*Kimonos & Vending Machine*
There are so many vending machines in the streets of Japan, that I was bound to encounter something very traditional in front of a vending machine. It’s likely that these ladies are Chinese tourists disguised in kimonos rather than authentic Japanese ladies, but still, the clash between ancient and modern is quite on display here…
Sometimes what’s interesting in a potential shot is not the subject (or not only the subject) but the way the light hits the subject. In Kyomizu-dera in Kyoto there were many interesting subjects, but this one combined traditional Japanese architecture and interesting light…
*The Temple and the Pinetree*
The weather wasn’t exactly the best when I visited the Kinkaku-jin, also known as the Golden Temple in Kyoto. But maybe that overcast subdued light contributes to a certain atmosphere that a blazing temple in the bright light might not have conveyed. It was overcrowded when we got there, but I immediately spotted the pinetree on its little island as a possible call and response to the temple itself, hence the title and the composition.
The pervasive smell of burnt incense is part of the amazing sensory experience of Buddhist temples. This was shot on instinct as I was near blinded by the light coming through the scaffolding at Kyomizu-dera.
In Kyoto I discovered that temples had an entirely different character at night. Some areas are unlit (and even my XT3 isn’t good enough to shoot those without a tripod) but some areas are lit selectively, which makes for really moody shots. This guy was hurrying to visist every shrine and offer a quick prayer.
I would have loved to do a long exposure shot of this zen garden at the back of Nijo Castle, but tripods were (understandably) not allowed, so I had to make do with stabilization. Still, I quite like the end result, benefiting from a rare ray of sunlight.
Ever since I was a teenager I was fascinated with Sengoku era Japan. Visiting Nijo castle brought back all of these fantasy images of samurais and ninjas, and even though intellectually I know how different from reality these images are, the visit brought me back to my childhood dreams. I kept trying to capture evocative images rather than descriptive ones, and this one falls in that camp.
My daughter insists on lighting candles for the dead wherever we go (and no matter what the religious denomination) which is how I ended up on the other side of the candle rack in Kyomizu-dera temple. When I saw these two light their own candles (more likely Chinese tourists dressed in kimonos than actual kimono wearing Japanese) I knew I had a good shot.
Fuji x100f, 28mm, f/4, 1/15s, ISO 1600
I remember spending a fair bit of time in the NYC subway shooting passers by at shutter speeds of around 1/10s or 1/15s. You get a lot of blurry shots, but when you manage to stay steady, you capture some of the motion. With a wider angle lens (a 28mm in this case) it’s a bit easier and I find that at 1/15s I can more or less consistently shoot a sharp shot. I liked those columns and the contrast produced by the black band of tiling, that’s why I chose this Tokyo underground spot.
Fuji x100f, 28mm, f/2, 1/60s, ISO 1250
Compared to the Paris metro, the Tokyo metro is clean as a hospital. I wanted to capture all this white and thought that doing it in a mirror would be a little more original. I guess it would have been more effective at rush hour, maybe an idea for the next trip…