This view of Okazaki Canal was shot at the same spot than the one I posted previously, but to the opposite direction. The A view east along Okazaki Canal on Explodingfish.net shows the view East towards the city while this one shows autumn at Okazaki Canal and a view west towards the Higashiyama mountain range. Because it was early autumn, the trees on the mountains are still green and only a few of the cherry trees along the canal have started changing color.
First things first: I’m currently running a giveaway on Google+ and Instagram! A Japanese friend of mine sent me a few copies of his band’s new album “Adaptation”, so I decided to give them to someone who might like the music. Participating is simple and doesn’t require you to follow anyone if you don’t want to. The giveaway ends next Sunday, so if you’d like to get the album, go to Google+ or Instagram right now! The album is also available for listening on Spotify.
Here’s a music video for the song Ruri by Panic Soup:
The image above is one of the places at the Heian Shrine where people can hang small wooden blocks called “ema”. People can buy these wooden plaques from shinto shrines, and write their wishes on the plaque and leave it to the shrine in the hope that the gods will grant their wish. In the one in the image, a person wishes her mother good health.
There’s a short walk from the giant torii gate to the actual shrine. You enter the shrine through the main gate, called Ôtenmon, pictured above. The Heian shrine is a shinto shrine built in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of Kyoto, and it was modeled after the old Kyoto Imperial Palace. In reality, many of the buildings have been rebuilt in the late 1970s after a fire ravaged the shrine, but that doesn’t make the shrine any less majestic.
In addition to the great torii gate which, being 24,2 meters tall, is one of the tallest in Japan, the Heian shrine is also known for its gardens. Having a tight schedule we decided to see them another time, but at hindsight we definitely should’ve visited the gardens as well. The entrance to the gardens costs 600 yen, but the entrance to the shrine itself is free and there’s plenty to see there too if you just want to admire the buildings. Even though I have been to the Heian shrine a couple of times, the size of it still blows my mind. I hope the following photos give you some idea of the size of the area.
The building on the corner in the photo above is called Sôryûrô (Blue dragon tower) and on the other side of the yard there is another one called Byakkorô (White tiger tower). The photo below shows a close-up of the Sôryûrô.
Here’s one more autumn image to start the week. One of my goals this autumn was to photograph leaves flying in the wind. There was a strong wind on the morning I took this photo and I knew it was probably one of the last days before all the leaves were gone. I saw these trees next to our office and started working on different angles. I finally settled on the one you see above and began to wait for a gust of wind that would blow some leaves off the trees. It turned out to be more difficult than I thought and I kept missing the shot because of the slow response time of my phone camera (I’d left my DSLR home in the morning). I stood there a good while, trying to anticipate the right moment until I finally got a couple of promising images.
I took the one I liked best and blended in a couple of leaves from another shot to fill some spots in the sky I thought were too empty. I’m not sure if this was really necessary, but it made the image look more balanced to my eye. I then finalized the image by increasing color contrast and adding some vignetting to the corners in Nik Color Efex Pro. Although this might sound like a lot of post-processing work for a mobile phone image and the image was by no means bad out of camera, these final post-processing steps really made the colors pop – and more importantly – they made me happier about the image. Even if you’re not shooting in raw, there’s a lot you can do to improve your images afterwards with software such as Snapseed, Lightroom or Photoshop, and I see no reason to settle for what the camera offers you.
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.
Autumn is almost over and the leaves are already gone, but I haven’t had time to post any autumn images yet. I’m going to fix that by posting a series of images I took on a beautiful morning in early October. This boat is one of many boats on the shore of Lake Palokkajärvi. I walk by it almost everyday during my commute, but this time the golden leaves and the morning light created such a beautiful scene that I had to stop and try to capture it. I took a number of shots from different angles, but this one stood out.
To continue the bird theme of the previous image I posted, here’s an older one from last winter. Unlike the last one, this image hasn’t been modified if you don’t count slight cropping. A flock of waxwings were feeding right next to the road one morning last October and provided a good opportunity to get some close-ups. I haven’t seen any this year, but perhaps it’s still too early. This autumn, there haven’t been as many rowan berries as last year either, but hopefully there’s enough to attract a few waxwings to our neighborhood.