Archive for the 'Desktop Backgrounds' Category

Posts with desktop-background images I’ve made

Paul Barr in Kyoto Day 1: the Tenjuan Temple (Fall Colors and a Wigglegram)

Paul Barr, in town this week, and I made a visit yesterday to the Tenjuan Temple (天授庵) within the Nanzen Temple complex. It was my second visit inside, my first visit here having been three years ago. Earlier this year, though, I did feature the main gate of this shrine covered in snow.

Anyway, the fall colors this year in Kyoto seem a bit subdued, but it wasn't crowded yesterday and overall was really pleasant. We ended up sitting and enjoying more than taking photos.


With the dark shadows under the overhang, and bright sunlight in the background, the [...]

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Visiting Horseshoe Bend in Arizona

It's been half a year since our vacation brought us to Horseshoe Bend in Page Arizona, so I guess it's time to finally post some pictures.

Just like the stunning Antelope Canyon that we visited earlier in the day, from afar the place looks like nothing special...

Being a desert, there's sand (very fine powdery sand) everywhere. A path through it leads from the parking lot up a long rise. Here's a photo from about halfway up, looking back:

When you crest the hill, you see pretty much what you saw everywhere else, except for the addition of a big [...]

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Scoping Out Portraiture Locations with Eric and Gigi at the Kiyomizu Temple

San Francisco friends Eric and Gigi are in town again. We last saw them earlier in the year buying a Kimono and playing in the snow. Yesterday they made a visit to the Kiyomizu Temple, and I popped over to join them.

It was a Monday, but the place was crazy crowded like during a high-season weekend. The economy must really be doing better.

Eric and Gigi like to shoot portraiture, and the challenge in a setting 8like this is to find places and angles that omit the crowd, yet still lend a feeling of the location. As we instinctively [...]

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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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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.


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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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。


Continued here...

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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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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 [...]

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Kyoto At Night During a Heavy Snow


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. [...]

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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 [...]

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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.

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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