Adventures in Japan | Kyoto & Himeji

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[Reflections from a shoot I did with a traditional Kyoto Maiko] 
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[Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine at sunrise] 
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[The hustle & bustle of the station by Himeji Castle]
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[A bridge overtop a small river in the Shimogamo-jinja Shrine]
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[The impressive dragon painted ceiling inside the Buddhist Kennin-ji Temple] 
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[A beauty shot from the same shoot with the Kyoto Maiko] 
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[Tourists take a boat ride on the river adjacent Himeji Castle] 
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[Otherworldy reflections in the water at Kokedera (Moss Garden Temple)]
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[A working Geisha walks the streets of Kyoto] 
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[All smiles at Sanzenin temple]
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[Monk crossing at Shimogamo-jinja Shrine at sunrise]
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[WA Experience KAFU, Ikebana and Calligraphy]
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[Exploring Koko-En] 
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[Wedding sighting at Shirasaginomiya] 
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[Bamboo Forest at sunrise] 
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[Profile shot from the shoot with the Maiko] 
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[Our driver frames the perfect shot at Koetsu-ji Temple] 

     As I obsessively reviewed my photo selections for this post in my perfectionist manner, the overwhelming sense of curiosity and anticipation I felt in Kyoto returned. Moving from landmark to landmark, the excitement to see what unique structure or coincidental, "perfect-timing" scenes we came across fortunately became an unwavering sentiment. This thrill of stumbling upon photo opportunities even held true through our early-morning shoots in Kyoto, which ranged from as early as 6 to 6:30 a.m. starts and 7:30 a.m. finishes. I'm not necessarily the first person to propose an early start, but getting up to take photos was worth the fatigue. In addition to the striking architecture, it always seemed as if the photo-gods or whatever managed to throw in some perfect subjects for photos that I had only ever hoped to capture. The vibrance of this city and the endless photo opportunities hallmarked Kyoto as my favorite destination on our trip. 

     Aside from the mosaic-esque landscapes we saw and the myriad nature scenes admired, Kyoto also brought about a unique photo experience for me. Previously, I've only ever done impromptu photo shoots with my friends, in which half of the time is spent laughing about how awkward posing is, while the other half of the time, you can see me trying to get us to focus for a bit. Otherwise, I have had little to no professional portraiture experience. In Kyoto, however, I was fortunate enough to get a personal shoot with our guide and a traditional Kyoto Maiko, who gave us insight into her lifestyle, discussing what exactly had prompted her to go down this path toward becoming a Geisha. She was just a few months or so older than me, so hearing about her starkly contrasting life was both interesting and strange in the best sense of the word. We all drove to a nearby teahouse to take photos, some of which are included in this post. I really surprised myself with my sliver of ability to shoot portraiture, capturing some cool reflections and the Maiko's beauty. Click here for more information on what being a Maiko entails.

Keep checking this space for more Japan photo posts, organized by city! My favorite shots will be featured very soon over on my portfolio, Isabelle Nazha Photo. 

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