Rock in a zen garden at Hokokuji Temple in Kamakura.

This past weekend, my wife and I took some friends to Kamakura for a bit of walking around and for me, some much needed photo time. Our friends had never been there before and Toni had really only seen the Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine and some of the coastal towns between Kamakura and Enoshima. I’ve done a little more exploring there, but the one temple I’d been trying to get to recently, Hokokuji, closes early-ish and for any number of reasons, I hadn’t made it before closing.

So that was stop one and the most notable feature at Hokokuji is the bamboo forest. The weather was overcast and a bit drizzly, so lovely blue skies and brilliant green bamboo were more or less out of the question, so black and white it was. There were a couple of scenes involving other objects that benefited from the use of color, but in regards to the bamboo, the mood really felt monochromatic. I loved the way the stems arc overhead and by using a superwide focal length of 16mm, I could accentuate the perspective and lead the eye from the base (or near enough) to where the tops get lost in the brightness of the sky, cloudy as it was. It was that very cloudiness that made the capture of details along the whole stem possible due to the dispersal of the light. It’s like moving from a room where the light source is a single, bare bulb to one where the entire ceiling is lit, causing shadows to mellow or disappear entirely.

So, we had stems of bamboo, lit wonderfully by a cloudy sky, and the remnants of the leaves that had fallen covering the ground with a light tan carpet. Add in that the dirt was exceptionally dark due to the light rain and the lack of harsh shadows and you get a wonderful scene for an afternoon stroll. It was all about texture for me. All in all, a very pleasant stop on the day.

We made a few more stops along the way, but it’s really the bamboo (and the company, of course) that made my day. Here are a couple of shots and please visit the rest of them in my zenfolio gallery.