February 24, 2009

Great Minds, Unlike Gear

Not Weatherproof... The village of Shirakawa-go is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cluster of perfectly preserved Gassho-style thatched-roof houses. The wife and I visited it on our trip to Japan last winter, and took plenty of pictures like the good little tourists we were. It was cold and gray while we were there, and it wasn't as if I was going to blow people away with an entry-level D40 camera paired with the convenient but IQ-maligned 18-200mm lens.

Nevertheless, I was pretty happy with some of the pictures I took. Particularly liked this one:
Gassho Cluster

Which showed the steep angle and the thick thatching of the roofs, as well as the details in the piles of snow, without blowing out the exposure. Of course, if you blow it up to full-size one notices the details of the grass roof becomes a bit mushy due to the less-sharp lens and the snow turn a bit fluorescent due to camera's limited dynamic range. But that's getting way too picky for a quick travel-snap.

I've upgraded my camera to the D90 since then, but then there are others who have gone all the way with Nikon's flagship D3x. Followed one fine gentleman on Flickr who has taken his new monstro-cam and gone around Japan taking in some excellent images worthy of its capabilities. Was tickled when he posted a picture from Shirakawa in almost the exact same spot as I:

Of course, his picture being taken with a D3x and the Zeiss 100mm f2 Makro-Planar, his gear lies on the extreme other end of the DSLR gear spectrum compared to mine. But it's still interesting how the same view can inspire two people the same way. Certainly makes one wonder whether beauty is really only in the eye of the beholder, or is it inherent within the scene itself.

Posted by mikewang on 02:56 PM