Archive for the 'Pretty Photos' Category

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

Heading Into Antelope Canyon

My three weeks in The States visiting my folks is about to end, so I thought I'd post some photos from the previous trip in March, where we drove around the American southwest in a camper. It was a bit overwhelming, and I've barely looked at the photos yet.

今日の記事は今回のアメリカへの旅行の事じゃなくて、三月の旅からの写真です。 その時にはキャップカーでアメリカ合衆国南西部にうるうろ行きました。写真写るが良い所が多いですが、一番良いのは アンテロープ・キャニオンでした。

One of the most photogenic places on earth is Antelope Canyon, near Page Arizona. I posted one photo from it at the time, here.

At first it doesn't seem promising, as the whole area is bleak and desolate...

Visits to the canyon are via tour only. We went [...]


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A Hazy Visit to Onyu Pass with Arthur and Neil

Last month before heading off on my trip to The States to visit my folks, I did a nice little bicycle to Onyu Pass and back, an 85 mile (137km) round trip over two other major passes each way. I was joined by veteran riders Arthur Lauritsen and Neil Holt.

My first visit to Onyu Pass had been during a day of incessant rain a month prior, and as such the supposedly-spectacular views were shrouded in clouds. I hoped for something better this time, but was left disappointed due to the extreme haze of the hot (35℃/95℉) humid air.

At [...]


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Morning Calm at Kyoto’s Hirosawa Lake

On a morning bicycle ride other day to Kyoto's western mountains, I made a few snapshots of Hirosawa Lake. It feels like it's a million miles from anywhere, but it's actually just one mile northeast from the teeming tourist crowds in the Arashiyama area.


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The Solemn Uniqueness of Kyoto’s Kuginuki Jizo Temple

Without question, the most unique and solemn temple I've ever come across in Japan is the small but emotionally-packed Kuginuki Jizo Temple here in Kyoto.

今まで出会ったお寺の中で、一番面白いな、いかめしいお寺は京都にある釘抜地蔵です。 日本語で説明は難しいですが、ウィキペディアでは説明があるはず。

Its official name is The Shakushoji Temple (石像寺), but its name in the local vernacular, kuginuki jizou (more or less "nail-pulling guardian deity") reflects the images of nail and spike pullers that permeate the temple grounds...

Until you understand the meaning behind it, it certainly feels quite odd. But once you understand the meaning (which we'll get to below), you'll understand why the temple is so solemn.

As is common with jizo statues [...]


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Obama Hosts My First Bicycle Visit to the Sea

Tuesday was the "Sea Day" holiday in Japan, so I took the opportunity to make my first bicycle ride to the sea. Kyoto is about as far from the sea as a big city gets in Japan, so even though I've been to a lake that looks like an ocean, I'd not yet been by bicycle to the actual ocean.

この間のは海の日で初めての海までのサイクリングをしました、京都市内から。二時間の帰り電車を含めて17時間掛かりました。157キロを走って、一番山が多い道を選びました。 獲得高度は2,800mでした。 楽しかった。

It was a long trip.

I left the house at 4:24am, and returned 17 hours later at 9:33pm, though two hours of that was the return from the ocean by train. All in all it was 151km [...]


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Bicycle Ride Around Japan’s Largest Lake, Part 2

一ヶ月前の琵琶湖一周の物語を続きます。第一幕はこちら。

I'm finally getting around to continue the story from "Bicycle Ride Around Japan’s Largest Lake, Part 1", a 230km (143 mile) ride I did with a few friends a month ago. I've done a bunch of long rides since (115km, 143km, 147km, 145km, 50km, and 140km), but this remains my longest ride so far.

Here I'll repeat the map that leads the first post:

In the upper-rightish is the city of Nagahama, and that's about where the first post ended, so that's where this one picks up. We're moving around the lake in a counter-clockwise direction, so we're still [...]


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That Kyoto Temple With the Many Whimsical Statues

After so many cycling-related posts lately, it's time I get back to my basics with some pretty photos.

最近僕のブログはサイクリング関係ばかりみたいので、やっぱりたまに美しい京都の写真にも戻らなければいけない。

I've been meaning to write about the Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple (愛宕念仏寺) temple for years, and indeed all the photos on this post are from 2012 (from visits to the temple in April and December of that year). A few of the photos appeared a year ago in "A Few Desktop Backgrounds from the Delightfully Whimsical Otaginenbutsuji Temple", and one appears as the subject of my Photo-Development Challenge #2.

It's at the far north end of the Arashiyama area that is already [...]


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Bicycle Ride Around Japan’s Largest Lake, Part 1

I had a nice bicycle outing on Wednesday with friends, riding around Lake Biwa (the largest lake in Japan). I ended up covering about 230km (143 miles).

Despite being almost twice as long as my previously-longest ride, it was much easier for two reasons: it was mostly flat (just 1,600m / 5,250' of vertical climb over the 230km, compared to, for example, 2,500m / 8,300' over 99km), and I was much better at keeping myself filled with calories. I'm starting to discover that it's easier to ride the bicycle when you have energy.

