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Archive for the 'Nishimura Stonecarvers' Category

Views of the workshop and gardens of Nishimura Stone Lanterns, hand-carving stone lanterns and other decorative/religious items at the same location (Kitashirakawa area of Kyoto, Japan) for five generations.

Random Shots from a Kyoto Countryside Tour

I've tried getting this post done every day since "Little Pink Flowers" 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 days ago, but I keep getting caught up with Lightroom plugin work. I guess the balance between plugins and blog varies over time, with "blog" on the short end these days.

Anyway, the "Little Pink Flowers" post was from an outing a couple of weeks ago when I showed a visitor a bit around some of the fringe countryside areas of Kyoto. Our first stop was the Nishimura Stonecarver's garden, an amazing place that has its own category on my blog...

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Nishimura Stone Carvers in a Light Snow

I've been to the garden behind Nishimura Stone Lanterns (西村石灯籠) many times -- that link is just one of many posts; see the nearby photos link under any of these photos brings you to many more -- but yesterday was the first time in the snow. I posted a few moss/snow shots on my earlier post today.

There wasn't much snow, but enough to add just a touch of new character. I went with Zak Braverman and Nicolas Joannin...

For a few minutes the sun came out at the same time the snow got a little harder, and so I [...]


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The Colossal Battle of Pageviews: xkcd vs. Reddit

I'm adamant about keeping my blog content what  I  want to share; I hope others will happen to like it, of course, but I don't "pander for pageviews",* despite having been called an attention whore by a random Internet anonymous coward the other day.  So, I don't often pay much attention to my blog's pageview statistics, and I often go months without even seeing them, but I've looked at them this past week, and the results are interesting.

The photos on today's post, by the way, have nothing to do with the text; I just wanted to include some pictures, [...]


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Visiting My Photo Archives: Random Pretty Shots #1

Since my main computer (a laptop holding my photos for the last two years) is still in the shop, I'm taking random walks through the 90,000 photos in my desktop-computer's Lightroom catalog, dating through the end of 2010. I'm taking the opportunity to delete a lot of cruft, but occasionally run across shots I want to share because they're pretty or interesting or respond well to "weird" processing...

Photos on this post date from 2007 (with a Nikon D200) to 2010 (with a Nikon D700). But, at least, they benefit from 2013-level processing in the name of Lightroom 4 and, [...]


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Visiting the Stonecarvers’ Gardens with Mike Bennett

As I wrote last week, my former manager at Yahoo!, Mike Bennett, visited town. After seeing his girlfriend and her family off in Tokyo, he returned to Kyoto for a couple of days of touristy stuff with me.

I took the opportunity to try out a slightly-broken Nikkor 50m f/1.2 that I'd picked up on Yahoo! Auctions (which is the eBay of Japan). Even after I add the cost to repair the heavy aperture ring and slight rattle of unknown origin, it'll have been cheaper than buying a new one, but truth be told I bought it because I'd confused [...]


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Nishimura Stone Carvers, Autumn 2010 Edition

Paul Barr is in Kyoto again, and we made a trip to the back gardens of Nishimura Stone Lanterns, behind their stone-carving workshop, as we did last year. Even after all the posts last year (enough to merit a "Nishimura Stonecarvers" category on my blog), including a 51-photo "overview" post, there was much left to explore at the gardens.

Unfortunately, despite our visit being 10 days earlier than last year's, the fall colors were mostly gone and the trees bare, and to make it worse, someone had just cleaned up all the photogenically-endearing leaves from the paths. But on the [...]


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Stone Sphere

It's been a while since we've seen anything from Nishimura Stone Lantern stone-carving shop, so here's a close up of a stone sphere, tucked away haphazardly under the legs of a large stone lantern. (The combination is visible toward the bottom of this wider view.)

As I mentioned in "Deceptively Clear: Snow-Covered Mountains in Exquisite Detail", I prefer a darker tone to the image I use for my desktop background, so I'll give this one a try for a while. I've accumulated quite a number of them on my blog over the years, as evidenced by my pretty Desktop Background [...]


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Smoothly Curved Water Basins: To Moss or Not, That Is The Question

I mentioned in "Stone Carvings: Curves, Crowns, an Ouchie, and More" how drawn I was to the curved shapes among the many items in the gardens behind the Nishimura Stone Lanterns stone-carving workshop. I recall several moss-covered basins, but I seem to have neglected to take pictures of any. I'm really drawn to them while reviewing the day's photos, but I apparently didn't pay much attention while I was there because the only photos I have of them are Paul Barr's, who went with me on that trip.

One of my favorites is the plain curved water basin that I [...]


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Stone Carvings: Curves, Crowns, an Ouchie, and More…

Among the seemingly infinite variety of objects in the gardens behind the Nishimura Stone Lanterns stone-carving workshop in the mountains of north-east Kyoto, Japan, I was particularly taken with the curved pieces. And of these, there was quite a variety, including water basins, pedestal tops, lantern-top adornments, and sloping roofs like the one in the photo above.

The roof of this piece looks thin and delicate, but the original block of stone it was made from must have necessarily been thick and substantial, only to surrender most of its mass to the carver's chisel. The bulk of that original block [...]


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Another Stone “What am I?” Quiz: Star Destroyer!

Well, my previous stone-related "What am I?" quiz was apparently too difficult for everyone, so here's a softy....

