We arrived in Japan and spent our first afternoon visiting temples in, what else, pouring rain. I’ve been beat down by the weather and school field trips so thoroughly these last two weeks, I was actually thankful that it wasn’t snow, and it wasn’t a school day!
Yes, Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up To Me is not just the title of a cool 60’s counterculture novel, play, and song. It’s the story of my life, vis-a-vis the weather and schoolkid hordes, during the Asian leg of this long trip.
But, there are actually situations where a light rain and overcast helps. I remember my friend Mike Yamashita’s story on Japanese Gardens in National Geographic. Mike wouldn’t shoot a garden unless it was misty and rainy, preferring the rich saturation of those low-contrast conditions.
So I put my D90 with the 16-85mm in a Stormjacket Raincover, and shot away in the downpour.
The next two days were bright and sunny, and, dare I say it, I actually missed the rich low contrast light of the first rainy afternoon.
Truthfully, if it was just drizzling and not pouring, it would be the ideal light to shoot many of the Japanese temples we visited on this leg.
But travel isn’t always about photography (at least that’s what I tell myself when the weather goes south). It’s also about food.
Yes, armies and photographers tend to travel on their stomachs, and one of the things I love about Japan is the food.
Combine one of these dishes with some nice hot sake or cold Kirin, and you really don’t care all that much about the weather when you can eat like this!
One place I could have used the overcast was at Fushimi Inari, a Shinto shrine known for its thousands of tori gates. Low contrast would have helped here, but I managed to find a section of gates so closely packed , the speckled sunlight couldn’t filter through.
I may have been in search of Nikonian Buddha nature on this trip through the Sacred Places of Asia, but I have to admit that I love the Shinto use of the color orange. It’s not quite photo Nirvana, but it sure helps make a picture.
We head into China today for the final portion of this three part charter jet odyssey. I get a day off to repack, clean my cameras, and do laundry and then we’re off to explore the Silk Road.
I’ll keep you posted…