Saturday, March 22, 2008

Monk from Koyasan temple

A mendicant Zen Buddhist monk from the famous Koyasan temple in Wakayama walks slowly down the main shopping street in Ginza, Tokyo. Most Japanese people seem to ignore him and rush by. Really a nice video opportunity to speed up the playback to have everybody zoom past as if he isn't there.

Only now I'm going back through the photos I took on my last trip to Japan and photos I had previously rejected, turn out to be nice shots after all. I blogged this monk in an other entry where I placed him in a wide but crowded area in an attempt to contrast the crowds with his focused tranquility. That didn't really work so well and I think this tightly cropped attempt works better in that respect. Now I wished I had used an open aperture to separate him from the crowd instead of the f/5.6 I used on this shot (and focused better). Another entry in my list of "missed opportunities," but it is the only way to improve.

As a tourist in Japan you'll come across mendicant Zen Buddhist monks from time to time. So what do you do to make the most of this opportunity, apart from taking his photo? You can make an offering of 100 yen or so in his bowl and he'll ring his prayer bell and make you a blessing. I always find it an uplifting experience.
In case you want to read a little more about Zen Buddhism I would like to recommend An Introduction to Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki.

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