I found this stone lantern among the hundreds of odd-shaped and beautiful stone carvings in the gardens behind the Nishimura Stone Lanterns workshop. Those familiar with the Star Wars™ world (or with the vast array of Star Wars™ toys their kids might leave underfoot) will likely find that these photos call to mind the Imperial Star Destroyers from the original movies.... especially after I write "Imperial Star Destroyer" several times.

I would assume that this was carved before any of the [...]


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Answer to the Stone-Puzzle “What am I?” Quiz

The answer to the Stone Puzzle "What am I?" Quiz is "lamp". It's made of simulated faux stone (that is, real carved stone) with a lamp and sensor inside.

It's in the garden behind the Nishimura Stone-Carving Workshop in north-east Kyoto, Japan, and was visible in the "Gazebo" photo on that post.


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A Superficial Overview of the Gardens Behind the Nishimura Stone-Carving Workshop

This post – #1,392 on my blog – is by far the longest I've ever endeavored to write, and yet at the same time one of the least fulfilling to present.

Great vistas like the Grand Canyon or an old palace find their magnificence in the wide view, in the sum of their parts, but the gardens around the workshop of the centuries-old Nishimura Stone Lanterns find their magnificence in an attention to detail. A wide view can help present a context for something of interest, but this site is definitely a case where the sum of the parts is [...]


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Stone Puzzle “What am I?” Quiz

So, I didn't stump anyone in my previous "Fairly Dirty What am I? Quiz", and probably won't this time either, but while in the back gardens behind the Nishimura Stone Lanterns workshop, amid the bounty of photogenic beauty of 800 years worth of stone carvings, I came across the above assemblage of stone (granite, I assume) whose purpose, like many of the pieces I encountered that day, seemed mysterious to me.

It sort of looks like a bench, but it's much smaller than that... maybe 8" (20cm) tall.

What is it?

Stonecarver-related posts are continued here...


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Stonecarver Daizo Nishimura at Work

In "Nishimura Stone Lanterns: the Workshop" I introduced a stone-carver workshop in the Kitashirakawa area of Kyoto that I came across last week. I visited again the other day, stopping first at the workshop to request permission to visit their amazing back garden.

The workshop is open to the street, and upon walking up, Paul Barr and I found none other than Daizo Nishimura, the 5th-generation stonecarver/owner at work preparing a stone for carving. I took the photo above before he noticed us.

Upon seeing us, he immediately stopped his work to chat with us. I felt bad about interrupting [...]


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The Boundless Potential of Nishimura Stone Lanterns’ Back Garden

As I mentioned yesterday, the visit to the workshop and gardens of Nishimura Stone Lanterns (a fifth-generation hand stone-carving business) and their back garden was an amazing, overwhelming, mentally draining experience.

I haven't even given my photos a first-pass inspection, but soon after taking the photo above I knew it was emblematic of our time there, and knew that I would post it early.

Here's a photo by Paul Barr of me taking it...

As you can see in Paul's shot, the leaves are resting on a fairly simple square column, with a few adornments at the top, ending with [...]


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Paul Barr + Stonecarver’s Garden + Lightroom

It was more amazing than I could have possibly imagined. It was overwhelming. I am so exhausted (from it, and from not having slept last night trying to build a plugin for Adobe Lightroom to import face-recognition data from Google's Picasa photo app) that I have not even unloaded my images from the camera.

But Paul, who has never used Lightroom, wanted to give it a try, so I loaded his images and gave him about a minute's instruction, and let him loose. Having been inspired by some of Stéphane Barbery's recent work – such as his Jidai Matsuri shots, [...]


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Nishimura Stone Lanterns: Garden Preview

The other day in "Nishimura Stone Lanterns: the Workshop" I introduced the workshop of a fifth-generation stone-carving shop in north-east Kyoto that Paul Barr and I "discovered" the other day.

Next to and beside their shop are areas just teeming with a huge variety of stone carvings. I assume it's their "warehouse" and sales floor (so to speak), but I'm not really sure. It sure looked pretty if you stuck your head in a bit to look.

Paul is standing just behind the old discarded cutting wheels featured in the Fairly Dirty "What am I?" Quiz the other day.

I [...]


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Nishimura Stone Lanterns: the Workshop

Out on a photo hunt with Paul Barr yesterday, we happened upon a stonecarver's shop, less than 200 yards from the site of the mysterious cut stones I posted about a few days ago. There's a real chance that they're related, though at this point it still seems very strange. (UPDATE: I later asked, and found out that the stones are sort of their overflow inventory.)

The relatively modern (within the last 30 years) workshop is right on the street, but without signage of any type....

There's not much around there... a few houses, a temple, a pet cemetery, and [...]


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Fairly Dirty “What am I?” Quiz

I was out with Paul Barr (he of the dubious camera-stabilization technique ) and came across a sight that he suggested would make a good "What am I?" Quiz, and I readily agreed.

Continued here... (though, here's a direct link to the answer).


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Mysterious Cut Stones in the Mountains of Kyoto

In yesterday's "Fall Colors in Nature, as Nature Intended" I wrote about an area of (what I think is) natural-growth deciduous trees in a long ravine along the mountain road between Kyoto and Otsu. In using the phrase "as nature intended", I meant to contrast the exquisite (but planned) landscaping of large temples like Eikando. I did not, however, mean to imply that nature intended such a gorgeous display of color to be marred by ugly visual pollution like guardrails, telephone poles, and junk.

But, like most areas of nature in Japan that are accessible to people, junk was aplenty, [...]


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