Streets of Higashiyama

The main gate of Chion-in temple

I haven’t done a longer photo post in ages so instead of writing about the streets of Higashiyama, I decided to show them. These are shots from the Higashiyama area in Kyoto, taken between a relatively short distance from the Jingu Michi road to Kiyomizudera temple. The gate in the above photo is Sanmon, the great gate of the Chion-in temple, the headquarters of Jodo Buddhism (the Pure Land Sect). Many of the remaining buildings at Chion-in date back to 17th century, including the the Sanmon gate, which was built in 1619. Standing 24 meters tall the gate is the largest surviving structure of its kind in Japan and a classified as a national treasure. We passed by the temple this time, so I can’t give you a detailed description of it, but I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you any more about it than Chion-in temple in Wikipedia anyway.

Rikshaw ride in Kyoto
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From Chion-in we continued through Maruyama park. After the park we came to a street called Nene no michi (Nene’s path). The street is named after Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s wife Nene, who became a nun after Toyotomi’s death and had the Kōdaiji temple built to commemorate her husband. Nene no michi is said to be the route that she walked every day to her husband’s grave. The architecture in this area is traditional and unlike most of Japan, there are no visible telephone wires and cables in the area. The following two images are from the area around Ninenzaka, where the street is lined with small shops and tea houses. It’s a perfect area for a stroll if you are interested in the the temples, shrines and other traditional architecture.

A crowd at Ninenzaka
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Shopping in Higashiyama
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The final photo is from the stairs leading up to the Kiyomizudera temple. In the next post I’ll show you a few images from the temple grounds. Meanwhile, participate in my print giveaway to win a unique fine art print of one of my images!

A happy couple near Kiyomizudera
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1.10.2009 – Day 4: Dancers at Sendai Station

Dancers at Sendai Station

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The great thing about traveling is that you never know what happens next. When we got to the station, we noticed that it was unusually crowded and there were a dozen mascots standing in a row inside the station. It seems that the city of Sendai and Miyagi prefecture organized a tourism promotion campaign and we happened to be there on the opening day. After the big-headed mascots a few dancers and finally a group of musicians with drums and flutes entered the stage that had been built inside the station. The dance performance looked fun so we stopped to watch it for a while. Unfortunately the local media had taken the best places in front of the dancers so we mostly got photos of the backs of their heads. The video below was shot by my sister and she’s kindly given permission to use it.

Tomorrow everything will be better

Tomorrow everything will be better

I’m still working on bringing my old travel blog over to the new site, but I’ve also been working on some old images. This one was taken in Sendai and I intended to process it as a “realistic” travel image until I realized that there was a person in this image. I can’t believe that it took me four years to notice that little detail, but that changed the way I saw this image entirely and I decided took make it dark and moody. Once I’d decided to ditch realism, I went ahead and removed a utility pole that I didn’t like and applied split toning to give the image the look that I wanted.

I also decided to give the site yet another facelift. It wasn’t too long ago that I changed the theme and restructured the site, but I found that the theme I was using didn’t met neither my needs nor my expectations. It was a pain to update and customize so when I had a chance to try the current theme from Graph Paper Press, I didn’t think twice about switching it. I really like the new simple look, and thanks to the responsive design, now the site looks great even on mobile devices! And there’s more! I’ve also added a new page that displays my latest Instagram images – you can access it from the left sidebar menu. Hope you like the changes.

A couple looking at a bonfire

A couple looking at a midsummer bonfire

The holiday is over and its time to head back home. This is the last image from the midsummer series, but I’m going to stick with the summer images for the time being. With the temperature being above zero and the constant rain there isn’t much to photograph right now.

Unlike the previous image that I made to look like a silhouette shot in Photoshop, this silhouette was created in camera. I took these photos with a 70-300 lens I borrowed from a friend but since I’d never used it before I missed a lot of shots that night. I think it was worthwhile to try a new lens because I did get a couple of nice shots that I couldn’t have taken with my own equipment and I had no pressure to succeed anyway, but if you can’t afford to miss an important shot, it is better to stick to the equipment you’re familiar with and comfortable using.

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A midsummer silhouette

Watching the fire

Here’s some light for your Christmas eve. It’s not a very festive image, but I don’t have access to my images at the moment as I’m not home during the holidays. I’ll take a couple of days off from blogging during the holidays and return with more images after Christmas. Meanwhile, have a Merry Christmas, everyone!

People, Heat, Bonfire, Togetherness, Horizontal, Outdoors, Rear View, Looking, Finland, Heterosexual Couple, Burning, Cultures, Sky, Flame, Dusk, Silhouette, Adult, Color Image, Summer Solstice, Two People, Men, Women, Photography, Focus On Foreground, Adults Only, Couple, Jyvaskyla, Tradition.

Midsummer eve

Midsummer's eve

It’s almost time for winter solstice, but my image editing odyssey has brought me to a set of images from another of our great pagan festivities, midsummer eve. I took these a few years back in Kuokkala where the city of Jyväskylä was burning a bonfire. It attracted a fair number of city-dwellers and provided a nice background for candid shots.

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Waiting for the train

Waiting for the train

I don’t consider myself a street photographer, but I like to photograph people in their environments, especially when I’m traveling. I saw this young woman waiting for a train at Helsinki railway station from the platform I was standing at and thought that the train cars provided interesting frames for the image. I didn’t see what she was doing on the bench, but I thought she was probably checking her mobile phone.

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Heikki Hallanoro at Bar Vakiopaine

Heikki Hallanoro at Bar Vakiopaine

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to see a friend of mine play at a local bar and promised to post some images later. It took me a while, but here’s one of my favorites from that evening. Needless to say, the show was great and entertaining as he was not only playing and singing, but also reading short passages from his first novel. If you want to know more about Heikki, you can find his website here.

Maple leaf

Maple leaf against the sky

A quick update for Friday afternoon before I have to get going.

Here’s the second image from the autumn series I shot a month ago. When it comes to autumn and mobile phone photos, a hand holding a maple leaf against the sky or sun is probably one of the most common photographic clichés. Still, the weather was so nice and the leaves so colorful that I had to make my version of it. I’m not sure if I was able to bring anything new or personal to this shot, but at least its my hand in the image. I’m also happy about the color contrast between the blue sky and the yellow leaf.

That’s it for today. Have a nice weekend, and if you’re in Jyväskylä, come and see singer-songwriter Heikki Hallanoro, a friend of mine, perform at Vakiopaine tonight. I’ll also be there to take a few photos. Hopefully I’ll have some nice ones to upload next week.

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Fishing by the lake

Fishing by the lake

In July, I visited my home town in Eastern Finland. These visits usually include swimming in the lake and going to sauna. After we’d done swimming, I took a few sunset shots on the shore and my father spent a while casting his fishing rod. For some reason, I haven’t got that many photographs of my parents, so I took the opportunity to snap a few shots of him in the beautiful evening light.

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