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Color

Shop; Istanbul, Turkey
Copyright Andy Richards 2014

Hey there.  I have been “MIA” lately.  A series of “life events,” together with the general malaise I usually feel during the winter months, have conspired against my writing.  Where I live, we get snow, but it is “dirty” snow that melts.  There is no “snowy landscape” shooting around here.  I was able to get some Florida shots in the early part of the winter.  We still don’t have anything shoot-worthy here right now.  It is cold and mostly wet.  But there is hope.  We do have early leaves on the trees, and green plants and dandelions.  Now we just need some warm sun to produce some flowers.  So here we are.

Residence; Clontarf, Ireland
Copyright Andy Richards 2014

Color.  I think it is pretty well-accepted that color attracts.  I know it does for me.  I see color and I tend to gravitate toward it with my lens.  I have shot and presented in color for the better part of 35 years.

Venice, Italy
Copyright Andy Richards 2013

I have shot B&W.  I shot it as a “reporter-photographer” for my college newspaper and yearbook.  I shot a whole roll of of the beautiful cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin in Washington D.C. once — accidentally.  But that’s another story  🙂 .  And I tell myself I will spend some time one day seriously looking at B&W as a photographic art.  I am truly impressed by the successful B&W shooters out there.  It is hard.  Especially for the nature and outdoor topics that I like to shoot.  But that’s another topic on another day.

Shop; St. Maarten
Copyright Andy Richards 2012

So, color.  I was recently doing some “maintenance” on my LightCentric Website, and noticed a couple images that–after I worked them up to post to the site–I had not really ever paid attention to.  And I wondered why?  Why did I even make these images.  Yes, they are often typical to the culture where I made them.  And I was there.  Those are pretty good reasons.

Istanbul, Turkey
Copyright Andy Richards 2013

But what made me shoot them?  As I looked at them and thought about it, the answer came almost immediately clear:  color.  Color attracted me to them.  And, more often than not, it was some particular colored object within the frame that drew my attention.  And as I considered it more, I realized that is a theme of much of my travel and “place” photography.  I look for color.  Subconsciously.  I see color and I am drawn to it.  And I guess it it no coincidence that color attracts us all.  When you look at the markets, many of the displays are a wash of color.  I saw that in Turkey.  I saw it in Venice.  I saw it all over the Caribbean.  I even see it in places like Milbrae, California, Saginaw, Michigan and Dunedin, Florida.

Shop; Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2016

Color is everywhere.  Color attracts.  I like color and I shoot color.  Pretty simple.

2015; A year to Remember

As I thought about 2015 year in review, it struck me that this was a big year for our travel and perhaps equally so for photography. But I couldn’t help thinking back to some other big years. I have made many trips in the continental United States, including Vermont, Maine, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia, California, Wyoming, Texas, North Carolina and Florida over the years; as well as trips into Canada. But around 2009, we began to expand the travel.

Every Cruise has landed us at St. Thomas. We wanted to get off the beaten Path, so we took a boat to St. John's and spent a few hours here at Caneel Bay Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Almost every Caribbean Cruise has landed us at St. Thomas. We wanted to get off the beaten Path, so we took a boat to St. John’s and spent a few hours here at Caneel Bay
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Sony RX100iv Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Sony RX100iv
Tokyo, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

In 2009 we went to Acadia National Park in Maine. In 2010, we went to Alaska and Vermont. In 2011, I made my first trip to California and spent time in San Francisco and Napa Valley. I also made a trip to West Virginia and Babcock State Park to shoot the Grist Mill and fall color. In 2012, we were back Napa and briefly, San Francisco. We also did our first ever Caribbean Cruise (and have not missed one since). 2013 marked a huge change for us, as I made my first visit to Europe and Asia (indeed my first excursion outside the U.S. – assuming you don’t count Canada and the Caribbean) on a partly aborted, Mediterranean Cruise. In the late Fall of 2012, I had purchased the Sony NEX-6; a huge departure from my 30-year Nikon affiliation (most of it shooting SLR/DSLR cameras and lenses). I carried that camera in Europe and fell in love with its small size and ease of use. Later that year, I took a very deep breath, closed my eyes, and sold all my Nikon gear; trading for the new full frame mirrorless Sony a7. In 2014, in we spent 10 days in Ireland. Some pretty big years; and some pretty new things.

