Okochi-sanso by Night
Today's photo is another one I took on Saturday during my visit to this year's Arashiyama Hanatouro. As you might notice in this photo there is still a bit of autumn colour remaining, which is rare for this time of the year. Actually, early December's weather here this year was more like early November weather. The Arashiyama Hanatouro is on every night from 5:00pm-8:30pm until Sunday night (December 20th).
Okochi-sanso is the former villa and gardens of a silent samurai film actor named Denjiro Okochi. By day it is a very beautiful place to wander around and enjoy the gardens. By night there was less to see, but it was still worth it for me to get shots of the buildings and parts of the garden lit up. However most of the 2 hectares of gardens were pretty dark with only small lanterns to mark out the path. Since I only brought the 24mm lens with me, it wasn't worth trying to get shots of the night views of Kyoto from the various view points in the gardens. Pack a telephoto if you want to shoot those, plus a big tripod to hold it all! It was hard enough negotiating the steeper parts of the gardens with what gear I did bring.
Fortunately they halved the entrance fee to 500yen for the Arashiyama Hanatouro night viewing, but unlike the daytime the entry fee didn't include tea and a snack. It still kept its reputation for one of the least crowded attractions in Arashiyama. So, it was worth going there just to get out of the crowds and get photos without people continually walking in front of my camera. Also the small museum about Denjiro Okochi was still open during the night, which is worth seeing. Plus it has much nicer and less crowded toilets than anywhere nearby.
Okochi-sanso is about 15 minutes walk west of the Keifuku Arashiyama Station. The road to Okochi-sanso takes you through Arashiyama's famous Bamboo Forest. If you want to avoid the congestion in the Bamboo Forest during Hanatouro (if you've seen it before) another route is via the road alongside the Katsuragawa (Katsura river) and through a park (the path through the park is lined with lanterns during Hanatouro).
For this photo I used a Nikon D700 camera, an AF Nikkor 24f/2.8D lens and cable release mounted on a sturdy tripod. It was captured as a RAW (.NEF) file and post processed in DxO Optics Pro. Adjustments made included: Default camera and lens corrections; DxO Smart Lighting applied; DxO Clear View applied; Reducing highlight levels; increasing microcontrast levels; increasing vibrancy; and applying PRIME noise reduction.