Capital, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto, Japan

By | 2013-10-08T05:22:25+00:00 October 7, 2013|Categories: Asia, Japan, Photo of the Day, Unesco World Heritage Sites|Tags: , |6 Comments

temple capital KyotoThe temple complex of Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto was characterized by elaborate painted capitals on nearly all its buildings. For the most part, the shrines of Japan are relatively austere, especially when compared to the riotous colors of Buddhist shrines in, for example, Thailand. But here, they seem to have enjoyed a sense of whimsy, which exhibited itself in the bright colors and fantastic figures.

This wasn’t a difficult exposure. I just had to expose for the capital, which was in total shadow, and use Lightroom to add a little color and contrast via the Presence sliders. Nikon D800E, 24-70 f/2.8 lens set at 70 mm (I had to crop some to get this to fill the frame.) ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/320 sec exposure.

For more info on the equipment and software I use, see this page.


  1. Corinne October 8, 2013 at 8:26 am - Reply

    Great detail shot!

    • Tom Bartel October 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Corinne. The red and gold stripes actually reminded me of Catalunya.

  2. Lawrence Michaels October 8, 2013 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Very intricate design and colorful. It almost looks native American to me.

    • Tom Bartel October 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks Lawrence, it does a bit, except for the elephant.

  3. Rachel M October 9, 2013 at 2:01 am - Reply

    Vibrant and colorful design. The elephant makes it look Indian.

    • Tom Bartel October 9, 2013 at 2:38 am - Reply

      Buddhism came to Japan from India, via China, and I wonder if an elephant or two didn’t make the trip along with the cults. The Hindus, of course, have elephant figure gods.

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