Seiryuden Temple Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Seiryuden Temple
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

But on reflection, 2015 will probably have been the biggest, busiest and widest-reaching of my lifetime. In this one year, we went for a week in the Caribbean. We then went to Japan for a week in August, and another 10 days in the Mediterranean in September. I topped that off with a 4-day trip to Vermont in early October. While I began saying to everyone that “I probably bit off more that I could chew,” and was just travel-weary, it was indeed and exciting and eventful year!  And now that we have turned the corner into 2016, a year with much more modest travel planned, I am looking forward to the next big adventure.  In  the meantime, here are some photos and narrative of 2015.

February

We began with our now-traditional week aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean in February. These trips have become less about excursions and photography and more about just getting some sunny warmth into our bones about ½-way through our long, cold, Michigan winters. But I do carry my camera. For reasons explained in other posts, I am mostly carrying “small gear” on these trips.  The Caneel Bay image is my favorite of the 2015 Carribbean trip.

Kyoto Temple; Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kyoto Temple; Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

August

Our son was married in Japan in August. This was our first trip their.  Once the long (14-hour) flight from Detroit to Tokyo (Narita) was behind us, the rest of the trip was an unanticipated pleasure. While we knew there were many wonderful things to do and see in Japan, we also expected most of our time to be taken up by wedding and family activities. While this proved mostly true for Tokyo, our new family treated us to a wonderful 2 ½ days in Kyoto, with some really great tours and some great photo opportunities. We knew and expected our new family would be nice people, but their warmth and graciousness exceeded our expectations and we left, feeling a close bond with them. Our distance is great, but we look forward to our next visit!

Sushi Restaurant with conveyor belt; Tokyo Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Sushi Restaurant with conveyor belt; Tokyo
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

September

Our 2013, long-anticipated Mediterranean Cruise, as readers here perhaps remember, was at once, fantastic and disappointing. The disappointment came from the mechanical difficulties the cruise ship experienced in the middle of the cruise. As reported back then, the cruise line came through like heros, and we made “lemonade,” with what we had, seeing much of what we had hoped to see.

Kotor Montenegro Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kotor Montenegro
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Better yet, we were able to book our “makeup” cruise this fall, and cover all the places we missed, and some overlap with places from the last cruise. And even better still, we were joined by our good friends, Paul and Linda and the four of us had a blast. They are great, easy company and it was nice to share this adventure. We spent 3 days prior to the cruise in Barcelona, and it proved to be as “cool” a city as it has been advertised to be. We followed in Provence, Tuscany (including Florence and Pisa), Rome, Montenegro, and Athens.

Barcelona, Spain Sony RX100iv Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Barcelona, Spain
Sony RX100iv
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

October

In 2010, a group of photographers and foliage fanatics who met and participate on the SOV board, got together for a “reunion” (since it was our first time, shouldn’t it have been called a “union”?). We had so much fun, we committed to another reunion in 2015. Sadly, one of our most notable group members died of cancer (some of us knew he was fighting it back in 2010) in 2012, and we named the 2015 reunion after him. I will never forget his support and his infectious optimism and infectious smile, as well. He was an inspiration.

Noyes Pond Seyon Ranch State Park Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Noyes Pond
Seyon Ranch State Park
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I will look back at this year and see a number of personal high points, though I am not sure I want another one like this. The travel was exhausting but exhilarating at the same time. I captured many memorable images (and even some good ones).

Barcelona, Spain Sony RX100iv Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Barcelona, Spain
Sony RX100iv
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

In May, I took another “leap” of faith in Sony and in the advice of my mentor, Ray and traded the NEX-6 and interchangeable lenses for the newest “pro” “point and shoot” Sony: The RX100iv. I have done a couple reviews of this camera here for those who would like to see the detail. But suffice it to say that I am pretty much smitten with it and it has now become my travel camera. It is a joy to carry through airport security, and around the streets. Its image quality is so good that I am basically willing to leave the a7 full frame behind on all but dedicated photo-trip travel.

