Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Cameras and lenses:
Most of the pictures on this blog are taken with a second hand Nikon D40 DSLR paired with a very new (in fact just released when I bought it) "Nikkor AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8 G" lens. In 35mm film format that's equivalent to a focal length of close to 50mm. The lens in the photo is the "Nikkor AF 135mm f/2 D DC", as I previously mentioned , lent to me by Lan. On the D40 it is equivalent to around 200mm and has only manual focus. Hence my crossed brows in the photo. It is certainly an interesting experiment, and a beautiful lens, but I think it is rather long for shooting Japan, a place where long views are rare, the lanes are full of twists and turns and everything, including people, are so close together.
Yesterday's photo was taken with another of Lan's lenses, "Nikkor AF 24mm f/2.8D". On the D40 that's just a bit wide-angle, around 35mm.
[This pic is taken by James with his Panasonic LX3.]
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Our house in Kamakura.
Oh, OK.... it isn't... But it is one of the free to visit temples, and includes the best Zen dry garden I have found in Kamakura.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
James' imaginary universe.
[spying from the other side of the room with an awfully long lens lent to me by our very generous buddy, Lan Smith].
Friday, May 22, 2009
mountain-side or beach-side?
[photograph taken with my iphone on the way to work this morning]
Thursday, May 21, 2009
At least 50% of the enjoyment of Japanese food is in the presentation. The fact that it might taste better grilled with a little butter and garlic is entirely beside the point, James. This is why you should decide which restaurant to go to based on the wax models or photographs found at the entrance, while ignoring any delicious smells coming from nearby restaurants with less expensive models or photographs.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Are you beach-side or mountain-side?
[It's what people ask when you say you are from Kamakura.]
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Given the extent to which otherwise photogenic scenes are ruined by cables, I'm surprised the Japanese camera companies don't lobby the government to get all this stuff put underground.
(photo taken in an otherwise twee bit of Kamakura)
Also see this, also Kamakura, just arrived on flickr!
Friday, May 15, 2009
An enormous temple, with enormous trees, this is just a small front gate. After 100-200m of climbing, the temple buildings finally cease and a path up the mountain starts. Over the other side of the mountain were hazy views of Fuji-san capped in snow, and down the other side, a refreshing onsen. This all happened on Tuesday this week, the holiday we earned through attending the PAGES workshop last month.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Yesterday we dined with Naruhito, the Crowned Prince of Japan. At least he was but a profiterole's throw from were we were seated, and we nicked some of his special (it had extra sherry!) trifle. I bet none of you can make the connection to pelicans (although of anyone William C. perhaps has the best chance).
(photo taken at Vienna Zoo, which is in the grounds of the Schönbrunn)
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
"Keep this going and step forward, through the back door of the room. Where does it lead? To your cave. Step forward into your cave.That's right. You're going deeper into your cave. And you're going to find your power animal..." And the cool things about the nothingness of Zen gardens is that each time you visit a different animal may appear. (Zuisenji, Kamakura)
[For the hard of understanding (WC): pretend it is an empty zoo enclosure and imagine what sort of animal might be housed there.]
Monday, May 11, 2009
Not so cute or hairy, but fortunately armed only with a canon.
(They have, sadly, taken to polluting the area around the station at Yokohama, with their very loud racist nationalism. To their credit the shoppers look rather ashamed as they walk past. Not that they do anything about it of course; they've been brain-washed since infancy to put up with unreasonable noise pollution.)
Sunday, May 10, 2009
(Our passion flower plant, Kamakura)
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Some of the "new green" (shinryoku) is actually red, although it then turns green, and then later on still it all turns red again. And yes, the unthinkable has happened; the rain stopped and the sky went blue. (Kamakura)
Friday, May 8, 2009
Taken way back then (last Saturday), before we passed the tipping point which caused the Kantou plain to become forever engulfed by torrential rain. (Myouhonji, Kamakura)
Thursday, May 7, 2009
It has been raining solidly for the last 3 days. Everyone's guttering is overflowing. Today we got as far as the station but turned tail when we found that the trains were delayed by more than 3 hours. On the bright side, our Jasmine is flowering, as is the Wisteria (Yaaay!).
Covering about the same area as the Schoenbrunn, this must be the finest Viennese architectural landmark produced by the Republic of Austria. I like it particularly because it makes me feel all natsukashi (nostalgic) about happy times living on the Wirral peninsula in the UK, the entry to which is proudly guarded by likes of Shell and ICI. To my disappointment, however, the Viennese version does not appear to host an eternal flame.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Living in Japan I also miss the horsies. The only place you find them is the dinner table. For similar reasons I also refuse to eat octopus.
Monday, May 4, 2009
While the possibility of 700 year old trees, of which there may be several in Kamakura, is certainly something, there is a distinct lack of magnificent stone buildings. This one is the Hapsburg's summer cabin. (Schönbrunn, Vienna)
I was going to pretend we stopped off in Shanghai on the way back to Japan... (but he spoiled it all).
Saturday, May 2, 2009
James said that one wasn't green enough to do it justice. Perhaps this is more like it. ( Zuisenji, Kamakura)
On returning from holidays in sunny climes to their photon deprived country, English people make themselves feel better by remarking of the greenness of England. They refer, I think, to all that grass, but Japan's trees surely win on sheer greenness, with a variety of shades of the most livid green. And black sword wielding angel-demon people (tengu). (The temple up the hill from Kenchoiji, Kamakura)
Friday, May 1, 2009
Called "vegetative taxidermy" by A.A.Gill, Advanced Extreme Gardening extends beyond the needles to the twigs themselves. The challenge is to train up a new under-gardener before you reach a ladder tipping point. Then, in just a few decades you can make a really ... twisty ... tree. (Ryoanji. Kyoto)