Night time walk in Nijo castle Kyoto

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.

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-joLooking up at the stars through the cherry blossom – magical!

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo Cherry Blossom

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo  Cherry BlossomThere were plenty of cherry blossom selfies taking place.

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo Cherry blossom

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoyo Nijo-jo

Nijo Castle Kyoto Nijo-jo

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.

Urban Landscape

Birmingham, just outside the Bullring.

Birmigham

En route to the bamboo forest – Kyoto

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.

arashiyama Bamboo forest KyotoAnd small piles of rocks along the outer wall.

arashiyama Bamboo forest Kyoto

arashiyama Bamboo forest KyotoStatues lining the edge of the shrine. arashiyama Bamboo forest KyotoWe 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

Testing the Sony RX100 – colour

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.

Birmingham Bullring 01As 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.

Birmingham Bullring 02If you want to capture light, indoors and in colour, the RX100 is a winner. No argument.

Parking in Inverness

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.parking in inverness

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

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.

IMG_5954

IMG_5963

IMG_5909In Tokyo we managed to find a few trees still with blossom, however in Kyoto there were blossoming trees everywhere! IMG_5913

IMG_5971I couldn’t believe how tall the bamboo had grown – and the way it all moved in the wind was somewhat mesmerizing. IMG_5972

IMG_5922

IMG_5934

IMG_5975

IMG_5993

 

IMG_5952

IMG_5996

IMG_5998

IMG_5999

IMG_5958

IMG_5959

IMG_6000

IMG_5879

IMG_5878

IMG_5892

IMG_5896

IMG_5877

IMG_5876

IMG_5891

IMG_5885

IMG_5868

IMG_5861I nearly missed this, but Carlos noticed this tiny little sculpture made of stones  – this was only about 5cm tall!IMG_5860I loved the traditional Japanese dress, it always looked so elegant. IMG_5857

IMG_5855

IMG_5880  IMG_5848 copy As with most places in Japan we took the train to get here – there are details listed on Wiki Travel here.

 

An iPhone photographer

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).

photo 2(2)I need very little encouragement to go into a book shop, but a sign like this will work.

photo 4(3)

I’ve recently started to bake my own bread more frequently – this was an attempt at fig and walnut bread.photo 3(4)

Delapre Park in Northampton, is home to these geese. photo 5(4)

They were pretty keen to see if we had any food on offer. photo 1(5)

Taking advantage of our new garden furniture and a bit of sunshine. photo 4(8)

This is a cat that lives near my Dad’s house, it’s deaf and quite old and has appeared to make my Dad’s porch it’s daytime resting spot. photo 4(12)

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. photo 3(9)

A grey day in London, but the skyline is still impressive. photo 1(12)

And to finish off this collection of random photographs I have taken over the last few weeks – a meerkat bench in London. photo 4(11)

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.

Many poses of Jenny the photographer

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).

_MG_9857 copyIt’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….

_MG_9617 copy Sometimes I am just not tall enough to take the photo I want!

Jennifer Ferreira in Japan

Jennifer Ferreira in JapanIn 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.

Jennifer Ferreira in JapanBack the DSLR, and back to using the viewfinder!Jennifer Ferreira in JapanAnd occasionally I get surprised by the wildlife – here in Nara where the deer wander freely!Jennifer Ferreira in Japan

Jennifer Ferreira in Japan

And even I can pose sometimes. Jennifer Ferreira in Japan 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!

 

The many poses of Carlos the photographer (in Japan)

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.

DSCF2409     At many Shinto shrines there are places to hang small wooden plaques (Ema) where you can write prayers or wishes.  IMG_4481The standard Carlos shot for trying to capture the entirety of a skyscraper.

IMG_4688There 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. IMG_4759There 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!

DSCF2489

IMG_4896Wandering through the bright lights of Shinjuku.

IMG_5141There were plenty of culinary delights across the different cities in Japan we visited. Here we tried some of the Okonomiyaki in the Dotonbori area of Osaka.

DSCF2520We hit it right to catch the end of the Cherry Blossom season (particularly in Kyoto) and so there was lots of attempts to get macro shots of the blossom. IMG_5439

A common pose – so many interesting skylines.   IMG_6223Here, 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. IMG_6277 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). IMG_6811

IMG_7076

IMG_7134And finally, posing for a photograph.

IMG_5654

Discovering Salcey Forest

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.

IMG_7169

I’ve always liked trying to capture illuminated leaves and the early morning light was great for this today. IMG_7171

IMG_7172

IMG_7175The tree-top walkway begins at ground level and you walk at an incline until before you know it you around 15m above the ground walking through the tree canopy.

IMG_7180

IMG_7181

IMG_7183

At the very top we noticed something moving in the tree, it was a squirrel having it’s breakfast. IMG_7191From the very top it was possible to see Northampton in the distance.

IMG_7194

Beautiful blue skies with wispy clouds. IMG_7203

IMG_7206

IMG_7208

IMG_7210

For the younger visitors there was a Gruffalo trail with a series of characters dotted around the forest. IMG_7215

IMG_7217

IMG_7218

IMG_7223

IMG_7225

IMG_7230It’s lovely to have a place like this so close to home. I’m sure there will many more trips here in the future.