Sony RX100iv

Sony RX100iv

I am blessed to have our (now on our third winter) winter-retreat (our second – soon to be “first” home in Florida), and continue to travel there on a regular basis and find things to shoot.

Tokyo Tower Sony RX100iv Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Tokyo Tower
Sony RX100iv
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I am looking forward to a great 2016 and hope all of you have the same. I wish you all the best, a prosperous and happy 2016, and am eternally thankful for your readership and support!

Japan and Back in 7 days; Highlights

Temple Rokuon-Ji Kyoto Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Temple Rokuon-Ji
Kyoto Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

There were so many good images on this trip, it was hard to choose which ones to include and which ones to leave for another blog.  In some of the daily narratives, I purposely left some of my favorites out, contemplating this post.  I mentioned in the day 5 post that I would be hanging an image of the Temple Rokuon-Ji on my wall in my home in Florida.  The special space for that image calls for a portrait orientation, so this is the one,which is my own favorite from Japan.

Bamboo Forest Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Bamboo Forest
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I also really liked the detail and color variation of the intimate image of these bamboo trees.  Those who know me, or have been long time readers here also know I am a fan of the intimate image.

Electronic Toilet Copyright Andy RIchards 2015

Electronic Toilet
Copyright Andy RIchards 2015

Some of the things that seem to be a theme:  Toilets, Vending Machines, Bicycles and Trains.  We were intrigued by the hi-tech, electronic toilets that were in every hotel and — we are told — in many Japanese residences.  The warmed the seat, washed you and had self-raising tops, and multiple flush rates.

Bicycles are a common method of transportation.  That is not unique to Japan.  What astounded me was that everywhere you went, people parked their bikes (like at the train stations for the day, as they boarded the train for work) on the street, without a lock or any other form of security.  And nobody touched them.  There is virtually zero street crime in Tokyo (indeed, Japan).  It is just not part of the culture.  How do we get some of that here in the U.S.?

Tokyo Copyright 2015 Andy Richards

Tokyo
Copyright 2015 Andy Richards

And of course, as one of the world’s largest and most densely populated cities, the views from up high are pretty impressive.

Tokyo From up high Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Tokyo From up high
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

And I just can’t get enough of Tokyo Tower at night.  Tokyo – we will be back!

Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Japan and Back, the last Day

Shijo Market Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Our last day in Kyoto was — realistically — our last day in Japan.  We would leave for Tokyo at noon and after arriving at our motel, would go to dinner for our last night with the family that evening.  The next day, we would go back to Narita Airport for the long trip home.

Shijo Market Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

But before returning to Tokyo, we spent the morning at the Shijo street market.  This market is a long corridor the width of a narrow street, with shops on both sides.  It spans several blocks in Kyoto and has shops of all kinds – mainly food and small items.  It was fascinating, with all kinds of fresh foods prepared and raw, spices, tea, candy, seafood, beef, and vegetables; much of it as the Japanese citizens would expect and would purchase.  We wandered the market and I made image after image.

Shijo Market Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Shijo Market
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

On our return to Tokyo, we had one last family meal, at a restaurant owned by a friend of the family.  We were in a private room that was all glassed in with a view of the city, and there were fireworks in the distance behind the tall buildings we could see out of the outside window.  Alas, I did not bring my camera for this occasion.  Our new family is wonderful and we had a very nice time and a great final dinner together.  We are looking forward to being back together again very soon!

Tokyo Tower Sony RX100iv Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Tokyo Tower
Sony RX100iv
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Our final night was back in the Park Tokyo Hotel, and we had this view of Tokyo Tower.  In the morning I made a few shots of Tokyo from up high, before we left for Narita.

