Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 125 — map & image data — nearby photos
to the Saginomori Shrine (鷺森神社), Kyoto Japan
Continuing the story of my last post, “Revisiting Kyoto’s Fall Colors: Shugakuin Imperial Villa Last November”, on a day with friends last November in Kyoto, Japan filled with photographic delights, the story had ended with our finishing a visit to the Shugakuin Imperial Villa. We had some time before lunch, so we paid a quick visit to the Saginomori Shrine (鷺森神社).
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/2.5, ISO 320 — map & image data — nearby photos
the one in the upper right ask only “to hit it big in the lottery”
For lunch, we treated ourselves to French, at La Verveine for a $20 meal that in France would cost, we were told (by a Frenchman) 5× the price.
This appetizer was much better than my quick photo of it would indicate.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos
at La Verveine
I couldn't do the photography justice, so I put the camera away until the after-dinner coffee.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1400 — map & image data — nearby photos
and his cute little cup
With the visit to the Imperial Villa and such a fantastic lunch, we'd had a great day so far, but the best still awaited...
To be continued...
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 280 — map & image data — nearby photos
At the Shugakuin Imperial Villa in Kyoto Japan, last November
I guess this is a continuation of a post three months ago looking back to last November's trip to the Shugakuin Imperial Villa in Kyoto. We're still two months away from fall foliage season in Kyoto, but it's just around the corner for much of the Northern Hemisphere, so I guess this is a getting-in-the-mood-for-Autumn kind of post.
We'd left of on that previous post having headed up a hill to a nice view. The same view with an 85mm at f/1.6 sort of has a slightly-unreal look, as if it's a close up of a model...
As described in my first post about this location, the tour moves at a brisk pace and they don't like folks to stray ahead or behind. So it's difficult to get most shots without luck and planning. Here's one such shot:
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/50 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
The only way to get that shot is to be the first one down the hill after they tell you to get moving, or the last one. I was the first... folks came streaming down moments later...
(Coincidentally, I had dinner with Ken-chan and Damien last night at Via Transito, an Italian restaurant run by a friend. Was Tasty. When Paul comes in again November, the four of us will have to do it again and document the meal with photos .
Anyway, the lake doesn't look so great in the shot above, so here's a shot of the same covered bridge, but from the other direction, and with perhaps better lighting...
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos
The next stop on the tour was another little hut/house where the Emperor might have tea or something...
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/50 sec, f/7.1, ISO 1100 — map & image data — nearby photos
Kyuusuitei (窮邃亭) at the Shugakuin Imperial Villa (修学院離宮)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 125 — map & image data — nearby photos
while moving on the tour
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image data — nearby photos
the red hat is unmistakable
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 250 — map & image data — nearby photos
Our tour of this imperial villa was done, but another awaited, as did lunch.
in the game called “2048”
This won't mean a thing if you don't know this game, but if you do, I hope your jaw is suitably on the floor at that score.
When I still had the cold that I recently got over, I would sometimes pass the time playing the simple game “2048”. I played on my phone, but anyone can play for free at the creator's website. It's fun and addictive.
During this sick time a game would last a few minutes, and I could get a score of about 2,000. Anthony and I had a running competition, and at first he could do better than me. But as my cold subsided, I got better, and with luck, could get a score of 5,000 and once even 7,000.
Then a few days ago I got one hint of strategy online, and boom, my scores started going up. This hint got me paying attention to the gameplay in a different way, and from there I came up with some important rules of thumb that really caused my scores to explode. 12,000 then 29,700, then 33,000.
Unfortunately, the games started lasting longer and longer, and when I'm not sick I just don't have the time to waste on games. If I could limit myself to filling lost time (like in the bathroom or while stretching at the gym) I do it, but I don't have that kind of willpower, because it's quite fun.
Today's last game was sweet. Things were just humming along perfectly like a machine. Here's a screenshot I took at one really nice moment... this means nothing if you don't know the game, but if you do, you can imagine what the next few moves will yield...
nice and orderly
Things started to unravel when I allowed myself to get into a situation where I had no choice but to move down, along the lines of this mockup I made in Photoshop:
( mockup made in Photoshop )
So I had to move down, and of course a “2” tile pops up right where the “4096” tile was, and that started things falling apart.
By the way, if you're a programmer, this long thread at Stack Overflow, on computer algorithms to play the game, is fun reading. One guy's program could score 377,792(!)
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 at an effective 202mm — 1/1000 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos
a dead sunflower and pretty flowers,
representing the cold I just got over, and the getting over of the cold
I'm finally over the nagging cold I had for the last two weeks. It had relented a bit early on enough for me to write the posts on the gargoyle workshop, then returned and stuck with me until I finally went to the doctor the other day. He gave me antibiotics, and I started feeling much felt better the next day.
I couldn't concentrate on much while I had the cold, but to try to eke out some productivity, I picked a year (2008) and started going through my photo archive with and eye to delete cruft — stuff I no longer need, or never needed but had been too lazy to go through and get rid of. I got through about 90% of the 14,299 photos that I still have for the year, and identified a third as low-hanging-fruit that I can delete.
