Archive for the 'Desktop Backgrounds' Category

Posts with desktop-background images I’ve made

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 [...]


View full post »
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 [...]


View full post »
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.


View full post »
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 [...]


View full post »
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 [...]


View full post »
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 [...]


View full post »
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, [...]


View full post »
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.

[...]
View full post »
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 [...]


View full post »
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...


View full post »
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 [...]


View full post »
Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow, Part 3

A continuation from part one and part two of my nighttime stroll during a rare snowstorom in Kyoto on the early morning of January 3rd.

The photo above is much less impressive than the actual view was, with the trees receding at various stages up the mountain in the background in crisp relief to the temporarily-clear sky, it had a particularly three-dimensional feel, with added weight and depth due to the heavily-laden trees.

I wish I would have made it a Wigglegram. When this thought first popped in my mind as I wrote the caption above, it was as a [...]


View full post »
Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow

三日の零時から5時間、大雪のなかで京都市東山周辺でカメラと三脚と一緒に散歩しました。

At 100,000,000 US dollars for the single-family residence, I suppose it's not a Motel 6, but apparently he'll leave the light on for you nevertheless.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is reported to have bought this villa near my house several years ago, for a reported 100 million US dollars, though it's not known whether he's ever actually visited it in person. It's been reported, though, that he's pouring an additional 100 million dollars into renovations.

(Larry's house has appeared on my blog once before, here.)

Anyway, I wasn't outside his front door at 3:40 am just to loiter. [...]


View full post »
New Views of Kyoto from Shogunzuka’s New Observation Deck

When I mention "Shogunzuka", it can refer to an overlook with nice views of Kyoto that I often visit for sunsets, or its nearby temple. The latter has long had a dilapidated observation deck, but for the last year they were working on a remodel, and this past October they finally unveiled a new temple building and spiffy observation deck.

This past October 8th they finally had the grand opening, so I popped up for a visit.

The new building is actually an old building moved here and repurposed for use as a temple, but that'll be the subject of [...]


View full post »
Quality Time Among the Fall Colors

Almost identical to the lead photo of the previous post ("The Building at the Main Garden of the Kongorinji Temple"), but with a human touch.


View full post »
The Building at the Main Garden of the Kongorinji Temple

Last week's "Slightly Queasy Wigglegram" showed a small corner of a building at the Kongorinji Temple (金剛輪寺) in Shiga Japan, from a visit last month toward the start of this year's fall-foliage season.

This post looks a bit more at the building, which is not the temple's main building, but does front the main garden. (The main garden was seen four years ago in "The Kongourinji Temple: Main Garden, and Beyond".)

It can be partitioned into various rooms, but many of the partitions were slid away revealing an open view all the way through to the garden on the [...]


View full post »
Inside The Shodensanso Villa, Part 1

In "Approaching the Shodensanso Villa" last week, we ended looking at the main entrance to the 86-year-old grand villa just outside of Kyoto. Here's a view from the entrance looking out.

We received a half-hour talk in this room about the history of the place and the guy who built it (Tsunetaro Takaya). The whole time I just couldn't stop marveling at the ceiling, whose 4-foot-by-4-foot panels were each a solid board...

After the lecture we were ushered to another room for, what turned out to be Tea Ceremony. For a bit I had the room mostly to myself...

At [...]


View full post »
Photographer Introspection Amidst the Serenity at Kyoto’s Rurikoin Temple

Some friends and I paid a morning visit to the Rurikoin Temple (瑠璃光院) in north-east Kyoto on Thursday. It was my second visit, after the first two years ago when Damien introduced me to the place.

Two years ago it was probably about 500 yen (US $5) to get in, but I heard that they stopped being open to the public for a while. This year they're back, but it's 2,000 yen (US $20) to get in. It's a Buddhist Temple and so ostensibly a religious place (whose income is tax free), but during the fall-foliage season their business is [...]


View full post »
Approaching the Shodensanso Villa

As I mentioned in "Oppressive Crowds at the Shodensanso Villa" the other day, I paid my first visit to the "mountain cottage" Shodensanso (松殿山荘) this weekend. It's a half-hour drive south-east from my place in Kyoto, just over the border into Uji City.

From the makeshift parking area created for the special event, the path up to the villa looked like an empty river bed or canal.

Anyway, after coming up through the gate, one can approach the main house...

I didn't notice it at the time, but the lowermost tiles along the edge of the roof have the name [...]


View full post »
Autumn 2014 Trip to Kyoto’s Yoshiminedera Shrine, Part 2

A few more from yesterday's visit to the Yoshiminedera Temple, about which I posted last night in "The Whole Gamut of My Blog In One Spectacular Visit to the Yoshiminedera Temple".

The photo above is similar to one seen yesterday, but with a different, exaggerated presentation.

The parking lot was surprisingly unfilled, so we made a bee-line to the photogenic path seen in yesterday's lead photo...

Heading up that way, you get a nice view of the main temple building that we'd zipped on past, and the trees on the face of the opposing mountain in the background....

Sometimes the [...]


View full post »