Tokyo Sunrise Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Tokyo Sunrise
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Japan and Back; Day 5

Regulars will note that I have been MIA for a couple weeks. I just returned from a repeat visit to the Mediterranean – “travelogue” to follow :-). But first, a couple posts to finish out our great Japan Visit.

Sanjusansen-do Hall Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Sanjusansen-do Hall
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

We began our second day in Kyoto, after breakfast in the hotel buffet restaurant, promptly at 8:30.  We had an ambitious agenda, thanks to our gracious hosts.  This was a long day, with lots of photos, so bear with me here.  We began the day with a stop at Sanjusen-do Temple.  This is a Budhist Temple which is known, among other things, as the site of a very popular archery tournament.  The building is a very long, rectangular shape and along one of the long sides, the archer stood at one end of the building and the target was at the other end.  We saw many marks in the wall of the building at the target end where arrows had missed the mark.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to walk the grounds to get a shot of the archery “range,” and the light was too intense to try to capture that image.  The shot here gives an idea of the immensity of the building.

Seiryuden Temple Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Seiryuden Temple
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Our next stop was the Seiryuden Temple, which was partway up a nearby mountain and was build on an area known as the Shogunzuka Mound (将軍塚, Shōgunzuka), which gave us a spectacular panoramic view of Kyoto.  The interior of this Temple was a rather large, open space with a small altar area.  Like much of what we have seen in Asia, and in Southern Europe, the art and religious articles often have a lot of gilding and color — particularly gold.  What is especially notable about the Japanese art and architecture, however is its elegant simplicity.  This can be seen in the open space of the interior of this temple, and in the very unique, glass teahouse that is in the center of the observation deck.

Seiryuden Temple Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Seiryuden Temple
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Seiryuden Temple Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Seiryuden Temple
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Our next stop, Nijo Castle (Nijojo) was kind of special.  A UNESCO Historic Site; our hosts informed us that within the next several months, this site will become closed to the public (presumably except for only special events).  This was the Palace, fortress, home and military headquarters of the Tokugawa Shogun.  There were no photographs allowed inside the palace, shown here, but it had some really interesting, simple, and very old artwork.  There were numerous rooms within the Place with a long, wooden hallway around the perimeter.  The Palace was surrounded with a wall, an we entered through a very ornate gate, as seen here.

Ninomaru Palace Nijo Castle Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Ninomaru Palace
Nijo Castle
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Nijo Castle Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Nijo Castle
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Our next stop was — predictably — lunch.  My son wanted us to try a Ramen restaurant, and my daughter wanted to try it, too.  Our hosts had heard of a famous restaurant nearby which was know for its “Fire Ramen.”  It was, once again a very hot day, and being in a different country and culture, we didn’t know exactly what to expect.  But my daughter and her boyfriend, our daughter-in-law and her mom all wanted to try the fire ramen.  The rest of us sat at a nearby table and ordered “regular” ramen.  :-).  As it turns out, the primary difference was that the fire ramen had a pan of extremely hot oil poured into it which create a high flame (and then lots of smoke).  The regular ramen was delicious.  I grew to like the very smoky miso broth that was common with these noodle dishes.  And I did it all with chop sticks.  I tried to photograph it, but it happens very fast.  I had my camera ISO set too low and as you can see, there is a fair amount of “motion” in the image.  Maybe not a bad depiction, as the involuntary reaction is to lean back away from the flame.  🙂

Fire Ramen Restauran Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Fire Ramen Restauran
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Knowing we were going to Kyoto, my daughter-in-law asked us what we would like to see while there.  I opined that the one place I wanted to see (and mostly, to photograph) was the Temple Rokuon-Ji.  This golden temple was photogenic in every illustrative image I saw, while researching Japan.  To my great pleasure, this temple was next on our rotation.  And it did not dissappoint!  There will be a print of this spectacular site on my wall soon.  In fact, we have a prominent place in our home where we plan to hang it.  We were fortunate to have nice skies and though mid-day light, not a harsh as it could have been.  I can only imagine shooting this temple in the golden light of early morning or evening.  But I am satisfied with what we did have.  The reflecting pond makes this a pretty good photographic site.  This was perhaps the single most crowded destination we visited during our stay in Kyoto, but the pond made it possible to not only isolate the site without any people in it, but it also provided lots of interersting foreground interest.  We saw an image of this scene dusted with snow and it made me want to come back here in December!

