The best photos often happen by chance. Photographer Jeffrey Friedl is setting up his $6000 Nikon D4 camera with a $2000 Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 lens. It’s late afternoon on an autumn day at Kurodani Temple in Kyoto. It’s the golden hour: the sun is setting; light is sparse and soft; only a few people linger at the temple.

It’s the perfect situation for a clear shot. Then a Geiko and her patron walk into frame. This is serendipity (happy chance).

Geiko at Kurodani Temple, Kyoto

Geiko at Kurodani Temple, Kyoto
Geiko in Kyoto at Kurodani Temple. Photo from Jeffrey Friedl’s Spoiling My Shot post.

It’s not hard to spot a geiko in Kyoto. Hang around the streets of Gion and you’ll spot many geiko, geisha and maiko shuffling in and out of buildings. It’s the happy chance of the appearance of a geiko here, in an area some distance north of Gion, that makes this such a special photo.

I follow many, many Japan based photographers. Jeffrey Friedl’s blog is one of my favourites. Going by the domain name ( you’d think it would be a blog about regular expressions used in programming. That’s what I love about this guy’s blog, it’s very technical, which speaks to my inner geek.

Jeffrey lives in Kyoto and is a photographic technology expert. He’s worked as a consultant for Adobe on their Lightroom program and has some amazing gear (with the value of his lenses I could buy a luxury car).

Exact location of the Geiko at Kurodani-ji:

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View this location – Map coordinates: 35.019067, 135.787430.

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Every Friday as part of the Mainichi Photo series, I feature the best photos from fellow travellers of Japan. If you have some great shots, why not submit them for publishing?

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