A few weeks ago, the Milky Way season here in Japan officially kicked off. This means there are countless amounts of amazing images with Mt Fuji and the Milky Way flying over top of it all over the internet. Capturing a image like this has always been a goal of mine. So one weekend, I packed my bags, loaded up my camera gear, filled up the gas tank and headed off for a 2 hour drive to try and capture this magical image that i have been dreaming about.
It was going well till I started to head up the Mountain to get to a spot that I thought i could get a good view point of Mt Fuji and at that point, I found that I was going in the wrong direction and I needed to back track down the Mountain to get back to the lake front. Once I pulled over and looked at the map for a few minutes, I think I found the road I needed to head up to get to the right spot. After driving for about 30 minutes, I came across this little building on the side of the road with 3 photographers on the front deck. I noticed that this was the spot I was looking for. So I pulled over and went over and asked the gentlemen if i could take some photos from his deck also. He said yes so it was game time.
I really wanted to spend the night here because the composition was perfect but unfortunately, it’s on the guys front porch and he’s renting the place so I had to leave. I then went down to the lake front and found a place to hang out till the milky way showed up(3Am). I used a very helpful app called Sky Guide to know exactly when and where the Milky Way would be above Mt Fuji. Now all I had to do was just sit back and wait. Luckily I had the movie The Martian downloaded to my Iphone so I was not completely screwed.
Unfortunately one thing that I did not want to happen was to have any kind of clouds show up that night and that is just want happen. You cant really shot the Milky Way with clouds nor do any Star trails and around 12am, they showed up and my night of shooting both was over before it even started.
So after waking up about every hour or so just to get out of the car and to take a test shot to see what the clouds are doing. it was almost 4am and the clouds where almost all gone! However at this point the sky was starting to become brighter and turning blue from the sunrise. I tried to photograph the Milky way but it was so bright at this point, the Milky way was so faint that I couldn’t get all the details that i was looking for.
Now that it was morning and the sunrise was about to happen, I started get set up and wait for the sun to touch the very top of Mt Fuji and leave the rest of the mountain in shade. I went ahead and set up a few cameras to get all the angles I was wanting to get. The tight angle shoot on the Canon 5Dm3 with the 70-200, a medium on the Sony A7R with 28-70 kit lens, and a wide angle time lapse with the Sony A7 and the 10-18 lens(Full review here) all at the same time. I know its a little bit of over kill but I just spent all night in a small car and I don’t want to miss anything at this point.
When it was all over and done with, I had a ton of images to take home and a few time lapse to work with. So what did i learn from all of this? Well I can say that no matter how much planning you can do, things will always go wrong and you have to make do with what you have been given. I had a wonderful sunset and a “OK” sunrise but the night time trying to capture the milky way was a failed attempt. I could have done nothing to fix the issue with the clouds but It was great learning experience. I found a great spot to photograph from that i was looking for plus I walked away with some images that am happy with.
Well I hope that you liked this post and if you have any questions about any of my images or my travels out to Mt Fuji, feel free to ask me in the comments section down below.
If you care to get my Free LightRoom Presets to help out your workflow and or have a great starting point for editing, please subscribe to our newsletter to get them(don’t for get to check your SPAM folder) So that is how this image came about, If you have any questions about the area and how I captured this image, please feel free to ask in the comments below.