Miyajima Island

This is going to be a long one, so get a drink, sit down and have a look at the photographs from Miyajima Island. This is only a selection, I spent all day on the island and although I visited the most important temples and shrines, I know I missed some. There was so much to photograph so let’s get on with it and I’ll show you some.

Miyajima Island

A regular ferry service runs from Miyajima Guchi to Miyajima, the Island of Gods. The island is situated on the Seto Inland Sea and is considered to be one of the most scenic spots in Japan. Itskushima Shrine is a World Heritage site but there are other shrines, temples and historical monuments which are well worth a visit.

So from the ferry terminal I made my way through the Omotesando Shopping Arcade headin towards my first temple

Omotesando Shopping Arcade

But I had to have a look at what was on offer in some of the shops as I strolled through the arcade

Food Glorious Food

Looks interesting, but far to early in the morning for me. Talking of early, the deer love the tourists and they wait for them coming off the ferry. To see if they’ve goy any food in their backpacks. seriously they can get quite aggressive and you see them everywhere on the island

Ferral Deer

But I can’t be hanging around here so it’s onwards and upwards. Time to start climbing up the mountain to some of the shrines and temples.

But before I do, I’ll leave you with this one of the Torii Gate taken from the shoreline before I headed up the mountain. I would have loved to have photographed this at sunset but to be honest after spending all day on the mountainside in the heat, when I came back down I just wanted to get back on the ferry and head for home.

The Great Torii

I really should watch where I’m going. Second day in Japan and I was so eager to get a photograph of ToyoKuni Shrine that I fell over a some small rocks surrounding the base of th etree. Luckily there was no damage to my camera or lens.

Toyokuni Shrine

The five storied Pagoda. There’s no easy way to photograph this, as due to the confines around it, you sort of have to look up. Now normally I would be complaining about clear blue skies, not ideal for photography as it makes for very harsh light, but in this case it helps the pagoda to stand out.

Five Storied Pagoda

Theres so mch to see see and photograph here, including these prayers left by vistors to the shrine.

Prayers

Onwards and upwards as they say, past the prayer wheels. It is said that spinning the wheels is the equivalent of reading one volume of the Hannya-shinkyon or Heart Sutra.

Mani Wheels

Further up the mountain I came to the Daishi- Do Hall. It was so peaceful here compared to the hustle and bustle of the lower levels and the town. It was also a little bit cooler as there was a slight breeze and lots of shade.

Daishi-do Hall

I was struggling to work out what these figures are at the entrance to one of the shrines. There was no one to ask but I think they are dieties. I could be wrong though.

Statues

On the way up to the I found these statues, all with different facial expressions. If I’ve read correctly, in total there are 500 of them and they are called Rakan Statues

Rakan Statues

Carrying on in this upper level I kept coming across different little figures in lovely cool shaded areas, often with small streams of chanelled water running past them.

In all there are seven figures which are believed to redeem the spirits of deceased babies and children. To console the souls of loved one,s worshippers pour water over the images, which would explain why I could see the small streams..

 

Mizukake Jizo

One thousand Buddha’s line the sides of this shrine.

1000 Buddhas

Here’s a close-up

Little Buddha

For me this was the find of my visit to Miyajima, and I stumbled on it more by chance than anything else. I really should read the guides books, but they are like reading camera manuals. Anyway, it’s called Henjokutso Cave. Inside the cave there are 88 principal Buddhist icons. Followers believe that instead of visiting the 88 temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, they can be given the blessing of the pilgrimage route by visting Henjokutso Cave.

Henjokutsu Cave

So that’s it from Miyajima. I hope you enjoyed the photographs – Mike

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Gingaku-ji

It’s three weeks since I got back from Japan and only now am I getting around to really look at the photographs I have taken there. Since I got back we’ve been working on completely renovating and landscaping the back garden to make it more maintenance friendly. This has meant, clearing borders, laying weed matting and shifting two tons of delivered chip stones from the from the front garden to the back. Decking stripped clean and freshly stained. Doesn’t sound a lot but it’s been hard work. So finally I’ve got a little time to sit in front of the computer.

Ginkaku-ji, is a Zen temple situated along Kyoto‘s eastern mountains (Higashiyama). whose name literally means “Temple of the Silver Pavilion”.

