Tag Archives: Japan

Shooting through a storm

Yesterday we relocated from Narita to Akita by trains. I love Japan’s trains. clean, fast and smooth. Here are some from the window images. We shot through a storm as we crossed from Morioka to Akita.

For Hammad Rais’s Weekend Sky and Jez Braithwaite’s Water, Water Everywhere.


I have jet lag over the international date line so my computer, which doesn’t seem to update, says it’s yesterday. But yesterday’s gone.

My approach to jet lag is to go a couple of days early and spend them wandering around outside in natural light. The first day went well, today it rained, real rain with periodic gusts of wind. But I get ahead of myself.

On Thursday, June 1st I went to Sawara to work on my jet lag. It was a pleasant outing from Narita where I’m staying at the moment. I took a local train out.

View from the train window.

Walked through the old part of the city along the canal. They have some interesting little statues along the canal.

I then took a bus out to the Aquatic Botanical Garden, which is in it’s Iris Festival. They have a lot of beautiful iris. Some waterlilies were blooming. The wisteria was done for the year and the lotus weren’t flowering yet, although they have interesting leaves. The weather was perfect: not too hot or cold. There was a bit of wind

I had a bit of a wait for the train.

Sawara train station.

I didn’t fall asleep on the train and miss my stop. A not unfounded fear, as the sunshine and motion of the train were hypnotic and my eyelids kept drooping.

For Alive and Trekking’s Which Way and Cee’s Flower of the Day…actually yesterday.

A stroll down memory lane-ways in Japan

A narrow alley in Ube-Shinkawa, Yamaguchi prefecture Japan.
Alleyway in Ube-Shinkawa, Japan
Himeji castle on top of a hill.
Path up to Himeji-jo (jo means castle)
Vendor along a busy street at night in Nara for the Tokae Lantern Festival.
Street scene at night in Nara, Japan.
Woman with and umbrella walking up a lantern lined walkway to a temple entrance in Nara, Japan.
Lantern lined walkway in Nara.

These are from a trip to Japan in 2007. Our son was an exchange student in Ube-Shinkawa at the time. We visited a number of spots and by pure chance were in Nara during the Takae Lantern Festival.

For Alive and Trekking’s Which Way Challenge.

Notes on photo processing

I’ve been going through old photos from trips to Japan in 2007. Since they were taken with a low resolution, not-so-great camera I had to mess about with them to get back details, and remove chromatic aberration and noise. For these pictures I used Raw Therapee, Topaz DeNoise and Topaz Studio 2. In the end I used the impression filter in Topaz Studio 2 to give them a painterly effect, so the lack of precision is part of the art.

They’re everywhere: Fences from here and there

In Japan

In Ireland:

In Africa:

In China:


In Montana:

In Missouri:

I was surprised at how many fence pictures I have. After going through my archives looking specifically for fences I realized that I have a tendency t use them as framing elements in photos.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge-Fences

On the dark side

A very few of many sunsets



My first foray into both going off of auto and night photography, came from a desire to capture the Takae Lantern Festival in Nara Japan in 2007. These were taken with my trusty old Canon A510, using ISO 400 and a walking stick mono-pod.


Since then I’ve moved up, a bit, in both camera and skill, but I continue to use a walking stick/monopod and do not use a tripod. It just doesn’t work for me to carry one around. I am still quite challenged by dark pictures, in part because I don’t use a tripod and in part because I use a “bridge” camera, Nikon P610, which has a relatively small sensor so it wants longer shutter speeds and it gets grainy pretty fast at higher ISO settings.

I keep trying because I think night pictures often give you a better feel for the atmosphere of a place than day shots. People are off work and going about their business.

A few night street scenes in China and Japan:


I am often disappointed by the moon. My eye sees it bigger than my camera lens does:

The darkness of the night and motion of the boats in these pictures of cormorant fishing in Gifu, Japan, meant that all the pictures were blurry. I tried a “painterly” effect to make it seem like art instead of just a blurry picture.


I’m not a morning person so I only have sunrise pictures from far away places (where I have jet lag). Here are a few from Kenya.

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Sunset to Sunrise.



More Roads Taken

The rocky road on I am currently on getting is a wordpress.org site pulled together from one I formed when I took a class in web site design over a year ago. While the site itself is premature, I am starting to post galleries of pictures which may become relevant to its purpose.

I have not mastered how to get things linked up between WordPress.com and the new site. On that site I have two gallery posts for this week’s Daily Post Photo challenge: The Road Taken. Links to those posts are below

Kurobe Gorge, Japan

Road to the Top of Taishan

Himeji-jo Windows


Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Any geometric shape reminded me of a picture I took a long time ago in a place far, far away. The clean geometry of the cutouts in this wall at Himeji castle caught my fancy: they look so modern but are ancient. The cut outs are arrow “slits”.

It took me a while to locate it, these pictures were taken back in 2005, but they are in many ways timeless.


Rice Paper Windows

In Ainokura, Toyama, Japan they use rice paper for the windows of the old Gassho style houses. These houses are otherwise built very stoutly with thick thatched roofs. I found it curious that they used rice paper for the windows in such a cold environment. It probably helps with ventilation as well as letting in some light.

To my “western” eye the opaque white squares look strange.

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