Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Posts Tagged ‘Japan

A few hours in Nara last spring.

with one comment

Todai-ji, largest wooden building in the world.
Todai-ji, largest wooden building in the world.

Last spring I spent a few hours in Nara, the capital of Japan over 1300 years ago and the home to many priceless temples and shrines.  On this visit, I took a stroll through Deer Park and it’s adjacent temple, the Todai-Ji.  This temple is a World Heritage Site and offers an opportunity to view the Daibutsu housed inside.  This Buddha was cast over 1300 hundred years ago although some parts were recast due to damage several hundred years ago.  However, having been here several times, I was more interested in capturing images of people and deer.

By the way, if you visit Deer Park, be very careful as they have been known to attack people on occasion.  And they can be agressive if you offer them food.

Photos taken with a Nikon D700 with Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens and Nikon D300s with Nikkor 70-200mm VRII zoom lens.

 

Don't get too close.

Don't get too close.

 

 

 

Deer food.

Deer food.

 

 

Sip of water.

Sip of water.

 

 

Children with packs.

Children with packs.

 

 

Taking a break.

Taking a break.

 

Advertisements

Written by leolaksi

October 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Random scenes of trains in Japan.

leave a comment »

Shinkansen train at Shinagawa Station.

Shinkansen train at Shinagawa Station.

One thing about Japan, there are plenty of trains to look at.  From quaint narrow gauge systems that take you up into the mountains to the very latest “Bullet Trains”, one is never bored looking at and shooting trains.  And people that are naturally found around train stations.  These photos were taken earlier this year and are good examples of addressing perspective.  By virtue of their length and narrow footprint, trains naturally draw your attention to the subject of your photos.  When shooting trains, quickly figure out the subject of the shot and use the train’s vanishing point to focus attention on the subject.  Of course, the same goes for any scene with strong bold lines.

All photos were shot with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24mm f/1.4 lens or Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Osaka train station with waiting woman.

Osaka train station with waiting woman.

Works with bold lines.

Works with bold lines.

Trains, lines, columns and rafters.

Trains, lines, columns and rafters.

All aboard.

All aboard.

Written by leolaksi

August 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Memory Lane for great yakitori in West Shinjuku

with 6 comments

Omoide Yokochō

Omoide Yokochō

Omoide Yokocho (or Memory Lane) is an old neighborhood of small yakitori joints that harkens back to days long past. It is located within the neon-lit skyscrapers of West Shinjuku.  Adjacent to the Uniqlo store near the Lumine Department Store, Omoide Yokocho’s days are numbered as it is beyond its shelf-life.  The area is ramshackle and its only of matter of time before it is torn down in the name of progress.  The option is to rehabilitate the area however no one except for some of the tenants is in favor of this.  Some of the Yakitori is quite good as the numbers of patrons indicate.

This area dates back to the US Occupation post World War II and has always been a favorite for good relatively well-priced food.

All photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24mm f/.4 lens.

Crowded and friendly.

Crowded and friendly.

Red lanterns everywhere.

Red lanterns everywhere.

Tight confines.

Tight confines.

Another joint.

Another joint.

Written by leolaksi

May 30, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Down the river in a boat in Kyoto

leave a comment »

Visitors to Kyoto and Nara almost always focus their activities to visiting temples, shrines and castles.  Of course, that’s why people visit these beautiful locations and there’s nothing wrong with that.  For something just a little different, consider taking a two hour drift boat down the Hozukawa River.   The starting point is near the Kameoka City JR Station, which is about 20 minutes by train from the Kyoto Station.  And the dock is a five or ten minute walk from the station.  There are prominent signs leading the way from the station.  And if you’re lost, the information center at the station will point the way.

The river drift is mostly placid with a few sections of rapids and very small elevation changes.  It is not a dangerous drift.  Each boat has two crewmen.  One mans the oar to steer the boat while the other mans the pole to keep the boat from colliding with the rocks in the river.

