Rodney Campbell's Blog

Ryoanji Temple…

by on Dec.10, 2016, under Life, Photography

Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺) is the site of Japan’s most famous rock garden. My relatives arrived in the early morning to whisk us away on a day of exploration through some of Kyoto’s most treasured locations.

The temple’s name is synonymous with the temple’s famous “Zen garden”, the karesansui (dry landscape) rock garden, thought to have been built in the late 15th century.

Zen

Zen

NIKON D750 + 15.0 mm f/2.8 @ 15 mm, 1/4000 sec at f/8, ISO 100

The garden consists of a rectangular plot of pebbles surrounded by low earthen walls, with 15 rocks laid out in small groups on patches of moss. An interesting feature of the garden’s design is that from any vantage point at least one of the rocks is always hidden from the viewer.

The temple and its gardens are listed as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Ryoanji Temple

Ryoanji Temple

NIKON D750 + 15.0 mm f/2.8 @ 15 mm, 1/15 sec at f/8, ISO 360

Then it was on to the nearby Golden Pavilion.

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Walking Back Through Time…

by on Dec.08, 2016, under Life, Photography

One of my mothers cousins lives in the nearby city of Osaka. He had very generously arranged to spend time with us and along with my uncle who would join us from the next day, would be our personal local tour guides and interpreters for our stay.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 50 mm, 1/50 sec at f/5.6, ISO 220

It was great having people who could get us everywhere we wanted to go quickly and painlessly. We were very thankful for all the time and care that was taken by all our relatives in looking after us during our stay.

The area around Kiyomizudera Temple is mercantile and touristy but you do have to see it. Half way back down you can turn right and walk down Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka (two amazing preserved streets), eventually ariving Maruyama Park to enjoy some greenery.

Walking Back Through Time

Walking Back Through Time

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 145 mm, 1/160 sec at f/7.1, ISO 4000

Walking down these streets is like stepping way back in time to a different era. It was amazing to see how many people would be walking around in traditional garb. So many women, young and old, dressed in colourful kimono’s set amongst these fabulous old buildings.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Tranquil Echoes

Tranquil Echoes

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135 mm, 1/160 sec at f/5.6, ISO 2500

Restfull

Restfull

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 98 mm, 1/100 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1100

It was getting late so we headed into Gion for dinner. Gion is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west.

After dinner we strolled back to our accommodation. Wandering through the high concentration of traditional wooden machiya merchant houses. Walking in the cool of the early evening we’d see a few fantastically dressed maiko (apprentice geisha) flit about the back streets on their way to their appointments.

Evening Lanterns

Evening Lanterns

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 125 mm, 1/125 sec at f/6.3, ISO 1400

The end of our first day in Kyoto. A place where you truly feel like you’ve stepped back through time.

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The Water Temple…

by on Dec.06, 2016, under Life, Photography

Kiyomizudera (清水寺, literally “Pure Water Temple”) is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. It was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto, and derives its name from the fall’s pure waters. Kiyomizu means clear water, or pure water.

The Water Temple

The Water Temple

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 50 mm, 1/50 sec at f/8, ISO 720

The Otowa Waterfall is located at the base of Kiyomizudera’s main hall. Its waters are divided into three separate streams, and visitors use cups attached to long poles to drink from them. It is said that drinking the water brings you good fortune. Each stream’s water is said to have a different benefit, namely to cause longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life.

It was founded in the early Heian period. Its present buildings were constructed in 1633, ordered by the Tokugawa Iemitsu. There is not a single nail used in the entire structure.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 72 mm, 1/80 sec at f/8, ISO 1250

Looking Back In Time

Looking Back In Time

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135 mm, 1/160 sec at f/8, ISO 2200

Kyoto (京都市) is a city located in the central part of the island of Honshu, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. It was formerly the Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years. Kyoto is also known as the thousand-year capital.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28 mm, 1/30 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200

If there was one city in Japan you wanted to see and experience the beauty of olden day Japan then this is the place.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 38 mm, 1/40 sec at f/5.6, ISO 450

Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today. A short walk from just about anywhere will take you past numerous temples and shrines.

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The Temple Stage…

by on Dec.04, 2016, under Life, Photography

We’d planned to stay in the beautiful city of Kyoto for four days. As in Tokyo we’d booked ourselves a nice little place via AirBnB.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 52 mm, 1/320 sec at f/8, ISO 100

The place we were staying was very conveniently located within walking distance of a number of interesting places. This included a number of fabulous temples and grounds as well as one of the main centres of Kyoto, Gion. It was also close to one of the most fabulous temples in Kyoto – the famed Kiyomizu-dera.

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 62 mm, 1/60 sec at f/8, ISO 2800

This temple has amazing picturesque views, it is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees below as well as of the city of Kyoto in the distance. The main hall, which together with the stage was built without the use of nails.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

The Temple Stage

The Temple Stage

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55 mm, 1/125 sec at f/8, ISO 100

I remember coming here to this place as a child so as soon as we’d settled into our accomodation we went for a walk up the hill to visit.

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Shinkansen Views…

by on Dec.02, 2016, under Life, Photography

Today we were travelling from Tokyo to Kyoto by Shinkansen. Operated by Japan Railways (JR) these high speed trains (bullet trains) are called shinkansen (新幹線). The network of high speed train lines that connect Tokyo with most of the country’s major cities across the islands of Honshu, Kyushu and Hokkaido.

Shinkansen Views

Shinkansen Views

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 52 mm, 1/2000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 1250

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

The shinkansen is known for punctuality (most trains depart on time to the second), comfort (relatively silent cars with spacious, always forward facing seats), safety (no fatal accidents in it’s history) and efficiency.

Travelling along at speeds up to 320 km/h I wasn’t really expecting to take many usable shots. The foreground flies by in a blur even to the naked eye, let alone through the viewfinder. Even the background passes you by very quickly.

Pushing the shutter to very fast speeds was the call of the day. Which meant pushing the ISO as well to maintain such a fast speed.

Every now and then you managed a decent shot out the window as above.

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