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Archive for the 'Pretty Photos' Category

Posts including photos that I think are particularly pretty, usually about nature.

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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Finally Inside the House at the Seifuso Villa in Kyoto

Continuing with last fall's visit to Kyoto's visually-rich Seifuso Villa (清風荘), where the last installment ("From the Garden to the House at the Seifuso Villa") left us finally inside the main house that has gone mostly unseen so far except for its photogenic entrance foyer.

The grounds are opened to the public for a few days every year or two, but the house is not normally open to the public at all, so it was a wonderful opportunity to have an unrestricted tour.

The photo above is a 9-image panorama that you can scroll from side to side. It's got [...]


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Scenes from the 2014 Kyoto Higashiyama Lightup

夕べ、友達と一緒に京都東山花灯路を見に行きました、6年ぶりで。光源と影の間の明るさが大きすぎたので、撮影がなかなか難しかったです。

Yesterday after seeing the plum blossoms in the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park, I made a trip out to see the annual Kyoto Higashiyama Lightup. It was the first time since 2008, when I posed a report in two parts.

As I tried to take photos, I remembered why I skipped it all these years... the difference between the dark of the evening and the brightness of the lanterns and other displays is just way too much for a camera to do anything reasonable with, unless you move to HDR and its often unearthly results. (Unearthly results can be quite [...]


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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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Inside the Roof of Kyoto’s Chion’in Temple

In the article "Heading Up To See The Naked Roof of Kyoto’s Chion’in Temple" the other day, about the once-every-100-years roof repair currently being done at the Chion'in Temple (知恩院), I'd ended the story having arrived at the top of the temporary protective-shell structure where one could walk at the level of the roof, which had its tiles and battens removed to reveal the rafters and other components of the roof truss for the first time since 1907.

The roof truss was constructed in two distinct layers... the inner/upper parts were a regular gridwork of beams, while the lower parts [...]


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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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A Few Desktop Backgrounds from the Delightfully Whimsical Otaginenbutsuji Temple in Northwestern Kyoto

The New York Times Travel section recently published the article "36 Hours in Kyoto, Japan" (thanks Ed Pouso for the link), and one of the locations the author visited is the delightful Otaginenbutsuji Temple (愛宕念仏寺) in the northern Arashiyama area of Kyoto.

I thought it was a missed opportunity that the article didn't include a photo from the temple, which reminded me that although I've visited the temple twice, in both the spring and fall of 2012, I'd not yet gotten around to posting anything. My own missed opportunity, of which my photo catalog holds so many. Sigh. So until [...]


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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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From the Garden to the House at the Seifuso Villa

Slowly making progress from the outing already seen in:

Entrance Foyer to the Seifuso Villa in Kyoto Approaching the Tea House Between the Tea House and the Garden

(with photos also appearing here and here).

In the previous post we had finally reached the garden, so now we'll take a short walk through it...

The light was pretty difficult that day, quickly changing from brilliantly harsh to utterly dull. The shot above is from a latter moment, stylized a bit in Lightroom.

(By the way, I've come to the conclusion that when I say "the light was difficult", I [...]


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An Apprentice-Geisha Photoshoot Quite Unlike Any Other

And that last picture provides the first real clue that this girl is not the maiko (apprentice geisha) that she otherwise appears to be, because I don't think that a real maiko would flash the peace sign for a passer's-by photo like this.

February 3rd is the cultural holiday setsubun, known for bean throwing, the warding off of evil spirits, and some Shinto rites that involve intense bonfires.

There's also an old tradition, fallen out of popularity in recent decades and now mostly unknown to the younger generations, of transforming your appearance for the day into something you're not... if [...]


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Environmental Portraits in the Gion Entertainment District of Kyoto

I met this young lady several years ago, and was pleased to have a chance to make some photographs for her today. Her easy smile made it all too easy. I'd been borrowing Damien's Nikkor 200mm f/2 since the autumn without having encountered a reason to use it, but today provided the perfect opportunity.

I've barely looked through the images so this'll have to do for now.

Continued here...


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On the Approach to the Todaiji Temple in Nara

Dipping into the largely-untapped reservoir of things I want to post about, here are some pictures from a December 2012 visit to the Todaiji Temple (東大寺) in Nara, about an hour's train ride south of Kyoto. I posted a bit from that trip in "That Massive Column in Nara’s Todaiji Temple Is Nothing To Sneeze At", but it's a visually rich place, so I've been wanting to post much more.

I'd made the trip to take some pictures for a friend who is the author of Lonely Planet's "Japan" guidebook. A few of the photos from this trip made it [...]


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Sipping Sake and Seeing Silly Signs: Visiting Kyoto’s Sake-Brewing Area

I recently made my first trip to the area of southern Kyoto historically known for its sake production, which likely dates back thousands years. Written on the cup above is "月桂冠" (Gekkeikan), the name of a sake-brewing company founded in 1639.

Gekkeikan sake is ubiquitous in Japan. Here you see its name on barrels outside a temple in the area...

It's my understanding that the (certainly-empty) barrels of sake represent a monetary donation from the brewery, to match what in olden times was an actual gift of sake. In either case, the brewery gets advertisement and good karma.

This particular [...]


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Continuing with the Seifuso Villa: Between the Tea House and the Garden

Dipping my pen again into the very deep well that was November's visit to the Seifuso Villa (清風荘) in Kyoto, today's post has a bit more from early on in the visit first seen in "Entrance Foyer to the Seifuso Villa in Kyoto".

I vacillate on whether the photo above is of interest. I've deleted it (and then undeleted it) several times.

I showed the garden's formal tea house in "Approaching the Tea House at Kyoto’s Seifuso Villa". Near it are a few small buildings loosely connected with shared outside passageways.... one building being a prep room for the staff, [...]


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Finally Back in Kyoto, January 2014 Edition

I'm finally back in Kyoto.

My blog posts about my transpacific trips are normally simple affairs, such as (for example) this Kyoto-to-Ohio post from 2007, but the return trip from my trip to Ohio this year has been quite the ordeal, covered so far with:

Doh! Got to the Airport a Day Early to Find my Flight Delayed Four Days Finally Got My Return Flight Rescheduled Continuing Saga of My Return to Japan: Flight Canceled Again To No One’s Surprise, United Blames My Non-Weather Cancellations on Weather Halfway Home: Overnighting in San Francisco

The first four posts were of dread [...]


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More Frost Patterns from Arctic Ohio

Here are some more frost patterns from arctic Ohio, following up from the one I posted the other day. It was -10°F (-23°C) with strong biting wind when I took these, by hand, outside in the wind, up hill both ways. According to the image data, I lasted two minutes 10 seconds before I couldn't stand the pain in my fingers any more and gave up: considering that I had heavy insulated gloves, it's a testament to either just how very cold it was, or how very wimpy I am. Probably both.

I tried a variety of processing on these [...]


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Pretty Frost Pattern on a Window

Despite having heavy insulated waterproof gloves, I could handle the camera for only three minutes outside in the -10°F (-23°C) deep freeze that Ohio and much of the US had yesterday. It was just too painful for my fingers. The heavy, gusty, biting wind certainly didn't help.

(Today was different; 20°F (-7°C) never felt so warm.)

To be continued...


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