While leading Mt. Fuji Photo Tours or any photo tour for that matter, I commonly check in with the rest of staff to give some feedback about how my or my colleagues’ tour is shaping up or anything worth mentioning in terms of going off the itinerary due to weather conditions.
I have spent more than two decades exploring Japan, even more years all over the globe exploring and finding adventure and unforgettable photography wherever I go. I am able to spend more time in the field photographing and less time in lodgings, due to my experience as an educator in the field of photography coupled with my in-depth knowledge of Climatology and weather charts. To date, I have a much higher percentage predicting weather properly over Google Weather, and this is key to be able to make a change in itinerary on the fly due to weather and chase the light in search of that once in a lifetime shot. Photographers who travel with me on s itineraries I set are well prepared, knowing what lies ahead in terms of weather and photo ops.
Most recently, I was video chatting with staff during my Autumn in Mt. Fuji Photography Workshop. I said, “Tomorrow there’ll be mostly rain at Mt. Fuji. We’re going to have an amazing day!” My staff member was initially a bit concerned because one of the most prized photos is the reflection of Mt. Fuji in one of the Fuji Five Lakes, but the rain made that impossible. I assured him that tomorrow’s photos would be one in a million, and left it at that.
The photos I took that day are going to be featured in a gallery opening that I will embark upon after my annual Hokkaido Winter Photo Workshops are over, and I am back in the Niigata Field Office to take stock of the spectacular photos I will have cataloged.
Two of the mind popping images are attached to this newsletter. My camera settings for the autumn leaves were 1/min f16 ISO100 to make the fiery orange autumn leaves even more radiant; I took this image in the blue hour. Ah yes, we were lucky at dusk, we had a clearing of the rain, and a fog bank started moving in, and we got few minutes of golden hour lighting with just one or two rays of sun breaking through, and then the blue hour was illuminated perfectly in a foggy blue haze. It does seem as if the leaves with there vibrancy will explode into a raging conflagration at any moment, and this lighting is perfect every photographer looks for, but few can capture because they don't understand long exposure photography and or forgot their tripod.
Mt. Fuji is one big beautiful volcano that I have been visiting for over 20 years. It's so picturesque that I have been compelled to introduce the iconic symbol of Japan to visiting photographers even when the focus of our photography workshop is Japanese Zen Gardens or the making of the Samurai sword and armor. During many an evening spent sipping rare and delicious sake, my clients and I discuss the samurai elite that sat in the same locations, strode on the same footpaths, and enjoyed the pleasant company of a geisha maiden. Or the focus could be wildlife such as the snow monkeys or birding in Hokkaido to film the Steller's Sea Eagle and other birds of prey. Mt. Fuji is a must-visit, but public transport and access around the base of the mountain are thankfully limited, preserving its nature and charm.
My visits to Mt. Fuji number well over 1,000, if I had to guess a more concrete number, I would say about 3,000 times; I have ventured around the base of Fujisan and summited 3 times. The most important tool I bring on all my adventures is "The Beginners Mindset" because this allows me to see everything fresh and new, and I am ready to chase the light around Japan's most holy mountain, Mt. Fuji, with a fresh mind.