Archive for the 'Cherry Blossoms' Category

Pics of Cherry Blossoms and such

Awesome Cycle Outing: Revisiting My First Real Mountain Ride

If you would have told me half a year ago that I would be riding a bicycle as far as 10km, I would have never believed you. Bicycles where for places too close for a taxi or my scooter or a car.

It's amazing how "giving it a try" can change your opinion about something.

On Thursday I retraced the path I took on my first "real" ride last February, covered in "Attempting a 100km Bikeride in the Mountains of Kyoto, Part 1: Hanase Pass" and then "Part 2: the Last 70km". The tough part of this ride is not [...]


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Pleasant 105km Bike Ride From Kyoto, Along Lake Biwa, to Takashima’s Shirohige Shrine

I finally made my first 100+km bike ride the other day, cycling with some folks from the Cycling Kyoto Facebook group.

Strava says the ride was 105km (65 miles). Even though it's 10% longer than the first long ride I did, this time was much easier because it had only 1,300m (4,200 ft) of vertical rise, only about a ⅓rd of the first ride's climbs. Even last month's 58km ride was much harder, again, due to having more elevation. Flat distance seems to be easy.

Anyway, as usual we met in front of the Sanjo St. Starbucks...

The route I'd [...]


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Highly-Visible Cycle Ride Though the Mountains of Northern Kyoto

For my first "real" cycling ride after my USA vacation, I had a lot of Under Armour clothes to choose from. I've been enamored with the brand for a while, so took the opportunity while in The States of actually being able to find my size to buy about a thousand dollars worth of the stuff, from sportswear to casual wear to jackets.

With sportsware I'm partial to loud vibrant colors, especially for visibility when road cycling. But perhaps in retrospect I shouldn't have quite gone so full throttle. Still, with this getup I bet I could always get a [...]


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A “Flowers Among the Flowers” Wigglegram at Kyoto’s Haradanien Garden

Here's a wigglegram from the same outing that produced "Photoshoot at the Peak of the Haradanien Garden’s Awesomeness".

I think it's nicer than my first Haradanien wigglegram, for a variety of reasons.

However, when I showed this to a friend, he said that he felt that the foliage in the foreground was a bit distracting. My reaction was "there's foliage?"

Joanne (at left) had to leave Kyoto that day, but Ting Ting (at right) joined my friends for a photoshoot the next day (which I couldn't participate in because I was making tofu). But I could join in the [...]


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Photoshoot with Ting Ting at the Murin’an Gardens

I spent a few hours today in the Murin'an Garden (無鄰菴) in eastern Kyoto, doing a photoshoot with Ting Ting, which you might remember from "Photoshoot at the Peak of the Haradanien Garden’s Awesomeness" two days ago.

Like two days ago, I was with Eric, Gigi, and Damien, but this time Gigi was behind her own camera as well...

I really enjoyed the situation with three photographers and one subject. While someone else is directing Ting Ting to look this way or move that way, I can capture pseudo-candid shots that I'd probably not get otherwise.

For example, early on [...]


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Photoshoot at the Peak of the Haradanien Garden’s Awesomeness

I visited the super-duper unbelievably amazing Haradanien Garden (原谷苑) today, in the mountains above the Golden Pavilion temple in northwestern Kyoto. It was my first visit since the photoshoot with John and Ai two years ago.

This time I went with Eric, Gigi, and Damien just to practice portraiture. Gigi wore a kimono she bought yesterday.

I can not begin to tell you how wonderful Haradanien is. When the blossoms are at their peak, such as now, it's 100× better than any other garden I know of, anywhere.

金閣寺の近く、原谷苑、は今メチャメチャメチャ美しいです。 行きにくい所ですが、今週はおすすめです。今日は全然満開でした!

I wanted a different kind of shot of Gigi than [...]


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Soggy Blossoms in Kyoto

One day of rain changes everything with the cherry-blossom petals. It was lovely yesterday with trees full of blossoms, but today's rain knocked many of them off.

A few days ago, the area seen above looked like this:

Not all areas/trees are affected the same... I think it depends strongly on where each specific tree is in its blooming cycle. Another cherry tree not far away seems unaffected by the rain...

Some varieties of cherry haven't even started to bloom yet, so there's still much awaiting those arriving in Kyoto today (such as Gigi and Eric; Gigi arrived today to [...]


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Back in Kyoto (Spring 2015 Edition)

After a day of uneventful flying, we've ended our month-long RV trip across the US and now we're back in Kyoto.

ただいま!京都に戻りました。

Now comes the daunting task of unpacking, processing my photos, checking a month's worth of email, dealing with a month's worth of blog comments about my plugins, and doing my US taxes. If I can complete all this, I'll need a vacation!


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Populating The Drive Bays of a Synology NAS Unit: Lessons Learned

(Recent posts have been filled with fall colors, so for some balance, I'm dipping into my cherry-blossom archives)

For the last few years I've had a Synology DS1511+ NAS unit... an always-on "network drive" that sits in a closet at home that I can access on my home network from all my computers at home. I use it for local Time Machine backup, as well as a local CrashPlan repository for various backups. (I also use CrashPlan to keep backups offsite.)

The Synology unit has five drive bays, which I initially populated with 3TB Seagate Barracuda drives.

That was a [...]


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A Few More Off-Season Spring Blossoms

I'd prepared a few other "off-season spring-blossom" photos that didn't fit into yesterday's post, so I thought I'd just post them today. All but the last two are from April 2013.

This was from the same trip that produced a wonderful bonanza of pictures that I've barely scratched the surface of.

The last few are from the amazing Haradanien Garden (原谷苑), which I've posted about at length in the past starting here.

I haven't done all that much blossom photography over the last two years, but I did snap this shot of the late-April blossoms on our recent trip to [...]


