Sunday, April 18, 2010

Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge

The day after visiting Ako we headed back towards Kobe, staying at the Kobe end of the Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge (明石海峡大橋) which joins Kobe to Awajishima and which, according to Wkipedia, is the world's longest suspension bridge. The following day we took the ferry over to Awajisima and spent the day in a large park there.

In the morning the weather was rather grey and most of the photos I took of the bridge were grey on grey and rather boring. On the way back we took the ferry again, so that we could stop in Akashi for some of the famous local takoyaki, and the weather had brightened up so I had a second chance of photographing the bridge. The one I liked best seems to work well in black and white. The small boat in the forground adds a nice detail and was lucky timing since the photo was taken from the ferry so there was no possiblity of waiting for a suitable shot.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sunset in Ako

We stayed in a ryokan in Ako which was right on the coast. Before dinner we went down to the sea and while the boys played in the rockpools I took some pictures of the sunset.

Ako salt farm

During the spring break we had a long weekend in Hyogo, starting off in Ako. At the Ako Seaside park they have a reconstruction of an old salt farm, where salt was extracted from seawater. Ako used to be famous for salt as well as being home to the 47 ronin.

The picture above is of construction used to concentrate seawater. The water is pumped up to the top and sprayed onto the twigs. As it filters down, some of the water evaporates. Visitors can "make" their own salt by boiling the brine until all the water evaporates.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Reinstalling Windows 7

I have finally finished setting up the PC again after installing Windows 7. I had been using the pre-release version for some time but when that expired I could not face going back to XP so bought the Windows 7 upgrade. The re-install was fairly painless but it has taken me some time to set up all the applications again. Lightroom was one of the last to get set up. I was expecting it to be a pain to re-create all the settings and install the plugins but in fact I found that just copying the contents of the Application Data folder from the previous installation kept all of the settings and plugins so it actually only took a few minutes.

 The combination of rainy weekends, updating the PC and being generally busy has meant that I have not got around to updating the blog for some time. Now that spring is here and the weather is improving hopefully I will be getting out a bit more with the camera so will have something to post.

Plum Blossoms

Spring time in Japan means cherry blossoms. But before the cheery trees turn pink the plum trees come in to flower and last month we went off to Tsukigase, north east of Nara, to the plum festival. It was one of the first fine days of spring and the area was crowded with people out to see the plum blossoms.

Stalls in the along the path were selling locally produced pickles and, since this was a plum festival, umeboshi - the salty picked plums. There was even plum flavoured ice-cream.