Silver Pavillion

Work started on building the temple, commissioned by shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, in 1482. This was to be his retirement villa, modelled after the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), built by his grandfather on at the base of Kyoto’s northern mountains (Kitayama). I’ll have a post later about the Golden Pavilion, probably next week.

You cannot enter the pavilion but one side is open for you to get a view inside.

Room With A View

My next photograph shows some of the maintained dry sand garden, which is known as the “Sea of Silver Sand”. In the background you can just see a massive sand cone which has the rather strange name of  “Moon Viewing Platform”.

How do they do it? First of all, those parallel lines are drawn on a bank of sand which is about a half metre high, how does that keep it’s shape. Secondly, how do they draw the lines in the sand and keep them exactly parallel. without disturbing the sand which is perfectly flat. And what about that cone? It’s not small and not a grain of sand out-of-place. Amazing, utterly amazing.

Silver Sands

Next to the sand garden is the Hondo, or Main Hall, which has paintings on it’s sliding doors. It’s just a shame that you cannot see inside the Hondo, but I suppose it’s to protect the inside of the building.

Hondo

There is one other building in the gardens and it sits right next to the Hondo. It’s the Togudo Temple which dates back to the temple’s foundation.

Tugodo

Wandering around the gardens allows you to get different views of the pavilion and I’ll leave you with these.

Silver Pavillion

Simple, but stunningly beautiful.
The Gardens

Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the photographs – Mike

It’s A Compromise

Well further to my last article about trying to replace Windows Live Writer with Word 2016 as my blogging editor I have come to the conclusion that I’m going to have to compromise.

Despite Word being a great editor, for some reason Microsoft decided to remove Flickr as service in the 2016 version. Therefore, although I can link to the photographs, that’s all you get, a link. Word will not show those photographs.

So here’s where the compromise comes in. During my research, and boy I spent a lot of time looking into this, I came up with using the WordPress Desktop App to write my blog posts. It’s not ideal but hopefully it will allow me to “crack on” and become productive again. Who knows. maybe in time I will get used to it…..

Uh! Uh! Just found a problem. I can’t save and come back to the article I’m writing. Correctiom, not entirely true. WordPress saves automatically from time to time and disable the save button until I type something.

Enough of this, it’s photographs you want to see, so here goes. Time to see if this works.

Sitting on a beach in Barbados I spotted this woman waiting for friends who had gone swimming. I don’t know what it is about this scene but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to get the photograph.

Girl On A Beach

Still in Barbados, this rigged ship was getting ready to leave on a cruise around the islands. Interesting way to travel…..

Tall Ship

I’m not convinced that using this desktop app is going to work. One thing I could be sure of with WLW was that all photographs were the exact same size when I was editing the post and when it was finally published. At the moment they look a right mess.

Lifeguard Hut

It had to hapen, late in the afternoon this helicopter dropped in over the beach heading for the airport. Managed to get a reasonable photograph with the little travel camera I took with me for this holiday.

Private Ride

Did I mention that I was cruising around the Caribbean islands before sailing back to the UK, via Ponta Delgada in the Azores (mid Atlantic). Anyway, at one of the island ports our cruise ship, one of the biggest in the P+O fleet, has to do a 180 turn in a narrow inlet. Standing by, just in case anything went wrong was this tug boat, although it was never used.

Tug Boat

So that’s it. First real post using the WordPress Desktop App. I really would like your opinion on whether the format works, or not. Mike

5kg Weight Limit…Are You Serious

You might have noticed that it’s been very quiet on Say It With A Camera, these past few weeks. There again you might not. I’m taking an early vacation, so I’ve been busily preparing everything for a journey to hotter climes. Of course I didn’t arrange this little trip, I left that to my travel planner, “her indoors”. Now as usual for a trip like this I was I was busy concentrating on my camera gear, deciding what to take or leave behind. Then my travel planner hit me with a bombshell, “You know you can only take a maximum of 5kg of carry-on baggage”, she says. My comment is censored.

A good few years back I lightened the load by switching to a mirrorless camera. But even in doing so, 5kg would be difficult to achieve when you include said camera, at least two lenses, battery pack, spare batteries, battery charger, memory cards, cleaning cloths, remote control, and a tripod. Oh! And don’t forget the back-pack to carry it all.

Still never one to look a “gift horse” in the mouth I took the opportunity to buy a small point and shoot, that weighs about 322 gm and has a zoom lens that far outreaches my longest mirrorless lens. However it’s not all win win. The downside is the censor is small, very, very small so I’m not going to get the same great picture quality that I would get from my Olympus E-M1 Mk2.

