Last night was the Gozan Okuribi (五山送り火) in Kyoto, the culmination of the O-bon Japanese festival of the dead, in which giant symbols of fire are ignited on the mountains surrounding the city to help spirits find their way. Watching the fire ignite at 8pm (as with many festivals in Japan, often while drinking) is an ancient tradition in Kyoto, with modern hotels even holding special events on their upper floors. While I was feeling too lazy to actually go out and find a spot where I could see multiple daimonji, as the giant characters are called, go up in flames, the dai character on the east mountains is visible from my house, so I tried to get some photos of it.
All photos taken with Canon 50D. The first photo used the Canon 50mm/1.8f lens and the others used the Canon 100-300 4.5-5.6, a poor quality but extremely cheap telephoto lens. The photos could have been better, and I was reminded that I should pick up a tripod some time for such situations, but the low light capabilities of my new camera continue to impress, and there were a few respectable shots. In the fourth one, notice that you can actually see people hanging around the bonfires.
50 1.8F lens @ 3200ISO, 2.5f, 1/60 sec
100-300mm lens @ 3200ISO, 110mm, f4.5, 1/25 sec
100-300mm lens @ 1600ISO, 300mm, f5.6, 1/13 sec
100-300mm lens @ 3200ISO, 300mm, f5.6, 1/100 sec