Nijo castle in Kyoto is a UNESCO World Heritage site (as part of a selection of Historic Monuments in Kyoto) and it’s not difficult to see why – it is an imposing site in the city. We had a special visit to the castle as we visited in the evening, with late opening hours as part of the Cherry Blossom Festival.
The Japanese castle we saw were all very impressive, but it was such an incredible experience to walk around the castle grounds as the sunset and the castle lit up.
I found it really difficult to select photos for the recent post on the Arashiyama Bamboo forest in Kyoto, and eventually I decided to leave a few photos of our walk from the train station to the forest from another post. I very much enjoyed taking the local trains to places in Japan (as well as the superb Shinkansen bullet trains too), as it meant we ended up walking around different neighborhoods trying to get to the sites we wanted to visit. The photos in this post were taken on the way to the bamboo forest. There are shrines everywhere in Japan, and while there are often common features, they were all seemed very individual – this shrine had much larger statues than we saw in some of the other smaller shrines in residential areas.
Statues lining the edge of the shrine. We saw many statues in Japan that would have different types of red cloth attached in various ways. The best explanation of why this takes place, can be found on Daily Onigiri (extract included below).
“One of the things you’ll commonly come across in Japan are little statues, usually dressed in a red bib, called Ojizo-sama. They tend to be small and can be usually found along roadsides, around temples, and in cemeteries. So what do they mean? The ojizosama statues are one of the most popular Japanese divinities and are seen as the guardian of children (note their baby-like faces), particularly of children who died before their parents. What tourists usually find amusing are the red bibs that are commonly seen hanging on the statues. This practice is said to have begun when grieving parents put their child’s bib on the statue in hopes it would protect the child in the other world. Sometimes they even put toys and cartoon figurines around ojizosama, who are also said to be protecting children from illness.
The Japanese believe that all living and non-living things have a life and soul. That’s why they often dress up ojizosama statues in hats or some other type of clothing to protect them from cold weather. Ojizosama are also believed to protect firefighters and travellers. Thus, these statues can be even seen along lone roads. Particularly in Kyoto, there are something over 5000 of ojizosama statues.” Source: DailyOnigiri
I am continuing to look back at photos I took earlier in the year, and processing the RAW files. Here are some shots I took on my very first outing with the Sony RX100, which was simultaneously my first trip ever to Birmingham.
These two photos were taken inside Birmingham’s Bull Ring. I was testing out the camera’s capacities to shoot in colour. I love it! Check out the way it captures the neon lights.
As you can see, the RX100 loves colour. I was first alerted to this camera after seeing this post by Michael Johnston, The Online Photographer. I just loved the way the camera was dealing with light indoors – something notoriously difficult.
Hello again! Sorry for the long silence – I feel like a neglectful blogger. Between a hard slog at work and a sense of exhaustion from photography after the Japan trip, I’ve simply not been able to post anything.
Anyway, here is a lovely little memento from a recent trip to Scotland. It was one of those interesting moments when, as a photographer, you see something on the street and immediately know what you want the final photo to look like, monochrome conversion and all.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of many wonderful places we visited in Kyoto. I’ve seen this place in so many guide books, and often on many blogs that feature Japan. What made more of an impression of this forest was the sounds that were made by the bamboo trees clashing together every time there was a bit of a breeze. We visited in the early afternoon and the light was quite harsh so in the end I never managed to get the shots I really wanted of this site, but nevertheless a totally magical place to visit (even with the large crowds of people). There were so many pictures to choose from for this post – so I have tried to select the best, but this is still quite a lengthy post.
As with most places in Japan we took the train to get here – there are details listed on Wiki Travel here.
I’ve never really chosen my mobile phone for it’s camera choices, and in general I have taken very few photographs this way. In the past I tried using the iPad to take photographs in London, but in general I found it awkward and the quality wasn’t anywhere near anything I could get from any of my cameras. Recently I have moved over to an iPhone and I am quite impressed with its camera function. So over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying out the iPhone to take photographs in different situations to see how it performs.
Coffee in Free State coffee on Southampton Row in London – probably one of the best coffees I’ve had in London for some time (they also do amazing croissants as seen in the background here).
I had some work to do in London and so stopped by Borough market for some lunch. The Brindisa chorizo sandwich is apparently world famous – and after tasting one I can see why.
I’ll admit it that it is a pretty random collection of photographs but I think it does show that the camera function on the iPhone is actually quite good. I’m still not going to switch to using this from the X10 or Canon100D but it is useful to know I can capture things at short notice, as these days I have my phone with me nearly all the time.
Following on from the photographs of Carlos from Japan, this blog post includes some shots of myself.
I particularly like to try to get macro shots of flowers with interesting background – here I was trying to get the temple in the shot (which will be posted soon).
It’s funny, when I was looking for a compact camera to complement my DSLR I wanted one with a viewfinder, however I find myself mostly using the view screen on the Fujifilm. I think it’s easier in terms of lining up the shot – and if you take me to any kind of outdoor related activity you will usually at some point find me looking like this….
In Japan I always felt like there was literally so much to take photographs off that whenever I stopped to look around I didn’t know where to start – hence we have ended up with thousands of photographs to process.
And even I can pose sometimes. So the posts this week were a little insight into the people behind the lenses on Oblique Exposure – there will more regular posts soon with even more highlight from Japan interspersed with snapshots of Northamptonshire!
Some time ago I created a blog post with various images of Carlos in different poses showing how sometimes to get that shot you really want, you need to alter your angle. I decided that I would create another of these posts first showing Carlos and second showing myself. Also it’s sometimes nice to see the photographer behind the blog so there are a few additional photos in here too.
A good breakfast is always the best way to start the day…particularly when you are going to be walking and taking photographs all day. This was the first time we had the traditional Japanese breakfast.
There are many wide boulevards in Tokyo which seemed to stretch forever. I had wanted to take this shot as I crossed the road, and by the time I had reached the other side Carlos was already standing on the central reservation. There were plenty of stops for snacks to regain our energy. We spent most of our days just walking around different cities in Japan. I find walking (as opposed to taking the subway all the time) a great way to see different areas of the city. This was in McDonalds whicb had surprisingly good coffee!
A common pose – so many interesting skylines. Here, trying to position Osaka castle in the background. Another reminder of the importance of looking for details when walking about. I hadn’t seen these little bird sculptures on the barrier when I first walked past. We didn’t take too many lenses with on this trip as we didn’t want to be weighed down, or have to spend too much time changing lenses. However, we did take our compact cameras (my Fujifilm X10 and Carlos’ Sony RX100).
Those who follow our blog or who visit regularly may have noticed a sustained period of silence. Life has been so busy since we returned from Japan that there just hasn’t been time to focus on photography – there are still thousands of photographs from Japan to be sorted through! However, this weekend for the first time in quite some time we were able to get outside and actually take the cameras with us. We are still adjusting to being in Northamptonshire, but today we visited what must be one of the nicest places in the county. Salcey Forest is just outside Northampton and has a series of trails for walking, cycling, and horse riding. There are also a series of treetop walkways, and a ‘Tree Ninja’ course for the younger ones.
For the younger visitors there was a Gruffalo trail with a series of characters dotted around the forest.