Wanting to post something now that I'm finally feeling better, here are a few pretty-ish shots from 2008. They're all taken with a Nikon D200, which was my first dSLR.
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 at an effective 25mm — 1/400 sec, f/5, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos
Heian Shrine, Kyoto Japan
From the same trip that produced “Snowy Gardens of the Heian Shrine”.
And a tree in the local park, during cherry-blossom peak:
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 at an effective 240mm — 1/180 sec, f/4, ISO 500 — map & image data — nearby photos
From the same day as Cherry-Blossom “Snow”.
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 at an effective 300mm — 1/500 sec, f/3.5, ISO 640 — map & image data — nearby photos
I don't know who the kids are, but I like the feeling of action the shot captures. From this day.
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 at an effective 127mm — 1/3000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 160 — map & image data — nearby photos
from the day that started here
Nikon D200 + Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR at an effective 27mm — 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos
from this outing
Nothing super great, and without the story that I normally like to write, but sometimes you just want to see colors.
Though here's a little story: after selecting the photos for today's post, and while starting to write it up, I went back to my archive see what other blog posts I'd written from the same outings these photos came from. It turns out that I'd already published a photo very similar to the one that leads this post, with the same metaphor of the dead flower representing my having a cold. Six and a half years ago, it was the lead photo on “Venting About My (sort of) Cursed Vacation”.
If nothing else, I'm consistent.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 52mm — 1/100 sec, f/4.5, ISO 2500 — map & image data — nearby photos
temple-roof demon end-piece tile during fabrication
at the Minobe Onigawara Workshop (美濃邉鬼瓦工房)
Picking up from yesterday's “Gargoyle-Tile Workshop Visit Part 1: Factory Tour”, we'll look a bit on how these complex decorative tiles are made.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 26mm — 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 500 — map & image data — nearby photos
Mr. Minabe shows a current replication project
( his father is the current head of household )
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 26mm — 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos
everything is done by hand
These are essentially pottery, so crafting is “simple”: create the shape you want out of clay, let it air dry for a few months, then fire it in a kiln for 30 hours at a bazillion degrees.
It's not that simple, of course. First off, with the lead time to the final firing measured in months, they can't afford to have pieces crack in the kiln, so they've developed crafting and firing techniques that completely avoids cracks. I didn't realize how extraordinary this was until someone else on the tour who happened to be a potter exclaimed her shock. Apparently some loss during firing is always expected.
Another complication is that the clay shrinks about 13% when fired, so they have to take that into account when building a replacement piece whose final size must exactly match the original. They deal with this 13% shrinkage (building everything 13% larger) day in and day out, so after a lifetime it must all be second nature.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 31mm — 1/60 sec, f/4.5, ISO 720 — map & image data — nearby photos
It's perhaps difficult to tell in the photo above, but the fang in the near-side edge of the mouth is missing in the version being crafted. As part of the tour, Mr. Minobe showed a bit how he models the clay, and in doing so added that fang...
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 4000 — map & image data — nearby photos
This is probably the most difficult part, especially for someone like me without an artistic bone in my body. He's got to get the general shape, 13% larger than the final desired size.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 4000 — map & image data — nearby photos
To create a good bond, he places rough groves in the clay using the fork-like tool that was the subject of my recent “What am I?” quiz. A lot of people guessed the fork-like tool had something to do with clay, but no one had the proper answer that it's for scoring a surface to be attached to another surface.
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 2500 — map & image data — nearby photos
Another bad photo, sorry, but if you look carefully you can see the fang has been attached. He's then using another tool to smooth part of the brow.
Of course, this is just the roughing in of the basic shape. I'm sure there's quite a bit of work and artistry to get the final sculpture ready for the kiln, 13% larger than the actual target size.
Here's a closeup of yesterday's “Massive Tile Awaiting the Kiln”...
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2800 — map & image data — nearby photos
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1100 — map & image data — nearby photos
replacement reproduction (background) air drys before heading to the kiln
At one point while allowed some free time to wander around the workshop, I noticed the current head of the household, Kei-ich Minobe, working on a project. As it happens, he was about to attach a strip of clay to a work in progress, so he was just starting to score the clay with the aforementioned fork-like tool...
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 720 — map & image data — nearby photos
the Mozart of clay
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 400 — map & image data — nearby photos
As I mentioned in the previous post, my visit to the workshop was as a guinea pig during a test run of Tour du Lac Biwa's “Special Japanese Gargoyle Workshop and Hot Spring Tour”. I also got to do the other parts of the tour (all for free!), except we had to cut the hot-spring visit short because a typhoon was coming in and we worried that the train line would shut down, and I had to be home for a late-afternoon appointment that I couldn't take a chance on missing.
I've much else to post from this tour, and from other tours I got to take part in. Sadly, a lingering cold this week caused me to miss a tour that involved zip-lining and kayaking. Maybe next time!