Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Feb 5, 2010

Alpha and Omega

Posted by Amami Superman

If you've ever been to a shrine in Japan, it's more than likely you've seen guardian dog statues like these. They are called different things throughout Japan. I believe that they call these statues "komainu" in the central part of Japan. In the southern islands of Japan, like here in Amami, they call these statues "shisa".

Nikon D60, Sigma 30mm f/1.4, 1/1000 sec, f/2.0, ISO 800 -- EXIF

I asked one of the priests at the shrine here in Amami why one had its mouth open and the other had it shut. He explained to me that the one with the open mouth is making the "a" sound, and the one with the shut mouth is making the "n" sound. "a" and "n" happen to be the first and last characters in the Japanese alphabet (あ and ん). He basically said that it means the beginning and the end. "The alpha and omega."

I had the opportunity to go take some photos of an event they have each year at the shrine here in Amami. As I was talking with one of the priests, he mentioned that they were short staffed and didn't have anyone to take photos of the event. I told him I would be more than happy to help out and he seemed more than happy to have someone take photos. I took around 500 photos in the space of a little more than 3 hours. I'm still sorting through them trying whittle down the numbers. Hopefully I'll be able to do that today and get them a disc of the photos I took.

The above photos were made black and white inside of Lightroom 2 and put together in Photoshop CS3. Both of the photos were taken using the same camera settings, but the metadata will be off because it's only for 1 photo.


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Keep the language clean please. I have family that see this. Tell us what part of the world you're in.