It started out as any day, other than the fact I’d been up since 6am the previous day having made my way to the volcanic, windswept inclines of Mount Fuji in Japan. Living just a couple of hours away from this iconic landmark has led to a number of incredible moments, encounters and adventures in my imaging exploits in Japan to date. Mixed with the fact that, along with my wife and son Joshua, we’re laying plans in the hope of leaving Japan in the coming months I wanted to embark on what could be my last imaging trip to Fuji, a place that had grow on me. Buffeted by winds through the night I had prepared what seemed an almost extravagant amount of protective clothing but every stitch of which was now playing an integral role in my comfort. We’d just exited a pretty warm Summer, some of which I’d spent in the wilds of Okinawa so I really had become somewhat acclimatised to warmer temperatures. And thus it was with hand warming pads wrapped around my lens to prevent the condensation from freezing on the glass surfaces, hidden in my gloves and secreted in other ‘regions’ of my apparel I braved into the icy winds that swirled throughout the night around Fuji’s slopes. Sunset was almost upon me, I was almost set.
I had planned for this trip for two things; One was to shoot the night skies above Mount Fuji at a time with reduced moon influence so I had waited for the New Moon on the 30th – 31st of October, a waning Moon phase with 0% moon cover would be the best chance to photograph the night skies, in fact to shoot a time-lapse sequence of the stars and; Two, to shoot another time-lapse of the sunrise. Given that I’m also very much into the whole Periscope side of things, that is the streaming video application for the Twitter social media platform, I thought it would be great to give my rather sizeable and vibrant audience an adventure, a vicarious escape even if for just a moment in their day. Nothing could have prepared me for what was about to transpire. I had in the past ‘scoped’ a view of a new dawn of Mount Fuji but from the distant shores of Lake Motosu, this would be the first ‘broadcast’ from Fuji’s mountainous self.
In the build up to the trip I had announced my intention to broadcast the sunrise, as a sunrise is always a pretty unique spectacle that appeals across the social divide, to my audience and I guess people had in turn relayed that info to their own social circles and so on so forth. With the time fast approaching I was multi-tasking with the best of them, I had my main EOS5DSr 50.6MP full frame monster camera fitted with a newly arrived Irix 15mm f2.4 super wide angle lens shooting a panning time-lapse courtesy of the Kessler Crane Second Shooter Plus motion control unit. I had my GoPro Hero4 plugged into my portable power pack as their proprietary batteries in the low temperatures evident on that morning last about as long as an ice cube in Hell, I then had my iPhone6S Plus rigged and ready for the Periscope broadcast and finally a small EOSM2 camera in video mode shooting at 1080P for the video that is currently being prepped for my YouTube Channel. I finally got settled as the skies started to blaze with the hues of an incredible sunrise.
For those present the following 35minutes were spent witnessing one of the best sunrises I’ve seen not just in Japan but for many years. With a clarity and palette to match any I’ve seen in the islands of the South Pacific or the tropics of Indonesia this incredible moment wasn’t enjoyed just by me, but with 111,000 live viewers across the Internet. There were greetings coming from people in every country imaginable, as well as those I could never have imagined, words of simple gratitude and thanks from people who’d taken just a small moment of their day to stop and witness this incredible moment. I guess the power of social media has its positives as well as its often elaborated negatives, but at the end of the day if something so natural can unite a whole gaggle of International strangers then at least that says something about the general power of good that nature still has in our society, even if at times we can’t see it. In the coming two days the viewing numbers had swelled to some 152,800+ something which I find so incredibly heartening to know that I was able to give those folks a moment to enjoy, courtesy of ‘Ma Nature’.
If you haven’t seen the video thus far you can watch it here on the Periscope platform.