Stars over Mount Fuji


It’s not often we get the chance to something truly unique these days in the World of photography. Sadly given where we are right now with regards to technology and the creativity we can derive from it we find that most truly creative tasks have been tackled and completed within various levels of success. I keep my finger on the pulse with regards to certain aspects of my photography by using applications and reference tools. Seeing as I’m into night time lapse shooting I have always been after shooting that one sequence that has thus far eluded me, the Milky Way. Now mixing that with my location I’ve been wracking my brain as to where best try and shoot it in a way that would make the image unique, and then I thought about incorporating the sequence into the region I’ve been visiting quite extensively these past six months, Mount Fuji.

Having further investigated for any competing imagery, to try and get a benchmark standard, I was left pleasantly surprised to see that there exist very few good images combining the Milky Way with the most iconic of Japanese landmarks. Thus I have set in motion the plan to accomplish that shot. Now this is not something that can be done on any given night. The main issue is ambient light, more importantly light pollution created by the proximity of town and villages around the region. To successfully shoot the Milky Way one needs first of all to shoot during a New Moon phase where there is as little moonlight as possible. This is due to the fact that one would need to set the camera sensitivity to anywhere between ISO2000 and ISO3200 combined with as wide an aperture as the lens will allow, in my case the 14mm end of a Nikkor 14-24mm at f2.8 so the light sensitivity will be certainly as receptive as I can possibly allow.

Next up. I can’t shoot the Milky Way if it’s not there! With my location in Japan I get two real chances to shoot this scene for 2016, yep just two weekends given the moon phase and the Earths rotation to allow a combination of both the stars and the Moon to allow an attempt at this shot. Seeing as this is something very seldom seen I am also looking to offer up to six shooters who know what they are doing with regards to nocturnal time-lapse shooting to join me during these two windows of opportunity. Dates for these windows will be as follows;

  • Trip 1 – Arrive in Tokyo on May 5th with shooting during the nights of the 6th, 7th and 8th, returning to Tokyo on the afternoon of the 8th.
  • Trip 2 – Arrive in Tokyo on June 3rd with shooting during the nights of the 4th, 5th and 6th, returning to Tokyo on the afternoon of the 6th.

My plan is to head out early on the first day of shooting. To get to the region I have marked out for the first location will take some 5 to 6hrs, three of which are trekking into the foothills close to Mount Fuji but distant to any localised urbanisation and lighting source. We basically carry in what we need as there are no shops on the shooting site. I will be carrying some tarpaulin sheets with the appropriate number of elasticated bungee chords for shelter should the weather turn unfavourable. We carry what we eat and drink too so people need to be aware of that. This is no frills, into the boonies on a mission to get unique imagery.

Cost wise I’ll be charging US$600p/p to join me. For that you get your guide, a shelter if needed in bad weather and my combined knowledge of the region as well as finally, if needed, guidance for shooting this scene. I do not want this to be treated as a full on training workshop though as I will also be shooting the sequence for my own archives.

Should you have any questions or indeed would be tempted to join me please feel free to Contact Me via the appropriate form on the contact page.


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