Archive for the 'Cherry Blossoms' Category

Pics of Cherry Blossoms and such

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.


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.


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


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.


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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A Visit to the Jikkouin Temple in Rural Kyoto

Following up from yesterday's "Tea and Sweets in Front of a Temple Garden", where I'm trying to make a dent in my photo backlog from last autumn, today we take a look at the setting for yesterday's post, the Jikkouin Temple (実光院).

The same water basin, but from a different angle with the garden-viewing room in the background, represents this visit on last year's "A Long But Photogenic November in Kyoto" post.

I'd visited with friends Damien and Paul while on a trip to Ohara, a somewhat remote mountain-village area of Kyoto. We'd just come from the most-excellent Housen-in Temple [...]

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The Effects of Aperture on a Subtle, Tranquil Cluster of Cherry Blossoms

This is a followup to my "Subtle · Pastel · Tranquil" post the other day, where I posed desktop-background versions of this cherry-blossom picture (blossoms at Kyoto's Ryouanji Temple (龍安寺), from a trip last spring covered earlier here and here):

Apparently I really liked the scene because I took shots at various apertures, and seemed to do an okay job keeping the camera steady (it was all handheld with a Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 macro), so I went ahead today and put together the animatable display above.

Of course, this is along the lines of what I did a couple of [...]

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Subtle · Pastel · Tranquil

It's been stressful for me lately, so I'm posting something tranquil to make me feel better.

On an entirely unrelated subject, here's a protip for folks living in a foreign country: when it comes time to renew your visa (your permission to reside in the country), don't forget; they don't like it when you forget.

(Japan didn't like it when I forget, but they kindly granted me "special permission" to stay, so I don't have to remember again for another three years, but wow, what a colossal paperwork headache I created for myself.)

Continued here...

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Kyoto’s Amazing Haradanien Garden, Part 4

Today's post is part four on the Haradanien Garden (原谷苑) in north-western Kyoto (prior parts: one, two, three, and a bonus couple photo shoot). Today's simple post includes three more wigglegrams, adding to those in part three and my first post from the garden.

Another Area of the Garden with someone crouching for a shot (the branch is waving to you) Damien in the garden

To be continued...

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Kyoto’s Amazing Haradanien Garden, Part 3

This post is a continuation earlier parts of "Kyoto’s Amazing Haradanien Garden", where in part one I introduced the location, and in part two I explained how it's wonderful even though it's quite crowded.

Folks wanting a couple shot would usually ask someone walking by to take it, but the couple above use a timer. (I tried to get the camera in focus and missed it badly, but I still like the vibe of the shot.)

As I mentioned in part two, the layout of the garden -- criss-crossing paths wandering on a hillside punctuated by dense foliage -- makes [...]

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Kyoto’s Amazing Haradanien Garden, Part 2

This post is a continuation from Part 1 of "Kyoto’s Amazing Haradanien Garden", with a bunch more photos that I hope gives a sense what it's like to visit at the height of cherry-blossom season.

I'll explain below why Haradanien (原谷苑) is wonderful despite the crowds, but make no mistake, it's very crowded.

It's crowded, but the layout of the garden, with wandering paths on a hillside, is masterful. There are people behind the lady posing above, but you can't see them, and that works well with the first rule of photography: "If It's Not in Frame, It Doesn't Exist".

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Kyoto’s Amazing Haradanien Garden, Part 1

Yesterday's post ("Photo Shoot at Kyoto’s Haradanien Garden: John and Ai") has inspired me to at least start to try to show the magnificent Haradanien Garden (原谷苑) in north-west Kyoto, a few kilometers in the mountains behind the Kinkakuji "Golden Pavilion" Temple. I'd made my first visit last week and from that trip had posted so far only one wigglegram, and then visited a few days ago for the photoshoot with John and Ai, and from that visit also posted some subtle pastel blossoms.

Having entrusted my route to get there to Google Maps on my iPhone, I unknowingly ended [...]

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Photo Shoot at Kyoto’s Haradanien Garden: John and Ai

I recently met Paul Barr and a pair of married friends of his for lunch, and we ended up taking the opportunity to visit the Haradanien Garden (原谷苑) in north-west Kyoto for a quick couple photoshoot.

It's still on my list to do a proper blog post about the place (update: it's here), from my visit last week from which so far I've posted only one wigglegram, but it's a daunting prospect because the site is incomparably wonderful. Anyway, you'll see a bit of the site in these pictures today.

It was John and Ai's first visit, so initially we [...]

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