Sunday, September 30, 2007

Taishōike in Kamikōchi -.- part 3

After a weekend of scanning all 7 films I brought back from Japan, I'm really happy how they turned out. However, the above photo of Taishoike in the fog in Kamikochi is a clear winner to me; I'm tempted to enter this photo in the yearly Kamikōchi photo contest.

Camera: Pentax MZ-3, lens: Sigma 28-300mm - 1:3.5-6.3

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Caesars World Amusements

Another photo to prove that you don't need to go far to create the impression that you took the photo in another country: this photo was taken less than a mile from my home. But don't think we live in a pikey area, it is just the way Greater London has grown into this mix of different areas.

By the way, I had my last batch of b&w negatives developed via mail order by DSCL  and they do look much better after the rather disastrous results from Jessops and Snappy Prints and it only took 2 days whereas Snappy Prints takes 1 week and Jessops takes two weeks at least. So many calcium deposits and finger prints, you would think people have completely forgotten how to handle photo negatives...

Camera: Pentax MZ-3, lens: Sigma 28-300mm - 1:3.5-6.3

Friday, September 28, 2007

Shams Fish Bar

These kinds of photos are often so rewarding; I took the photo less than a mile from my home and it looks like the South of the USA or some other foreign place.

Camera: Pentax MZ-3, lens: Sigma 28-300mm - 1:3.5-6.3


Magome-juku (馬籠宿) was the forty-third of the sixty-nine stations of the Nakasendō (中山道), an ancient road that connected Kyoto and Edo during the Edo period.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Shiragawago is world famous for the thatched roof houses, the Gassho. I took a lot of black&white photos there as I hope my experience of visiting this nice little town will be better conveyed by B&W. I like the colour photo of this shed though, with the rice field in front of it and the steep hill behind it.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture

Outside of Hanamaki station there is this contraption of windmills and I'm trying to find out if it has anything to do with Hanamaki's most famous inhabitant Kenji Miyazawa but I haven't found any proof of that.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO

Monday, September 24, 2007

Buddhist monk in Ginza, Tokyo

The surreal experience of a monk chiming his prayer bell but otherwise standing motionless while all the other people rush by in one of the richest and busiest areas of Tokyo, completely ignoring the monk.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Takayama -.- overrated?

I have to confess, I have never really been impressed with Takayama. The old town is often listed in tourist guides as "Best in Japan" and I think it has had the potential to have been just that, but to me it is ruined by all the omiyage and other touristy shops into which almost all of the old houses in the old town have been turned. I like the shanty houses on the river in Takayama better than the old town.  :-)

But Takayama is perfectly located for trips to the Hida Folk Village, Kamikōchi, Gujō-Hachiman and Shiragawago and that makes it an important transport hub to me.

Rarely listed under the attractions of Takayama, but certainly worth a visit is the Takayama Honcho Museum where works of Yamashita Kiyoshi are exhibited. I really liked those pictures.

Takayama is of course very popular with non-Japanese visitors, and I'm very interested reading your take on Takayama. If you agree or disagree with my view of Takayama, please leave a comment. No flames.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO

Gero onsen -.- past glory

Gero is a classical example of overdevelopment having ruined what could have been a town more touristically important than nearby Takayama as the baths, the scenery of the nearby hills, the footbaths and the food served in the ryokan-style hotels are often excellent.

Back in the Edo period, Gero onsen was know as one of the Three Famous Springs (日本三名泉 Nihon Sanmeisen) and the town's hot springs first appeared in print in the Engi Era (901-923). Enough history to make a great tourist attraction, however, at the moment all that is left are the baths and hotels that appear to be way past their glory.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Gujō-Hachiman -.- Ayu fishing

Gujō-Hachiman is all about water: it is located in a valley where three major fast running rivers, the Yoshida, Nagara, and the Kodara rivers, all flowing from the surrounding mountains, meet. In the summer lots of people come to fish for ayu, Japanese trout in the rivers.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO

Taishōike in Kamikōchi -.- part 2

Taishoike was formed in 1915, when an eruption of the nearby volcano Yakedake dammed off the Azusa River. Decayed trees, standing in the pond, provide a special sight.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO

Friday, September 21, 2007

Taishōike in Kamikōchi -.- part 1

Back from a fabulous trip to the Gifu and Nagano prefectures. As expected, the highlight was Kamikōchi in Nagano-ken where we stayed two nights. The first night we stayed at the Taishoike hotel right next to the pond. Still jet-lagged, we woke up at 5AM and caught the most magnificent view of the pond that had now calmed down after the passing of typhoon #9 had caused the water levels to rise. The 2nd night we stayed at the rustic Tokusawa lodge at Tokusawa, a 3 hour walk from the Taishōike in the area almost only visited by hikers. If you want to get a quick overview of the first set of photos of this trip, have a look here.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO

Monday, September 03, 2007

I'm on vacation

I'll be back 20 September with, hopefully, a lot of decent travel photos. See you then.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: Sigma 18-50mm - 1:3.5-5.6 DC

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Lanterns at Kasuga Taisha, Nara

Kasuga Taisha, my favourite shrine in Nara; the lanterns make a beautiful subject.  If I am really honest, I have better memories of Nara than of Kyoto. True, Kyoto is better known and has probably more famous sights, but it is all spread out through the city and, even though the sights have been protected, right next door you can find an eyesore or a street lined up with only souvenir shops selling the same omiyage. It makes me feel sorry for the shrines and temples, like they people of Kyoto can hardly wait to tear them down and build another tiled building on top of them.
Nara, on the other hand, is very fortunate to have most shrines and temples located in a beautiful park, it allows the tourist to dream of Japan of the old days.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: Sigma 18-50mm - 1:3.5-5.6 DC

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Black Castle - Matsue

Matsue Castle is one of the few remaining medieval castles in Japan – at least of the few remaining in their original wooden form, and not a modern reconstruction in concrete.

Camera: Pentax *ist DS, lens: Sigma 18-50mm - 1:3.5-5.6 DC