Temple Rokuon-Ji Kyoto Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Temple Rokuon-Ji
Kyoto Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Temple Rokuon-Ji Kyoto Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Temple Rokuon-Ji
Kyoto Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Whew!  Already a long, and sight-filled day.  But we weren’t done yet.  Next stop, the Bamboo Forest.  There is not really much to say here, except wow.  It is tall, limbless bamboo trees as far and tall as the eye can see.  It makes you want to, well, photograph it :-).

Bamboo Forest Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Bamboo Forest
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Bamboo Forest Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Bamboo Forest
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Our final destination for the day, and our final visit to Kyoto’s historic and cultural sites, was the Fushimi Inari Shrine.  This huge shrine holds numerous buildings, the architecture of which either mimics, or includes the rather symbolicly famous, orange Japan gate structure.  Indeed there is a significant part of this site which involves a long corridor up a mountain path, made of these gates.

Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

These structures were very ornately decorated, but again, displayed the elegantly simple architectural design that is quintessentially Japanese.

Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

As we proceeded higher into the shrine, we started to see the developing scenario, which involved the orange gates.  The writing on the pillar is the names (in kanji of course) of persons who donated money to the shrine.  For a price, you may still purchase one of these.  There are some very large ones that come at a higher price.

Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Fushimi Inari Shrine
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

In spite of this ambitious agenda, we actually ended our rather long day around 4:00.  We made plans to meet for dinner later, and I took care of two more items on my agenda.  My pro friend, Ray, tells me that no “real” photographer visits Japan without going to Yodabashi.  It turns out that there are several locations for this electronics superstore, including one right in central Kyoto, by Kyoto station.  So I walked over.  I have never been to B&H in New York and I am sure it is a pretty big store.  But Yodabashi was 2 or three stories, with each story covering roughly the ground of a typical Best Buy department store – perhaps larger.  And the camera section was at least 50% of one of the floors.  It was mammoth, and for the most part, every possible camera and lens was out on shelves, and we were free to look, touch, pick up and look through the viewfinder; even fondle them 🙂 (one of the things that impressed me about the entire country of Japan is there is virtually no street crime.  People do not steal things.  I don’t know of any camera or electronics store in the U.S. where the merchandise was so freely available for demonstration.  And, it appeared to me that they had every brand and style known.

Yodabashi Camera Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Yodabashi Camera
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Just one Aisle Yodabashi Camera Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Just one Aisle
Yodabashi Camera
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Finally, being sated from the lust of a buyer who doesn’t really need anything and cannot really justify buying anything, I left the store, and headed back to Kyoto Station.  I know it was my last chance to walk around the station and shoot.  I had heard that it was an architectural phenomena and could see from the stairs and escalators going up many stories, that it was one I wanted to see and try to capture.

Kyoto Station Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kyoto Station
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kyoto Station Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kyoto Station
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

View from Kyoto Station Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

View from Kyoto Station
Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

We finished our day at a yakiniku restaurant.  Yakiniku means, generally, grilled meat.  We sat at small rectangular tables, with grills in the middle and ordered plates of meat and vegetables which we grilled and ate.  Delicious.

Next weekend, I am off to Vermont for a long weekend, to shoot foliage, meet some old friends, celebrate a couple friends no longer with us, and enjoy good fellowship.  Back the week after, I will finish up Japan (yes, there is more :-)), and start in on my time in Europe!  See you then.

Japan and back; Day 4

Temple Todai-Ji; Nara Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Temple Todai-Ji; Nara
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

On Sunday morning, our fourth day, we boarded the high speed bullet train and rode it to Kyoto, where we would spend our next approximately three days. Arriving at Kyoto station, we checked our bags at the Kyoto Grandvia Hotel, attached to the station, and met our car and driver for a trip down to Nara, to see a couple temples, and to feed the deer who have become human acclimated to the point that their behavior is much like dogs. They beg for food and if they know you have any of the wafers they sell for you to feed them, they will hound you until you feed them.