Battery charged, memory card in it’s off to the beach I go. Who needs to read the manual, a camera is a camera, is a camera.

Panasonic TZ90

But it’s not too bad, all things considered. So here’s a few photographs that I’ve taken at three of my favourite spots for testing cameras, Talacre Beach, the Cathedral at St Asaph and Rhyl Beach

Panasonic TZ90

Now bear in mind I’m going to be using this camera for “holiday snaps” but even so it has a pretty impressive set of features. It’s not just an automatic camera, there’s a 20 Mp Sensor, 30x Optical Zoom, Raw and JPEG capability,  5 axis stabilisation, PASM Modes, 4K Video to name a few. But with such a small sensor noise could be a factor, however as I’ve said before I’m not going to be printing anything, although I’ve read a user review that said they could print at A2 size without any problems.
No! This camera will be used for Facebook and Instagram, which by the way it appears that if I connect my camera to my phone I can post directly to both social media sites.

Panasonic TZ90

In the photograph below I’ve zoomed out the maximum length of the lens. Not too bad at all…

Panasonic TZ90

Could be sharper. I don’t know if that’s down to me or the camera, but the highlights aren’t blown out.

Panasonic TZ90

Lighthouse is in focus, foreground is slightly out. After a couple of days of using the camera I found out I could direct the focus away from multipoint to single, better still I could use the touch screen to select the focus point I wanted. Moral of the story RTFM.

Panasonic TZ90

Highlights are severely blown, but for a hand-held shot at night it’s in focus, that’s something. Apparently there’s a setting for night photography. I really should RTFM.

Panasonic TZ90

Back at the lighthouse. Winter has taken it’s toll on the paintwork. I’m getting more and more used to using the camera. Admittedly I have found out it doesn’t like dull days. there tends to be more noise. I can cancel it out in Lightroom without making the photograph too mushy, but all in all I’m pretty happy with performance.

Panasonic TZ90

The old castle at Rhudlan, must be high tide because the river lever is really high and we’re not much further than a mile from the sea

Panasonic TZ90

I turned off the annoying electronic shutter sound but maybe I might just turn it back on and mute it down so it’s just audible. Why? I left the camera in hi-speed drive and took this photograph. I had twenty-five more just like it because I couldn’t hear that the shutter was continuously firing.

Panasonic TZ90

This was really at the extreme end of the range of the lens, not only optical zoom but digital as well. Not recommended for small objects like birds, sitting on a swaying stalk about 50 metres away.

Panasonic TZ90

Back on Rhyl Beach, I really must master these focus points.

Panasonic TZ90

A church on the hill beside a river

Panasonic TZ90

Macro mode, I like this….

Panasonic TZ90

Did I mention the camera could also auto bracket, so if necessary I can capture a series of photographs inside in preparation for putting them through my favourite HDR software

Panasonic TZ90

So that’s it, I’ll be back in a few weeks. Now have I packed the sun tan lotion.

Another Year Has Gone……I’m Getting Old

It’s nearly the end of the year and I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite photographs that I have taken throughout 2017. It’s hard to choose though but here goes.

January started off blustery with some high seas. It’s hard to believe from this photograph that when the tide goes out I can walk around the base of this marker which is probably about 30ft high. Our tides are quite high at times; combine that with an on-shore breeze an there is potential for flood damage. That’s why we have some very large sea defences. This marker notes that underneath surface there are large rocks, the first part of our defences, positioned to break up tidal surges.

January

February saw me in Chester Cathedral which I had been meaning to visit for some years now, but just never got around to it. The cathedral is very large inside and I was thinking about how to show the scale. So I was really please when one of the clergy cam and sat down right in front of me. If you look really closely you will see two other people, but they are lost in the scale of the cathedral.

February

In the UK we are lucky to still have many of our stately homes in good preservation order thanks to the National Trust, of which I am a member. Although tripods aren’t allowed, photography is is permitted and so I’m able to get some great photographs from inside the houses I have visited. I like this one with the table set for dinner.

March

Back in Chester, this time on the streets on a cold, wet and windy April’s day. With horrible grey skies, street photography seemed the best option. A bit of Black & White, some extreme HDR and there you go….

