Japan is a pretty amazing place. Its unique culture, food and friendly people all make it a wonderful country to visit. You can quickly and easily reach most cities with the shinkansen (bullet) train. But not Koyasan, a Buddhist pilgrimage retreat located on the top of Mount Koya. From Osaka you will need a subway, a train, a train, a steep cablecar and finally, a bus to get there. But boy, is it worth it. Walking through Okunoin cemetery, surrounded by giant mossy redwood trees and shrouded in fog, is easily my most magical experience of all time.
I have a theory that everything looks better surrounded by fog. It drapes a little veil over reality and makes you feel as if anything is possible. The fuzzy stuff dreams are made of. I walked past these gravestones – and it had everything to set a perfect scene: the row of pillars, the trees, the green moss, the faded Japanese signs, a hint of fog to shroud them in mystery. Unfortunaly fog doesn’t discriminate; it softens everything. So to emphasize the row of pillars and pull the eye along the line into the frame I decided to add a bit of highlight to a pillar to the right. Now, until then I almost never carried my flash with me. But here is when I learned why I really should – even if there is enough light. I used my external flash, placed it at the lowest power setting to camera right (about 45 degrees at eye height, pointing slightly down, aimed at the pillar). I also placed a warming gel on it, just to give a little bit of a warm touch and highlight that pillar. A little kiss of light. So, lesson learned: always carry a little light with you (and a fog machine if possible ;)).
Full Calendar 2013
This image is part of the 2013 calendar. Follow this link to download the full size version to use as wallpaper on your tablet or desktop.