Friday, 8 November 2013

Kasuga Shrine, Nara, Kyoto

Spent the day in Nara, the original capital city of Japan (dating back to 768AD) One of my biggest issues when shooting in typical Japanese shrines is their dark colour. Most of Kyoto's ancient shrines are constructed from very dark timber timber so unless the lighting is perfect, all you get is a black outline with negligible shadow detail. One way to deal with this is to shoot HDR - three frames and process using Photomatix Pro or a similar HDR processing software. Another solution is to fill the frame with colour wherever possible.

In this shot of stone lamps leading up to the Kasuga Taisho, I tried to add slightly more visual impact by vignetting the part of the picture that was sharp (shot at f2.8) then brightening the inside of the vignette and darkening the outside. Some care is needed not to overdo the result. I usually also add a softening blur to the outer part of the selection then a (USM) sharpening filter to the inside to further bring out the detail in the vignette.

There are loads of deer roaming wild in the park. All appear very well fed, by the tourists of course, who can purchase deer food (a type of biscuit) to give to the unsuspecting ungulates.  They make cute subjects among the stone lanterns.

Shooting close up details is another technique to use when trying to get away from either too many dark wooden structures or pictures that are far too busy with detail. Less is usually always more (or better) because then picture construction becomes simpler...

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