Tokyo Old and New

I have posted view’s of the guard towers of the Imperial Palace before, but this one is a view that really melds the old and new Tokyo in a fun way. All around the city are evidence of ancient times integrated with some great modern designs.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 11 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 250
  • Shutter speed: 1/500s
  • Title: Tokyo Old and New

The Ethereal Essence of Sakura

Magic in the Air

Magic is probably the wrong word to use. I feel like Sakura is must more of an Eastern philosophical festival than my Western mind completely grasps. There is so much beauty in the blossoms of the cherry trees. The burst forth to the enjoyment of all and fill the previously cold world wrapped in winter with color and life and the most glorious fragrance. Their time here is so short, only about 10 days, then the blossoms fall (die?). When this happens, a cool breeze come through and the petals of these one beautiful flowers rain down to the ground. I can most compare it to snow, but at the same time, nothing like snow. In that moment, for me at least, is perhaps their most beautiful expression. They leave the world in a gracefully chaotic fall that I can only call magical.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s
  • Title: The Ethereal Essence of Sakura

Zen Seclusion

Taking a Moment

Tokyo isn’t exactly a place for quiet. It’s hustle and bustle non-stop and packet to the gills with people. This is almost doubly so during Sakura! I have found though, even in the most densely populated places you can find moments of zen.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/640s
  • Title: Zen Seclusion

Flowering Bush in Tokyo, Japan

Spring is Around the Corner

Believe it or not, Spring is not far around the corner! Personally I can’t wait for winter to be over, but this realization got me thinking about Sakura. I am not traveling quite as much as in years past. Part of me is really sad about this, but it also makes me thing about the Buddhist meaning of this time in Japan. The cherry blossoms live only for around 10 days and they are a reminder of impermanence. Nothing can last forever, but despite inevitable mortality, spring will come again.

I found this flowering bush (or maybe tree) while viewing Sakura. The closer brighter blossom was nearly perfect, it too made me thing while circumambulating the Shinobazu Pond that while the Sakura gets all the attention, there is beauty all around.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 640
  • Shutter speed: 1/160s
  • Title: Flowering Bush in Tokyo, Japan

Looking Back at Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kyoto Japan

Looking Back

Hiking up the mountain at Fushimi Inari-taisha brings to you a near endless expanse of torii gates. This view is more simple, but still expresses the vast infinity you feel hiking through the mountains. This is early on and the deeper into the mountains you get the more the gates begin to thin out. The more too does nature take over and you less and less see other hikers. This is one of my favorite places in Japan, but please go early and be prepared to hike a long way to find some peace this wonderful place has to offer visitors.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 15 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 3200
  • Shutter speed: 1/80s
  • Title: Looking Back at Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kyoto Japan

Japanese Gate at Tenryu-ji

Zen Rock Gardens

I have come to realize something about myself in this life. I deeply appreciate and love gardens. I love nature in general, and find a peaceful place where I can still my mind as I wander the natural world. I also realized I deeply dislike the actual art of gardening (and I strongly believe this is an art form). This is something I gave year after year of effort too when Pamela and I purchased our home, but the older I become, the more I realize you need to spend more time doing the things you love, and less time doing the things you do not love. That seems like common sense, but for so many of us, such a difficult thing to master. I know I was deeply moved by the gardens at Tenryu-ji, but raking this zen garden is not the same as communing with it.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/5.6
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 14 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 1000
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s
  • Title: Japanese Gate at Tenryu-ji

Red Japanese Maple Leaf at Tenryu-ji

Falling Maple Leafs in the Rain

I sat on a small bench, the rain that had been falling my entire trip out of Kyoto to Tenryu-ji had mostly stopped, but a humid sheen cast odd colored light glares all over. I sat taking in the Kyoto fall scene. I was a bit too early for the truest expression of color the city is capable of, but the beauty of Tenryu-ji’s gardens were not lost. Suddenly and in near slow motion, this near perfect maple leaf fell from a nearby tree. It floated gracefully to rest next to me on my wet bench. I took this as a sign and snapped this photo. I often try to find meaning in the small occurrences like this that happen on my travels, but perhaps this time, I will leave this leaf’s message for you to decipher.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 14 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 800
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s
  • Title: Red Japanese Maple Leaf at Tenryu-ji

Sakura Blossoms in Ueno Park

Sakura

I get why the Japanese have a word specifically for cherry blossoms and another for the viewing of these wonderful flowers. My visit to Japan this last April was toward the end of the blossoming season, just at the start of the fall. There is an otherworldly beauty, not unlike snow, but different all the same, as the still cool breeze blows and petals fall, gently invade all your senses. I think for me Hanami is a perfect explosion of color after the desolateness of Winter. Wrapped, surviving in the cold, then one day the beautiful promise of Spring.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4.5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 31mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s
  • Title: Sakura Blossoms in Ueno Park

Old Guard House of Japan’s Imperial Palace

A Preferred View

This is the view of this particular guard tower I prefer. It sits in stout defense of the unseen palace behinds its wall. It, guarded by a moat that would leave attackers undefended in crossing. The think is just outside the frame is a mass of new Japan. Big buildings and construction equipment abound. Behind is a massive parking lot. I don’t show you these. This photo looks old, but was taken in 2016. I guess in many ways our fortresses and our photographs aren’t unlike ourselves.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 11 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 30mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/50s
  • Title: Old Guard House of Japan's Imperial Palace

Lanterns on Display for Sakura

Cherry Trees!

I have wanted to visit Japan in late March or early April some time for the Sakura. There are numerous places in the world that have flowering trees. Our own state is gorgeous with dogwood, redbud and apricot trees, but getting to experience Hanami (flower viewing) in person is something a bit otherworldly. This location is in Ueno Park, a part of Tokyo I had not yet visited. Lanterns had been strung to keep the viewing going even after dark and there are hundreds of people and groups having a picnic under the falling petals.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 9 April, 2016
  • Focal length: 23mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/200s
  • Title: Lanterns on Display for Sakura