Bassho’s Grass

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The dead grass
All that remains
Of warriors’ dreams

I couldn’t help but remember Matsuo Basho’s famous and variously translated haiku when I saw these dead grasses by the pond of the Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. I was really ‘feeling the Zen’ as I told wifey throughout our Tokyo vacation, thanks to our choice of shrines and gardens to visit. But the happiest Zen moment was the flare in this photo. I knew I’d get a bit of flare when I was composing this shot: the winter sun at around 3p.m. was very low on the horizon already, and to get the backlight I wanted I couldn’t avoid getting some rays right in the lens. What I didn’t expect was that the flare would go red, Japanese-sun red. How appropriate for a shot inspired by one of Japan’s best known old poets!

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