April

Warmer climes in May, beautiful sunny Lisbon, Portugal. Walking away from the tourist paths I came across a series of street art, that was on doors, the sides of building, even the streets themselves. This one caught my eye, although to be honest I could have included any of the ones I photographed that day.

May

I am extremely luck that in summer time the sun sets out to sea. This can make for some great “big sky” sunsets. Yet in this case, here I am in town, with the sun starting to set and so I decided to go for the silhouette.

June

July caught me chasing sunsets again, this time at Talacre and the lighthouse. Only this time I was trying to capture some long exposures which give the clouds that blurred look and the sea looks as though it has gone flat and milky.

July

When I knew I was going to be visiting the South of France I was determined to get to the Museum of Photography in Chalon-sur-Saone. August was so hot with temperatures in the 40’s centigrade. far too hot to be walking around. Inside the museum it was like a sweat box but I was determined to stick it out and see the exhibits.

August

One of the things I like about Olympus, as well as the cameras, is that they run experience days, where Olympus users can get together with Olympus experts, to ask questions, borrow equipment for the day and usually get some good deals as well. It give you a chance to meet other Olympus users who are likely to be local to you area as well. So in September we were on the Llangollen Railway which is a heritage line running here in North Wales. Apart from the weather, a great day out as we had access to areas that, such as the workshops and signal boxes, that most visitors never get access to.

September

Another overseas trip, this time to Budapest. Of all the photographs I took in Berlin I had to include this one of the Parliament taken from the Buda side of the river. Such an ornate building and well-lit at night, great for photography

October

It was cold, so cold, but a gang of us decided to brave the temperature, to photograph the bridge over the River Dee at Connah’s Quay in November. I had all the gear on that I normally wear for walking in the mountains so I should have been warm, but when you are just standing around you don’t generate your own internal heat the same way. We stuck it for about an hour, then decided to move on to Flint Castle. Never did get that photograph because the snow started to fall and unusually the castle wasn’t lit, as it usually is at night.

November

Unusually for me, I’ve only been out on one photography trip through December and that was to a long-standing engagement to take a walk around the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool. It’s an industrial area that has many old buildings and warehouses; along with some great street art. What more could a photographer ask for.

December

Well that’s it for this year, for those who take part in the Weekly Challenge, here’s to some new and interesting ones in 2018.

I’d like to thank all those who follow Say It With A Camera. Your comments are appreciated and hopefully I have managed to acknowledge all of your comments over the last year. Finally I wish you all a Healthy and Happy New Year – Mike

The Great Market Hall, Budapest

Last week I was lucky to be in Budapest for a short break. Although photography would be a part of the trip the idea was to enjoy some downtime with my wife. See the sights, taste the food, you get the idea. Unfortunately we were not always blessed with good weather and during the photography times, tourists were everywhere. So the photographs always tend to have people in them. There’s not a lot you can really do about either the weather or people, so just get on with it.

One of the sights in Budapest that was on our bucket list to visit was The Great Market Hall on the Pest side of the river. From out hotel it was an easy visit. Four stops on the tram, walk across the Liberty Bridge over the river and you’re there. This isn’t a small building, by any means approximately 10,000 square metres floor space. It’s the sort of place you could spend all day in, just wandering around.

Great Market Hall
Bracket set of 3 using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/50s, f7.1, ISO 200

As all market halls should, there are a large variety of goods on sale. Fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, bakery products, spices, liquors, tourist tat, fast food, no, not Mickey Dees, or anything like that, Hungarian fast food, as you’ll see later.

Fruit and Veg
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/100s, f5, ISO 400

Hungarians love cake and sweet pastries. I do as well and it was very tempting but I’m supposed to be cutting down, Hungarian meals are large, very large.

A Bit Of Cake
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/60s, f5, ISO 400

Down on the ground floor of the market it’s mainly produce for sale. I was told that many Budapest natives visit early, around 8am before the tourists descend on the market. They know what they want and they go right for it. No time for messing with dilly-dallying tourists.

Shop Floor
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/6s, f7, ISO 200

If you like Paprika this is the place to go. It comes in all types, sweet, hot, smoked, There’s chillies as well, everything priced but you do have to shop around, prices for the same items vary from stall to stall.  What’s cheap on one stall will be dearer on another and when you want to buy several items you’ll find that at least one of them is less expensive on the stall next door. Swings and roundabouts.

