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Archive for the 'Pretty Photos' Category

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

Sand Sculptures at Kyoto’s Silver Pavilion Temple

Last fall I visited the Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺, the "silver pavilion") in north-east Kyoto. It's named for a building that was intended to be coated in silver leaf (comparable to how the golden pavilion is coated in gold leaf). Apparently they never got around to actually applying the silver, but the name stuck.

As it is today, the temple is noted for its sculptured sand, including a huge Mt. Fuji shaped cone.

The minor entrance stone garden is not particularly special, with similar features easily found at other temples. But the main garden raises the level considerably...

There's also a [...]


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Rich Wood Views Inside Kyoto’s Zuishin Temple

One of the famous spots in Kyoto for plum blossoms is the Zuishin Temple (随心院) in Yamashina ward, and its blossoms appeared on my blog eight years(!) ago in "Plum Blossoms and Photographers". The style of both my blog presentation and photography has changed quite a bit in the intervening years.

Anyway, I made a visit this past March during plum-blossom season, but having already enjoyed the plum at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and at the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park, I decided this time to actually venture inside the temple building for the first time. I was joined by Damien [...]


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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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Lightroom Catalog Maintenance: Clearing Out Edit History For Potential Performance Gains

This post is about trimming down the file size of an Adobe Lightroom catalog. In keeping with the off-season them of my previous post (which was filled with fall-foliage photos), this post is sprinkled with a few photos from Kyoto springs past, chosen more for their mentally-calming effect than for photographic quality, which they generally lack. (Sorry)

In a nutshell, if you have a large Lightroom catalog, and if you don't need the detailed editing history for your photos, you might be able to significantly reduce the size of your Lightroom catalog by flushing that edit-history data, which might generally [...]


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Revisiting Kyoto’s Fall Colors: Shugakuin Imperial Villa Last November

Chatting with a visitor to Kyoto yesterday, she said that she really wanted to see Japan's fall foliage sometime. That prompts me to dip into my archives for a fall-foliage post today, with photos from a visit last November to the Shugakuin Imperial Villa in north-east Kyoto.

It was a brilliantly bright day and even with my polarizer filter (which normally has a wonderful effect with fall colors) the photos seem washed out to me, but some are still not too bad.

This is my second visit, the first having been covered starting in "My First Visit To Kyoto’s Shugakuin [...]


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Unearthly Steak in Japan at Awaji Island’s “Beefland Prince”

With Anthony away on a school trip, Fumie and I made a day-trip date to Awaji Island two hours by car south from Kyoto, where our first stop was a late lunch in heaven, A.K.A "Beefland Prince".

息子は修学旅行中なので、妻と一緒に淡路島の日帰りデートをしました。まずは「ビーフランド大公」でめっちゃ美味いステーキを戴きました。

You can't begin to imagine how good this steak was. When I say the steak literally melts in your mouth, I'm literally using the word "literally" for its literal meaning... the fats in the meat just melt away. It's almost unearthly when compared to any other steak I've ever had in this life (including the fantastic teppanyaki steak I wrote about the [...]


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My Mt. Hiei Climb Challenge 2014, Part 2

This post picks up from "My Mt. Hiei Climb Challenge 2014, Part 1", where I'd ended with having completed the ascent in good time and good form.

It was still early (12:45ish), so I decided to check out some of the temples farther into the mountains.

Some of the paths in these mountains were laid out thousands of years ago. I'm sure these old guardrail posts aren't that old, but this next photo gives a hint to the age because the bigger post, which essentially looks brand new compared to the guardrail posts, is dated April 1936...

Dotted here and [...]


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Kendo Masters Tournament in Kyoto, Part 2

This post continues from yesterday's "My First Look at Kendo: Masters Tournament in Kyoto" post, which introduced the kendo ("Japanese fencing") event I attended the other day.

These people (mostly men, but there were a few women) were 7th-dan masters (the max is 8), meaning that they've been doing this for at least 23 years. I wonder whether they get nervous before a bout.

With patience I eventually worked myself into a position that I thought would give great shots, right at the center line where the bonsai tree was directly in the line of sight inside the Japanese flag. [...]


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My First Look at Kendo: Masters Tournament in Kyoto

The other day I attended some very high level kendo (Japanese fencing) bouts, my first real exposure to it other than having seen a bit six years ago during a visit to a Japanese high school.

Last week I posted a couple of lone photos here and here, but finally I'll actually write a bit about the event.

The sign says something along the line that it's the 110th All Japan Kendo Martial-Arts Exhibition.

I live a short stroll from this place, so it's a shame that it's taken me 10 years to make a visit. I had no idea [...]


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Obeisance To Tradition

I've been feeling remarkably unproductive of late, sorry. I'm hoping soon to have a proper post about the kendo ("Japanese fencing") event mentioned a couple of weeks ago, but for now here's one picture from it.

Continued here...


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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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Dark, Brooding Camellia

It's been a busy week. As I mentioned in my previous post, we took a weekend trip to Aomori in the far north of Japan's main island, and on the way home I came down with a cold. I'm finally feeling better today.

While driving around the mountainous coast of the far northwest corner of Japan's main island, I came across a tree full of beautiful Japanese camellia (otometsubaki · 乙女椿). They're not difficult to find, but pristine examples within easy reach and not molested by wind are a bit more difficult. I've gotten decent photos on only one other [...]


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Weekend in Shirahama, Japan: Day 1

この間、週末の旅行でパンダが多い白浜(和歌山県)に行きました。

As I mentioned the other day, we took a short weekend trip to Shirahama (白浜), in Wakayama Prefecture a three-hour drive south from Kyoto. We left on Friday after Anthony got home from school, so arrived late in the evening, giving us all of Saturday and most of Sunday to enjoy the area.

We had a nice hybrid Western/Japanese room at Hotel Laforet....

The area is known for its small white-sand beach, and for having pandas (in what I assumed was a zoo, but as we'll see in a later post, the pandas are at an amusement/nature park). It [...]


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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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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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