I cannot believe it has been over 14 months since we were in China, seems like it was the other day. I still have thousands of shots to go through; it is kind of overwhelming, and then I have my wife’s thousands of shots as well! I think I processed these almost a year ago. Another couple from my archive.
This was taken near the beginning of Mt. Huashan. I was expecting the bus to drop us off up on the mountain, but it dropped us off at the very base of the mountain in a little town. The locals would point way off to the top of the mountain and laugh when trying to ask if we were anywhere near Mt. Huashan. It was pretty hot out and it was kind of daunting at first, but it sure was a pretty trail beginning at this point.
The Temple of Heaven at Beijing. I definitely struggled to clean up the sky and have it not look overly garish. The Beijing smog was in full force on this day!
This was taken the day after the gyoki festival ended at Zōjō-ji Temple. We didn’t stick around for the entire ceremony after being attacked by some ruthless Japanese women with cameras that were half our size!
These two shots kind of break the rules of composition, but they kind of jumped out at me in a pleasing way. They were both taken at the Zōjō-ji Temple during a cool Gyoki Festival that was going on this week. JRaptor from Flickr was nice enough to give me a heads up so I could get some nice shots. The actual temple is definitely worthy of a visit at any time of the day or year as well. Lots of great things to see in that entire area and great views of the Tokyo Tower as well.
Looks seemingly normal, but what in the hell is going on with those poles on both sides? That is because this is a vertorama, aka 2 shots stitched together like a panorama, except they are stitched vertically. The picture is warped a bit to insure that every pixel in both shots are perfectly lined up. Also, both shots were comprised of 5 exposures each which were then HDR’d in Photomatix before stitching them together.
I have already said it once, but I will say it again; Photomatix is such an awesome program for people who like that tone map sort of thing. Here is a random snapshot I took that was pretty drab until I tone mapped it with Photomatix.
Most of the bigger temples that we visit in Japan usually contain large incense burners in the court yard outside each temple. The locals will light the incense and then extinguish the flame by waving the stick in the air. Once it is extinguished and the ember starts releasing smoke, they will stand it up in the sand contained in the burner and fan the smoke toward body parts that are in need of healing. It is believed the smoke has a healing power to it.
I do not photograph people very often as I don’t want to encroach on anyone’s privacy, but these incense burners are such great spots to capture the spiritual side of Japan, they have become almost cliché on websites such as Flickr. I have no problems with this cliché, I will definitely be putting my telephoto lens to good use at every temple I visit in Japan.
The “Swastika” symbol you see in the picture above actually means “Temple” in Japanese. As a Westerner it was odd to see these symbols all over the temple grounds at first. But we quickly figured out their meaning in Japan.