Rush! Stop! Rush! Stop!
This has been almost the last month to date and it almost feels like the eye of the storm is the calm before the inevitable, in saying that, next week is moving house time.
Until then is a small period of pause, and where the time is found to continue to upload some gems and not so gems of the remainder of the trip that was Japan. Still in Kyoto with the film so far, which isnt a surprise to those that have been; its huge, heaps to see, and much to distract you with. First up is Agfa Vista 200 with the Nikon Fm3A, Still in West Kyoto. Last of the the bamboo forest I promise! Now lets get on with the show…
That night was a introduction to the tight quarters of the average Japanese drinking hole within the heart of the city itself; colourful, loud, full of character, each unreservedly having a unique twist that really embodies the owner. Pushed (800) Agfa Vista 400 was no match for the darkness so kept the shooting to a minimum.
I only wished to have put some portra 400 in the Nikon instead of the Vista 400 that was on hand. Where the differences were, are pretty obvious; grain, colour performance under artificial light, and even more dramatic: the performance in overcast conditions. Had I checked my crystal ball, knowing we would have had only 2-3 sunny days I would have known to pick up more boxes of Portra when the opportunity came around. That being said, in day and afternoon light, Vista shines as an equal.
Heian shrine built 1895 in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto. A rather large complex comprising of a arts centre, zoo, tennis courts and theatre outside of the temples gates. A nice ride by bike a good end to a few days ride as the rest of the sights towards the Higashiyama region further south are mostly down hill. Bonus!
Next stop was Nanzen-Ji, and its surrounds, maybe a 10 minute ride if you happen to get lost/distracted/hungry.
Nice place, very pretty and as an added bonus it has a surprise curiosity that seemed to be a hit with local tourists…an aquaduct!
Running out of time and sunlight the next stop on the itinerary was the grande Chionin complex. Whilst it boasted a nice and very long (uphill) driveway and immense front door measuring 24 meters tall and 50 meters wide (huge!) the Chionin temple itself was clad in sheet metal for restoration works that had started in 2012. Safe to say I didnt do my research Got the Mamiya 645 out for this leg of the journey, loaded with Portra 400.
We endured a brief but very wet spell riding to the next destination and made it to the star tourist attraction that is Kiyomisudera. A heritage listed site founded in 780 next to a waterfall of pure water of which it draws its name of “Pure water temple”
This place has been photographed to no end, so my contribution is simply a mere drop in the ocean.
I broke out Kodak tmax 400 pushed to 1600 for some much needed black and white.
Thoroughly saturated we tentatively made our way down the road to Fushimi Inari; the hill with a thousand Torri gates. Its an instagrammers delight; sunny, rainy, wet, cold, you name it. So much so, the shots below took many a patient moment to do, only barely getting away without a person in the frame even in full darkness. Trying times with these last few. Already wet from the previous temple wearing singlets, sun going down by the minute and tourists everywhere; setting up a tripod in an age of instantaeous mobile phone photography had me left floundering to get something well composed, let alone take any shot without people in it, as taking anything longer than 30 seconds to set up and shoot is no longer the done thing. The black and white shots didnt come out as i had wanted, left with no meter on the mamiya, forced to using my phone app with only a max 4 second exposure in-camera without a lockup cable was the breaking point for the film at 1600. It came out so thin, i was surprised to see anything at all. I still remember qwivering in the cold, with my travel buddy holding the umbrella so the camera stays dry in bucketing rain, counting seconds for gaps to take the shot before another straggler appears in frame. All to no end, but an experience none the less. It would have been much the sweeter had they come out with a fraction more detail. Next time i guess.
First the Portra.
Having both film formats on hand, with up to 3 potential film choices on hand made me feel like the swiss army knife of photographers; ready to tackle any situation. That being said, one cant be prepared for everything, so i guess these were to come out as best as they could considering the circumstances.
Next time you hear from me it will be from Hiroshima.