signs in the woods.

How do you not take a photo of something famous when you have travelled all the way to see it and how do you make your image relevant to you and a bit different? Usually you don't. Most of the time you end up with the same (imperfect unless you are extremely lucky) postcard image.

The Kyoto bamboo has been one of those things that I have had little enthusiasm for and even less luck shooting. The main problem is light. Because of the tall, thin nature of bamboo, it tends to cast shadows on sunny days or block out light and become dull on overcast days. The best light would probably be after a rain shower with high, bright overcast and maybe also work at either end of the day to further subdue the light.

Just buy a post card or a nice coffee table book on the subject (turns out Sam Abel already nailed it for me years ago).

But what if a theme I already like coincides with the iconic location?

I have always been drawn to graffiti, rust and ruin and run down urbanity, so when I found a patch of bamboo that had been "personalised", it fell in to place for me. The only trick was finding some carvings in the local language.

EM5 45mm f4

EM5 45mm f4

Suddenly, it more like the image below than a touristy shot.

Rare Japanese street "art" EM5 17mm f4

Rare Japanese street "art" EM5 17mm f4