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The Thrill of Japan’s Biggest Waterwheel

While driving around the sparsely-populated coastal/mountain area of western Aomori Prefecture at the northern end of Japan's main island during a short family trip last week, in the middle of nowhere we suddenly came across something billing itself as "Japan's largest waterwheel".

It seemed at least a bit photogenic, so I stopped for a quick look.

The tree in the lower left of the photo above hosted the "Dark, Brooding Camellia" (乙女椿) that I posed last week.

The "dark brooding" was because of an underexposure. A shot soon after was way overexposed, but I think I recovered something interesting(?) in [...]


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A Few Cold/Blustery/Rainy Cherry-Blossom Pics from Southern Kyoto

Fumie had a ballet performance this weekend down in Nagaokakyo City, and I had some hours to kill after dropping her off for the pre-performance rehearsal, so I met up with some friends to visit some local sites with the camera.

この間の日曜日、長岡京市の桜を見に行きました。雨と風の間にちょっぴり撮影できました。

The weather was unpleasant (cold, rainy, and windy), but there was a brief respite just as I was arriving.

The little lake between the road and the shrine has a series of boardwalks on it, and it seems that they were all recently rebuilt with bare wood....

I'd think it'd look better with some nice stain, but perhaps [...]


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Photoshoot with Ikuko Among the Plum Blossoms, Part 2

This article continues from part 1 about last week's photoshoot with Ikuko-san among the plum blossoms at the Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine.

先週、育子さんと一緒に撮影しました、北野天満宮の梅林で。 今日の記事は前半の続きです。

This is at the "banana-juice tree".

"Tilt your head down a bit", I instructed, and bam!, such a different look:

And another slight change creates another dramatic difference:

Here's a wigglegram to give a sense of the orchard's feel.

Admission to the plum grove also gets you some tea and sweets.


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Photoshoot with Ikuko Among the Plum Blossoms, Part 1

The other day I did some photos with Ikuko-san, the friend we saw quite differently last month in "An Apprentice-Geisha Photoshoot Quite Unlike Any Other". This time we could see her normal self.

この間北野天満宮で育子さんという友達と一緒撮影をしました。(先月、このブログでは育子さんの節分の「変身」をみました、本格的な舞妓になる事でした。)

You'll perhaps recognize this scene from last month's "The Many Lanterns and Overwhelming Sumptuousness of the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine". She, too, was drawn to the many lanterns...

Before we got into the photography in earnest, she wanted to pay her respects (as described in the many-lanterns post).

And since we were at one of the best spots in Kyoto for plum blossoms, I felt obliged to snap [...]


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One From Yesterday’s Portraiture Session

It's been a week since my last post... where does the time go?

Well, yesterday a bit of it went into a photoshoot. This is not really one of my "What am I?" quizzes, but do you recognize her from when she appeared on my blog in the past?

Continued here...


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A Few from the Plum Blossom Orchard at the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park

今日は京都御所に寄って、軽い撮影をさせていただきました。

It's that time of year for blossoms of various sorts at Kyoto Gosho (the Imperial Palace Park). I've posted many times from there, including articles with an emphasis on the blossoms themselves and folks enjoying the blossoms and photos at 300mm and everything mixed together.

Today I knew a photographer friend was going to be there, so I stopped by for a bit while I was in the area on an errand.

Akiko is who I stopped by to say hi to. I'd met her a year and a half ago (during this outing) while she was on a [...]


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Plum Blossoms are Coming in in Kyoto

At Stéphane Barbery's suggestion that the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine's plum were ripe for the photographic picking, I popped over for a quick 45-minute visit today. This is the same place I wrote about a week or so ago, both in "Kyoto Plum-Blossom Preview: Scenes From a Year Ago Today" where I talked about how Feb 22 was too early for the plum blossoms, and in the less blossom-centric post "The Many Lanterns and Overwhelming Sumptuousness of the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine".

It was chilly (~10C / 50F), but a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere...

The shot above doesn't really "work" because the only [...]


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The Many Lanterns and Overwhelming Sumptuousness of the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

The Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) in northern Kyoto is perhaps best known for its huge plum-blossom orchard, but in looking over the photos I've yet to publish from a visit a year ago, I realize that there's so much more to show. So today we'll shift concentration away from the blossoms, and continue with the non-blossom theme that yesterday's post ended with.

All the photos on this post are from a visit a year ago yesterday.

The shrine has many buildings, but the main building is difficult to miss in its sumptuousness. As is common at shrines, there's a big [...]


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Kyoto Plum-Blossom Preview: Scenes From a Year Ago Today

I've been thinking that it's about time for a "spring blossom preview" post, to look forward to the many plum, peach, and cherry blossoms that the calendar will soon bring to Kyoto, and when I dip into my photo archive, lo and behold I find that it was exactly a year ago today that I visited the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮) and its famous (but only just starting to bloom) plum grove.

今日の写真はちょうど一年前(去年の二月二十二日)北野天満宮(京都市)で撮った写真です。

I've already posted the following from that visit:

Plum Orchard at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine: Not Quite Prime Time More Budding Plum From the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine [...]
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Revisiting the Ryouanji Temple’s Cherry-Blossom Garden

In my post last week about a trip to a Kyoto temple last autumn, I wrote about some out-of-season cherry blossoms that bloom in November. Continuing with my recent theme of visiting my photo archives, I'm going back this time not to last fall, but just to the more recent spring, to a trip to the Ryouanji Temple (龍安寺) in northwest Kyoto.

I've posted a few times from that trip among the awesome blossoms, including:

"Weeping Cherry at Kyoto’s Ryouanji Temple" "Cherry Blossoms at Kyoto’s Ryouanji Temple, Part 1" "Subtle · Pastel · Tranquil" "The Effects of Aperture [...]


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