Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Nara Rurie 2018

奈良瑠璃絵 2018

Nara Rurie is an annual illumination (lighting) event that is held in the area around Nara Park, Todaiji and Kasuga Taisha every year in February.
This year, the event was held from February 9-14, from 6-9pm.
The final day of the event usually features fireworks at Mt. Wakakusa.

The event is meant as an anniversary celebration for the establishment of Nara Park. 
The term "rurie" mean "azure corridor" and is a reference to the Silk Road trade which brought blue-colored mineral, azure (ruri), to Japan and it was associated with happiness.

The light course is quite sprawling and you will need the entire 2.5 hours of an evening session to see everything. At 8:30 Kasuga Taisha closes and the lights are turned off after 9.

The main location of the event is the Kasugano International Forum which is located between Todaiji, Kasuga Taisha and Mt. Wakakusa. The International Forum has many food vendors, a warm indoor lobby (with restrooms) and is the gateway to a garden which is covered in a field of LED lights which can be viewed from indoors for free but it costs 500 yen to enter the garden.

For this photo expedition, I used a star cross filter to achieve the "sparkle" effect for the lights. Adjusting the brightness level of the camera's exposures I was able to tone down the obstructive light pollution of the shots. The large number of lights often caused an overwhelming tortoise-shell effect on some shots. For this reason I was switching between, high and low brightness settings and taking off the lens filter.

The banners at Todaiji were made by local handicapped community members.

Lights refracting and intermixing in the grooves of the snow cross filter.

The shutters were open to display the face of the giant Buddha statue to viewers outside.

The lights reflect nicely on the smooth walkway stones outside Todaiji.

An azure tunnel in front of the Internatinoal Forum.

Lights on a bamboo tripod.

The filter effect is a bit much here, the composition could have benefited from toning down the brightness to let the background, with three silhouettes outlined against a white wall, stand out.

The deer are made of a translucent foam plastic.

A fawn.

The power cords running out from between the hind legs of the deer was not very photogenic.

Visitors could receive a balloon that had a faint LED light inside. The kid in this picture seems to have collected the balloons of the entire family.

The canopy of the background had bamboo frames upon which people could hang their tanabata-style wishes.

More direct and intense lights has larger snow crosses with the filter.

A nice sparkle with the lights. At this setting you can just start see the repeating tortoise-shell pattern.

At this proximity to the internally lit deer, the snow cross patterns do not overlap the deer, so the deer seem to be floating over a field of stars.

An area where you can frame the deer with black space.

The passersby are covered in blue light reflected from the ground LEDs but the internally lit deer have their own, other-worldly, color.

Mist is sprayed over the stream and lit with variable-color LED arrays.
You can clearly see the tortoise-shell effect caused by the spacing of relatively bright lights in the foreground.

The amber colored walkway makes a nice border through this picture.

The usual jin-rikusha (rickshaws) of Nara are replaced with these illuminated, traffic friendly vehicles for this night event.

Lights projected through a cloud of mist.

The projection is accompanied by music.

The fog provides a three dimensional canvas for the light show.

Bamboo light stands with the five storied pagoda (goju-no-to) of Kofukuji Temple in the background.

A pyramid made of cut segments of bamboo. Makes for an interesting display of light and shadow with a natural aesthetic that suits Japan.

A single piece of bamboo that is split and bent to make a heart shape.
Pink lighting attempts to give the bamboo a pink color.

Changing LED light panels illuminate the sides of the stone lanterns (ishi torou) while the ornaments in the trees reflect bright white light.

Light being cast on the trees and pathway.

You can see the lights reflected onto the stone lanterns here.

Disco balls and colored acrylic ornaments.
The large ornament in the center looks like one of the bronze lanterns which are a feature of Kasuga Taisha.

The surroundings look great with this light exposure but the higher brightness does not suit the bright lighting of the decorations when using a star cross filter. 

Similar settings without the lens filter.