Kinkaku-ji. The Golden Pavilion

Kinkaku-ji. The Golden Pavilion

Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kyoto. It’s a Zen temple which has two of its top floors completely covered in gold leaf. Originally it was villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and according to his will it was transferred into a Zen temple after his death.

The place is very beautiful, as the temple is overlooking beautiful pond, and it stands out from trees surrounding it, but it is also very crowded and honestly speaking I preferred other places in Kyoto. Of course I expected tripods to be banned and wasn’t surprised by that but what did surprise me was that you couldn’t even stop for too long to enjoy the view or take photos. Otherwise temple guards appeared and requested you to move. This might sound impolite from them but in fact without it, it wouldn’t be even possible to take a look at the temple – it’s so crowded!

I somehow managed to take some photos. They were taken during midday so the light isn’t great but as in most places like that opening hours don’t really allow to take golden / blue hour shots as the place is closing well before the sunset.

Kinkakuji. The Golden Pavilion

Camera info and post-processing

  • Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review)
  • Lens: Canon 16-35 f/4 L IS USM (read my review)
  • Focal length: 24 mm
  • Aperture: f/8.0
  • Exposure time: 1/25 s (“middle” exposure)
  • ISO: 320
  • Number of exposures: 5
  • E.V. Step: 1.0
  • Flash used: no
  • Tripod: no
  • Filters: no
  • Technique: manual blending with luminosity masks
  • Software: Magic Lantern, Capture One 9, Photoshop CC 2015, ON1 Effects 10.5

As you could see last time, I added before/after images comparison to the Camera info and post-processing section. My intention is to provide it for every photo I will share from now on to give you better idea what editing the image really involved and how post-processing helped in creating final image.

In this case I decided to use manual blending. Basically 0 EV photo was quite well-exposed apart from overexposed sky and slightly too bright water reflection. Also some deep shadows in the temple or in the rock in the foreground could be brightened up a little bit.

As always I started post-processing by fixing distortion and chromatic aberration for all my source images. After that I sent them to Photoshop CC where I manually blended the images using luminosity masking technique. I restored the sky from -1 and -2 EV photos and brightened the shadows using +1 EV photo. I decided to reject +2 EV photo as it wasn’t really needed.

Next I decided to do some cleaning of the image. I cloned out some disturbing elements like dust spots, some branches and dirt in the water. I also removed most of the tourists as I found them too distracting in this case. I mainly used clone tool for this with a bit of help of patch tool.

Then I improved midtones contrast a little bit and finally opened ON1 Effects plug-in and applied some contrast, color enhancements and slight vignetting.

Below you can see comparison of 0 EV image on the left and finished image on the right.

2017-01-17T19:42:24+00:00 July 19th, 2016|Posted in: Japan|