Deer; Nara, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Deer; at Temple Tojai-Ji; Nara, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

The weather in Kyoto for the time we were there was a beautiful, balmy 98 degrees, with humidity right around the same number.   We felt like we were going to melt.

Kohfukuh National Treasure Hall; Nara, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kohfukuh National Treasure Hall; Nara, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

After an afternoon visiting two impressive Temples, in Nara, we returned to Kyoto, where we visited a third Temple.

Temple, Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Of all the temples we visited, unfortunately, I cannon remember the name of this one.  I tend to revert back to my “landscape shooter” prejudices when at these kinds of scenes, and find it frustrating not to be able get the pristine shot with no people in it.  This one was a particular challenge, as we were there near closing and there were hundreds of people there.  We had to park off site and hike up a narrow street, and as you can see, there was the proverbial “sea of humanity” at this location.  Still, I was able to get some isolation shots.

Kyoto Temple; Kyoto Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kyoto Temple; Kyoto Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

This location was also one of the only two times on the trip that I regretted bringing the big gun and my 70-200 lens, as there was a very nice shot of one of the buildings tucked up into the hills which begged for a telephoto lens.

Kyoto Temple; Kyoto, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kyoto Temple; Kyoto, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

By the time we were finished with this temple, we were ready to check in to our rooms, shower, and find some food. Kyoto was where I got my indoctrination in Japanese noodle styles. We (sadly) did not try every different style of noodle offered in Japan, but I was interested to learn that it was not unusual for a restaurant to specialize in just one particular style. That night we went to a Soba Noodle restaurant. Not only was the meal filling and delicious, but I learned how to eat noodles with Chopsticks.

Kyoto Street Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Kyoto Street
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Japan and Back; Day 3

Outdoors, Roppongi Station; Tokyo Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Outdoors, Roppongi Station; Tokyo
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

The third day of our trip was almost entirely the wedding. Other than the fact that the wedding was an elaborate affair in which we once again, ate (you should be seeing a pattern here by now), the photos are of family and will stay mostly private.

Outdoors, Roppongi Station, Tokyo Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Outdoors, Roppongi Station, Tokyo
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

The previous morning, we had moved from our Park Tokyo Hotel, to the Grand Hyatt, in Roppongi, where the wedding was held.  I did manage to get out to walk around, both the night before and the morning of the wedding.  There is a Roppongi Hills shopping center there, attached to our hotel and to Roppongi Station, that was pretty impressive, including a nice outdoor plaza, with a view of Tokyo Tower.

Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, Japan Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, Japan
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I was able to find a spot to set up my tripod and shoot the tower at night.

Roppongi Station, Tokyo Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Doraemon figures Roppongi Station, Tokyo
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

I also shot some of the other parts of the outdoor plaza during the morning hours, including the entertaining series of hard plastic statues of Doraemon, a part of current popular culture in Japan.  This character is the main character of a manga series written about a cat who traveled back in time.  The series was popular 20 years ago; was the basis for an anime series in addition, and is said by Wikipedia to be the oldest running icon of its type in Japan.  I am told it is pretty common to see them around Tokyo these days.  I had some fun photographing them.

Roppongi Station, Tokyo Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Doraemon figures Roppongi Station, Tokyo
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Again, focusing on food, on Saturday night (some hours after we had spent two hours eating during reception), the newlyweds did take us to a sushi restaurant in the Roppongi Shopping center. My son had described the style of restaurant to me previously, and really wanted us to see it. The restaurant had a conveyor belt in front of the seating area and the sushi chef stood in the middle area and made the sushi. Each portion was put on a small round color-coded plate and placed on the conveyor belt. From there it was self-serve. At the end of the meal, the wait-person scanned your stack of plates and printed out a bill. Unique – and the sushi was wonderful.Restaurants Tokyo Japan08082016000015