To explain the last line of the [...]


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Miyama Cycling Tour with Joshua and Manseki, Part 2

Continuing from "Miyama Cycling Tour with Joshua and Manseki, Part 1", this post picks up after we (Joshua Levine, Manseki Kanemitsu, and I) had left the main road to take an old road over a mountain instead of a new, flat, boring tunnel through it.

When we turned a corner and were presented with this vista, I jokingly asked Josh to return so I could have some "human interest" in my photo, and even though I was obviously joking, being the mensch he is, he hesitated only long enough to flash a big grin, and bolted down. Just as quickly, [...]


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Discovering Kyoto’s Wonderful Toji-in Temple on a Tour with NORU

I had a fun outing this morning on a temple tour led by Joshua Levine, who wanted to lead a test tour in preparation for offering tours by bicycle as part of his "cycle cafe" NORU, scheduled to open near the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine at the end of the month.

Unlike the cafe whose target demographic is cyclists, the tours merely use bicycle as a means to move around freely, so they're cute highly-adjustable easy-to-ride little bikes. Riders ranged from 153cm to 192cm (5'0 ~ 6'2) and we all had a great fit. The bikes were surprisingly easy to ride.

[...]
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Architectural Details at the Kyoto Imperial Palace

最近の記事はサイクリングと撮影ソフトばかりので、やっと僕の基本に一雄戻ります。

I've been posting mostly cycling and Lightroom stuff lately, so time to return a bit to my roots with something Kyoto...

Last November I took a tour of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, and at the time posted "A Few Photos From The Start of a Visit to the Kyoto Imperial Palace", but got sidetracked, as I often do, before posting more. So today I'm picking up from there with a few architectural shots....

Let's start with a simple wigglegram of the courtyard that ended the previous post...

Looking through, the columns and doors on the wall on the right [...]


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Matt Campagna Wigglegrams Kyoto

I got to meet Matt Campagna of The Turning Gate Software yesterday for coffee, conversation, and a hike over the mountain paths of the Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社). He makes highly-regarded Web Gallery plugins for Lightroom, so we had plenty to talk about with the release of Lightroom 6 that had happened earlier that day.

I think this is my second wigglegrams I've published from this location, the first having been this one in December. Neither are quite as nice the previous wigglegram I published last weekend. 😉

I've tweaked the code for the wigglegram on this one so [...]


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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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Ohio Amish Farm

After crossing the Rockies and leaving Denver, we drove 1,500 miles to make our way to Ohio to visit my folks. It was chilly at 17°F. Today we took a leisurely drive around some Amish country in northeast Ohio, and even though the countryside is still stuck in the blah of winter, it's remarkably beautiful country.

Dinner at Der Dutchman was a fantastic followup.

Tomorrow we return the RV and head to the airport.

デンヴァー市から東へ、2,500kmの運転の後、僕が育った所(オハイオ州)に到着しました。 今日は実家から一時間位離れているアーミッシュの田舎を見に行きました。平穏な所です。

明日は空港へ。

Continued here...


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Vacation Update: Bryce Canyon Hike

After visiting Bryce Canyon National Park yesterday mostly by car, today we went back for a short hike.

Here's a bonus wigglegram:

This evening we're in Grand Junction, Colorado, four hours out from Denver. We'll probably stay in Denver tomorrow.

Continued here...


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Vacation Update: Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

After yesterday's wonderful visit to the Grand Canyon, today outdid it.

This evening we're at Ruby's Inn near Bryce Canyon National Park. They have an RV campground that's not open yet, but they also have some RV spots with electrical hookup right behind the hotel, and that's where we're staying. This place is fantastic (best RV spot we've had so far), and we quickly decided to stay here tomorrow night as well so we can enjoy Bryce Canyon at leisure tomorrow.

Vacation photos are continued here; more from Antelope Canyon is here.


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Attempting a 100km Bikeride in the Mountains of Kyoto, Part 2: The Last 70km

In part 1 about last weekend's cycling into the mountains north of Kyoto, I ended the story 23km into the journey at the top of the Hanase Pass (花背峠). At 769m it would be the highest point of the trip (a trip that started and ended at an elevation of about 60m).

With a nice downhill to look forward to, I didn't linger long at the pass. After a minute-and-a-half's rest and a selfie, I carried on.

I couldn't let myself build up much speed because the road was quite snowy/icy, so I dragged on the rear brake most of [...]


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Unexpectedly Snowy Photoshoot at the Joshokoji Temple

Through the cycle group that I mentioned last week, I met photographer/triathlete Kumiko Mini, who as it happened was expecting photographer friends from San Francisco to join her for a week of photography fun in Kyoto. I got to tag along on a trip into the mountains where they planned to do a little photoshoot at a temple far away from the crowds of the city.

There was no forecast for snow, but as we got into the mountains the flakes started coming and got thicker by the minute. The mountains turned splendid with a puffy, frosty blanket.

By the [...]


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