coat of paint sometime recently...

desktop background image of pagoda at the Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) in Kyoto Japan -- Mountain Pagoda 清水寺の泰産寺 -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 135mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Mountain Pagoda
清水寺の泰産寺
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This photo of the same pagoda taken in 2008 shows quite a different look.

Here's a picture of Gigi and Eric with the temple sticking out of their head (but, you'll notice, no one else in the background)...

Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 98mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos

The short moment that no one was near them seemed fleeting enough that I didn't want to chance the time to reposition myself to put the pagoda off to the side.

What the railing they're standing at normally looked like...

Typical Scene -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Typical Scene
Back-Area Paths entrance to a sub-shrine, and path to a mountain -hike exit -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Back-Area Paths
entrance to a sub-shrine, and path to a mountain-hike exit

Toward the rear of the temple grounds is a sub shrine that garnered a lot of visitors, with many folks stopping to take photos in front of the stairs seen at left in the picture above.

My eyes, however, immediately gravitated to the essentially-ignored path to the right (it leads to a hiking trail exit). The stonework on the path might make a nice background, I thought.

Standing In so I can check out the angles -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 110mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Standing In
so I can check out the angles

After actually giving it a try, I abandoned the idea of using the ground as the background, but instead took advantage of the stone and moss just to the side...

Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 82mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 150mm — 1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos

We eventually moved on to where one can get the quintessential view of the temple (like this, also seen here and here). In doing so, we were hapily greeted by this unknown couple...

Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 95mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos

(Their friend, taking a photo of them with an iPad, was next to me.)

It was threatening rain all day, but none materialized while we were out.

Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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)
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A girl asked Eric to snap a photo of her with her phone — not an uncommon request to a passer by — but she got more than she bargained for. Eric was in portraiture mode, she got the whole tilt your head this way... posing direction. She was surprised, but enjoyed it.

Impromptu Fashion Shoot -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 78mm — 1/320 sec, f/9, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Impromptu Fashion Shoot
Down Below -- Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 80mm — 1/320 sec, f/9, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Down Below

Near the popular place where you get water with a cup on the end of a lone pole, I noticed another spot that might make a good oasis-among-the-crowds spot. There's a looooong staircase that ends there... here's a photo of it from 2008:

Long Staircase at the Kiyomizu Temple this photo is from 2008 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2008 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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)
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Long Staircase at the Kiyomizu Temple
this photo is from 2008

In this photo from 2008, the railing on the right is metal. But during the visit yesterday, the railing on the right had been replaced by one made of stone, to match the railing on the left. Combined with the rocky/mossy background, I thought the location had promise...

Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 102mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 110mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos

After leaving the temple, we made the short stroll over to Camellia Tea Ceremony to take a peek. I'm not sure how Eric and Gigi came to know about it, but the owner has been an acquaintance since long before she opened this tea-ceremony business, so I wanted to say hi. Unfortunately she wasn't there at the time, but her staff was kind enough to show us around.

Slippery When Wet -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 75mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Slippery When Wet

I remembered another nice oasis-among-the-crowds spot in this area from this blog post two years ago, and though the light was fading as a brooding evening started to take hold, they gave it a try with a few shots...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 80mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos

As I waited, a couple of ladies taking a rest nearby smiled for my lens...

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos

Finally on the way back to my scooter, this young kid caught my eye, and I his (hers?) as his (her?) dad carried him (her?) like a sack of potatoes....

Cute Potatoes -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (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 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 75mm — 1/250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Cute Potatoes

One comment so far...

You’re blessed to live in such a beautiful country! I loved my day in Narita waiting overnight for a layover and exploring the town and temple there. The manicured gardens and quaint city was a great contrast to the two previous weeks I spend in the megaopolises in China. Your ‘Laughing’ photo is great – I love the DOF along the railing that draws you into the photo.

— comment by Geoff Hudson on September 10th, 2015 at 12:51am JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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