Paprika
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/25s, f5, ISO 400

There’s all the tat a tourist could ever want. Head on around the corner though, don’t go for the fancy presentation and you’ll get better and fresher products.

Tourist Tat
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/320s, f5, ISO 400

Now for those Europeans amongst us. Would you believe there’s an Aldi store in the basement of the Great Market Hall. I kid you not. That’s the advert for the stores weekly bargains that you can see in the background.

Meeting Up
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/25s, f3.5, ISO 400

Still on the ground floor, there’s a whole section of the Great Market Hall devoted to meat. Hungarians love meat, Duck (Kacsa) is a speciality in many restaurants. We went to a fabulous restaurant called Kacsa on Kacsa Street, where the speciality was duck and boy was it good.

Meat Eater
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/125s, f5, ISO 400

On the upper floor of the market there are long narrow terraces along the sides of the building with a few crossing from one side to the other. It’s here that you will find all the tourist stuff. Walking along these passages is quiet tight, there’s so many people walking about. I don’t know how old this lady is, a gentleman never asks, but she was there doing here best to sell, sell, sell.

How Old?
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/13s, f5.6, ISO 400

With open stalls, I don’t suppose you can just walk away and leave it for any time. So it’s a drink on the spot for this stall holder. There’s a lot of lace and embroidery here on this floor, but nowadays I’m always wary. After all the three most used words in the English language nowadays are “Made In China”. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, but the cynical me is always about.

Drink Time
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/30s, f5.6, ISO 400

On the opposite side of the Great Market Hall is where you get food. Lots of food, large portions as well. It ranges from Goulash, to pasta, to sausages, there’s all sorts, hot and tasty

Food Glorious Food
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/60s, f3.5, ISO 400

You know I said it was lots of food. That’s a bowl of Goulash those girls are photographing. Full of chunks of beef with a paprika sauce/gravy. It’s hearty and filling that’s for sure.

Photo Op
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark 2 with the 12-40mm PRO Lens 1/100s, f3.5, ISO 400

Ok! So that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this visit to the Great Market Hall, Budapest, Hungary with me. Later this week I’ll be writing about the architecture and hopefully by the weekend I’ll be able to show you some night photographs from Budapest.

Hôtel-Dieu, Beaune

Once an alms-house for the poor, the Hotel Dieu is now a museum and at last I have found an ancient building in France that is not bare of furniture and fittings. Right from the start I knew there would be some good photo opportunities and it really was a shame that the sun wasn’t out. Instead i had to contend with gloomy grey skies throughout the day. But it’s a one-off visit so I had to make the most of it, stop moaning about the light and get on with it.

Courtyard

Of course like all museums and tourist attractions you just can’t get away from the crowds and this particular group always seemed to be just in front of me. But ignore the people and look at the ceiling. How beautiful is that?

The Ward

Those beds are were the sick and poor were quartered. Privacy, of which there is little, comes from drawing a curtain across. But when all’s said and done, it must have been a lot better to be in here, rather than being out on the streets.

Beds

So I finally had a stunning plan. Jump ahead of that group and stay ahead of them whilst I got my photographs. there were other people about but I could work around that. meanwhile I’m impressed with the level of fittings that are here in the museum, even down to the mannequins dressed as nuns. Although more on that later……

Private Ward

….and here’s where I think the mannequin doesn’t work. Red lipstick, beautifully shaped eye-brows, any nuns I’ve seen, and I’ve seen loads, having once lived very near Rome and the Vatican, just didn’t look like that.

Kitchen

But the museum is well equipped and although I photographed a lot of rooms there’s only so much I can include here. Which takes me to the Apothecary. I could spend time in Photoshop cloning out the ropes and the sign with the number but I wanted to get this post out. Besides which you get to see the room as I did and that’s how it should be.

Apothecary

Anyway after a while I left the Hotel Dieu and went for a wander around Beaune. Such a nice little town, Narrow cobbled streets to walk around, not too much traffic and a lot of building associated with the wine industry, including a free museum you can walk around.

Streets

And of course, there’s always a church. As I had time to spare. I had a quick wander around

Basilique Notre Dame

It’s a typical French church, pretty ornate inside, with high vaulted ceiling and lots of stained glass.

Dome

Like most French churches, there are lots of private chapels, some very ornate, some quite simple.

Stained Glass

Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this quick tour with me – Mike