The Elephant in the Room

Mt Fuji is the one landscape photo that hangs over all of us here in Tokyo, both literally and figuratively. Fuji dominates it’s surroundings. It’s away from any other mountains, towering over the gradual slopes of it’s base, high enough that I often see it on the horizon while in some of the skyscrapers here in my home, 100 kilometers away. Also, Fuji-san is gorgeous. It’s so gorgeous that everyone shoots it. Heck, before cameras, everyone was painting it. So, over the past hundred years or so, there’s been a lot of photos of Mt Fuji, by a lot of people. Competition for a “good” photo is pretty tough, and I don’t personally expect to be able to take a great photo of it in my lifetime. But when I get the chance, I try. This weekend was just such a chance. I was using up some of my last rolls of 35mm Ektachrome on the beautifully red maple leaves that frame Mt Fuji on the shores of Kawaguchiko. I had a lot of ruined photos from a light leak, but the morning and evening photos came out fantastic. This shot was taken just after sunset, from the top of Mt Kachi Kachi (Yeah, I don’t know, either. That’s just what it’s named), with my Fuji GW690III, on some Velvia 50.

Kawaguchiko is easily accessible by bus or train from Shinjuku station. I usually head out on the  bus, and then back on the train, just because taking a bus into Tokyo on a Sunday night is just begging to be stuck in traffic for hours on end. There’s a guesthouse that I can’t recommend enough called Sakuya that will cook you an awesome, vegan-friendly (if you so choose) dinner. It’s also located about a 25 minute walk from the Momiji tunnel, which is a good thing, because you’re not going to find a taxi at 4am, which, on the good weather days right now, is probably the latest you’d need to get there to stake out a good spot for the morning light.

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