The boat trip ends near the Arashiyama District of Kyoto where’s there’s plenty to do including a visit to the magnificent Tenryu-ji Temple.

All photos were taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.  [Note: recommend that you use a polarizing filter on the river as the glare is prominent.  I didn’t.]

Dockside view.

Dockside view.

Down the river.

Down the river.

Fast section.

Fast section.

Train stopped to look at us.

Train stopped to look at us.

Vendor on the river.

Vendor on the river.

Trip ends at Arashiyama.

Trip ends at Arashiyama.

Written by leolaksi

May 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Maiko in Kyoto – Geisha in training

with 4 comments

Created a near riot.

Created a near riot.

A Maiko is an apprentice Geisha, who undergoes five years of training in the arts before they are considered Geisha.  Geishas are still seen with frequency walking the small streets of Kyoto to their next performance.  Usually you can tell the difference between Maiko and Geisha by the younger age of the Maiko and the size of their obi.  There are other differences that are explained in detail here.

On this day, these three Maiko came strolling into the Heian Shrine.  They were inundated by tourists armed with DSLR’s, P&S’s and camera phones.  It was quite a commotion.  They simply maintained their composure, posed for a few photos and kept on walking.

Photos taken with a Nikon D300s and AFS Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII zoom lens.

Large obi typical of Maiko

Large obi typical of Maiko

Still posing.

Still posing.

Composure.

Composure.

Head shot.

Head shot.

Pointing the way.

Pointing the way.

Written by leolaksi

April 14, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Cherry blossoms in Kyoto, Japan

with 5 comments

Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto

Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto

Over most of Japan, for a period of two weeks at the end of March and April, cherry blossoms spring to life and bring a splash of color that is a sign that spring has arrived and winter will soon be left behind.  The blossoms don’t come out all at once.  Instead it depends on the variety and the weather conditions.  This year the blossoms arrived just a bit early and luckily were still in bloom for the week I was in Kyoto.  Some of the trees had started to lose their flowers while other had just opened.  How you shot them of course is up to you.  It makes for a grand image to capture a landscape although closeups are also spectacular.

Photos were shot with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor AFS 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens and a D300s and  Nikkor AFS 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII zoom lens.

Strolling along a river.

Strolling along a river.

Wide open at f/2.8 with bokeh.

Wide open at f/2.8 with bokeh.

Not quite open.

Not quite open.

White blossoms in background.

White blossoms in background.

At Golden Pavilion.

At Golden Pavilion.

Written by leolaksi

April 13, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Nikon D700 with 15 year old Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 lens

with 5 comments

Waiting for the train in Tokyo

Waiting for the train in Tokyo

I’m normally don’t shoot with telephoto lenses.  Most of the time I use wide angle lenses with an occasional long normal lens thrown in. There are occasions when I have needed longer lenses and have been satisfied with the Nikkor DC 135mm f/2 lens.  Recently I purchased a 15 year old AF Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 ED lens for $300 in Japan.  The condition, both cosmetically and performance-wise is stellar.  Sure, the lens does not have VR (image stabilization) and is somewhat heavy since it’s body is metal.  Still, it’s a very capable lens and more than matches up with the D700 since this camera is exceptional at higher ISO’s.  This latitude allows one to crank up the ISO to compensate for the lack of image stabilization.  I have been tempted to purchase the latest AF-S VR Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 IF ED but will postpone this until Nikon improves this lens so its performance on a FX body is better.   With the performance of the 80-200mm, there’s no reason to buy right now.

Photos were taken in Tokyo and Bangkok with the Nikon D700 and an AF Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 ED lens.  Post processing is minimal (or none).  All photos shot at or near f/2.8.

Incoming call

Incoming call

Atagaw market prawns

Atagaw market prawns

Veggie vendor

Veggie vendor

Red camera

Red camera

Written by leolaksi

July 6, 2009 at 7:00 am