Wednesday, February 4, 2009

photographs from Kiyomizudera, Kyoto

Kiyomizudera, otherwise known as Otowasan Kiyomizudera, is for me the most impressive temple in Kyoto. It is one of the centerpieces of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Among the temple’s most unique feature is that despite its impressive size and ornate architecture, not one nail is used in the whole structure.

by the roadside of Kiyomizudera, Kyoto, Japan
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/50s, f/5.6, 28mm, ISO 200, -1/3EV

Kiyomizudera is popular to both Japanese domestic visitors and foreign tourists which makes the crowd too thick for clean uncluttered photography. Exclude the throngs of tourists hovering in every corner was difficult. One had to be creative. In the case of the photo below, I used a hill to block the grounds and made the beautiful two-storey Romon gate stand out in the frame.

the Romon in Kiyomizudera, Kyoto, Japan
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/1250s, f/5.6, 27mm, ISO 400

The temple is also is a treasure throve of cultural traditions. During my visit, I saw several geishas performing regular pilgrimages and shuudoushi monks roaming the streets for alms. I could not get a tight shot as intruding into personal space of strangers is never easy. For the picture below, I had to move fast. It was hit and run. I prepared the settings of my camera first, walked past the monk, and just clicked. It helped that his hat was worn low. Had his eyes been visible, I would have been unnerved as I too would not want someone to point a camera directly into my face. Ah, the things I do for photography!

a shuudoushi monk at the Kiyomizudera temple, Kyoto, Japan
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/200s, f/5.6, 45mm, ISO 400

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Pamela J. Wells said...

I absolutely love this photo of the shuudoushi monk!

Thanks for sharing:)


Albin said...

I also love the photo of the monk it looked really COOL!